Thousands of Americans are interested in car collecting. The British roadster and old muscle car you got in college might still have a place of honor in your garage and used as a weekend cruiser. A restored vintage Volkswagen Beetle or suicide-door Lincoln Continental can be bought for under $20,000, driven lightly for years, and then sold for a (probably modest) profit.
But what about high-end collectibles that go for seven or eight figures? They aren’t for everyone, though high-net-worth folks can use them to make money, increase their holdings, and perhaps even drive from time and time.
The market for classic cars has done far better than other collectibles, such as coins and stamps, over the past decade and has also conquered the broad stock index. The Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI) tracks the collector’s car market with numerous indexes.
Its largest is the HAGI Top Index, which tracks vintage collectible cars from Bugatti, Porsche, Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, and other brands. The Top Index was over 13.00% year-to-date through August and over 500% the preceding 10 years thanks to rising global wealth chasing a small number of very collectible cars.
The Car Market
At the high end of the classic car market, the ones that sell for over $1 million, you’ll find somewhat little-known older brands Delahaye and Hispano-Suiza, as well as names that are still famous today, including Jaguar and Rolls-Royce. Even brands not known for top-end exotics can become collectible: Toyota’s beautiful 2000GT, constructed from 1967 to 1970, can get over $1 million at auction. A 1934 Packard Twelve 1108 Dietrich sold for over $3 million and a 1998 McLaren F1 sold for over $13 million.
The car market reflects the market for art. It’s an investment you enjoy visually and it can also be a currency hedge since cars can be transported to countries with good exchange rates.