Although very few people will be able to retire off of their investments in classic cars, a classic car can be a decent investment for an automotive enthusiast. Classic car values and old car values in general have climbed steadily through the years, although some vehicles appreciated more than others of course. In the early 2000’s, American muscle cars in particular really started climbing in value, although they have leveled off or even fallen in some cases over the past couple of years. Old car prices in general have remained fairly steady through the downturn in the muscle car market.
Several different factors had a role in the rapid escalation of American classic car values. The guys that were in high school during the muscle car era had gotten to the age that their children were grown and out of college, and now those guys had the means to buy the car they wanted so badly in high school or as young adults, but couldn’t afford when the cars were new. As the demand for the muscle cars of the 1960s and early 1970s went up, so did collector car values. A rising tide lifts all boats, so antique car values in general started increasing at a faster rate than before. It became a popular thing to have a restored or hot-rodded old muscle car, even for guys that weren’t all that interested in cars before.
Another factor in the increased appreciation of collector car values has to be related to Barrett Jackson broadcasting their collector car auctions on television and the internet starting in 1997. As people started watching these superbly restored cars go across the auction block and bring tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases, the guy sitting at home watching TV with a “For Sale” sign in the window of his 1969 Camaro decided that his car must be worth more than he originally thought. And the fellow looking to buy a 1969 Camaro locally saw the same cars going across the auction block, and decided he was going to have to be willing to spend more money to get a nice car. Antique car values went up because of the perception that the cars must be worth more when people saw the prices that meticulously restored cars were bringing at collector auctions.
Classic car values for cars that have appeared in popular movies and TV shows have increased the demand, and therefore the prices, of those particular models. The movie remake of “Gone in 60 Seconds” in 2000 surely increased the demand for 1967 Mustang fastbacks that could be transformed into Shelby 500 replicas. 1977-1978 Pontiac Trans Ams, especially black ones, are certainly worth more than they would be if it weren’t for the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies. And you can’t forget the 1969 Dodge Charger that was one of the “stars” of “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV show. That show increased the popularity of the car, and created a generation full of enthusiasts that just “had” to have an orange ’69 Charger with an “01″ painted on the door!
Of course, some old car prices have not increased at all from being featured in movies and on TV. It takes a fan base that is willing and able to spend significant money on a car for old car prices to rise. Old car values only go up when there are enough people that want a particular car model. Classic car values in general will continue to rise though as the vehicles become more scarce and new people come in to the hobby.