Trends in Collecting 2023

Trucks, imports, Caddy converts and muscle remain hot!

What kinds of cars and trucks will collectors be trading in 2023? Anyone who says they know all the answers to this question is dreaming. The collector car market can take unusual twists and turns as a new year unfolds. It all starts with big auctions in areas with warmer climates, such as Arizona and Florida, and it is also possible to make fairly objective predictions about the upcoming market by perusing the vehicles being sold via online auctions every day.

1987 Porsche 959 Komfort

Broad Arrow Auctions

The sports car factor

Porsche seems to be a type of car in which the big-money buyers are investing. The Porsche Club of America (PCA) is a non-profit organization of Porsche enthusiasts in the United States and Canada. It is organized into 147 regions, which are grouped into 14 zones. PCA has more than 150,000 members and is the largest single-brand club in the world. That compares to 60,000 members in the Antique Automobile Club of America. So, it’s easy to see why so many Porsches are traded amongst collectors. Also worth noting is that many of the popular 356 and 911 models being sold are coming from owners in California, where gasoline-powered car sales will be phased out over the next 12 years. That could be the root cause of the trend, or it could just be that the state is loaded with vintage Porsche dealers and brokers. In any case, the Porsche is currently a hot collector car.

Corvette models of all years, models and colors remain high on the list of good “investment vehicles.” Rare ’Vettes with super-low production totals, big engines, racing pedigrees and famous original owners will always pull in the ultra-high values and headline auction prices, but even the cheapest Corvette available in today’s marketplace will almost certainly be worth more in the future, if it’s taken proper care of. Just count the number of ’Vettes already consigned to the 2023 Arizona and Florida auctions. The number is impressive. During online auctions in December 2022, actual sales included a 2020 Corvette with 965 miles for $87,000 and a 2019 Corvette ZR1 with 1,899 miles that was bid to $216,000 and failed to sell, because the owner’s reserve was even higher. For those preferring older ’Vettes, a ’68 convertible with a 327-cid V-8 netted $39,000.

Jaguar’s XKE has been getting a lot of attention lately, while some lesser British cars are losing just a little value. Perhaps it’s because the XKE (aka E-Type) marked its 60th birthday in 2021. Since its 1961 introduction, this svelte, sexy and speedy sports car has dominated lists of the top 10 best-looking cars ever made, so it’s little wonder that it’s also a top collector’s model that enjoys annual value appreciation. Recent prices for XKEs include $73,000 for a silver 1967 4.2L coupe, $81,325 for a yellow coupe with the same engine and $155,000 for a “resale red” 1968 roadster. In the Series II niche, a roadster brought $95,000 in mid-November and a coupe sold in October brought $50.500 to the seller who had it in his possession for 31 years.

Muscle trends

Restomod Pontiac GTO appear strong. GTO purists will be quick to say that you can’t do better than finding an original, but that’s not easy to do these days. It seems like all the really good “survivor” GTOs are already in collections. Many being found today were crudely modified by young enthusiasts back in the muscle-car era. Since we all know “they’re only original once,” it seems like GTOs with tasteful, modern upgrades are regularly turning up at auctions. They are also selling and bringing good money. In early November, a red ’66 hardtop with 17-in. U.S. mag wheels and an over-bored 389-cid V-8 sold for $60,500. In June 2022, a 400-powered ’64 “Goat” with a painted-wheels race car look, Auto Meter gauges and an aftermarket stereo system traded hands for 34,000 “greenbacks.”

Buick Grand National (GN) and GNX models seem hot as of late. Old Cars recently featured an early first-year 1982 GN cover car. At the other end of the model’s history, Barrett-Jackson had the last GN — built on Dec. 9, 1987 — consigned to the 2022 Scottsdale auction. This car was purchased by Buick dealer Bob Colvin who put an addition on his home just to store the historic car. Parts used to build this car were signed by the auto workers who installed them. The GNX was introduced in 1987 as a hotter, limited-edition GN, and 547 GNXes were produced that year, a small number compared to the 20,193 Grand Nationals it turned out in 1987. In 2017, the last GNX made was sold for $220,000 at a Mecum auction. Two years later, another GNX, sold on the BaT (Bring a Trailer) online auction site, traded hands for $200,000. Colvin’s last Buick GN, with just 33 miles, sold last year in Scottsdale for $550,000.

4×4 to the nth power

In 2021, the Jeep celebrated its 80th birthday. The CJ-5 is one of the hot tickets in the collector’s market today. This variant bowed in 1955 and lasted until 1983. No wonder it has a cult following among Jeep enthusiasts. Older CJ-5s and CJ-5As are in high demand, but don’t overlook classic special editions such as the Renegade, rare Tuxedo Park (an early and slow-selling upscale model) and the Golden Eagle. Recent online auction sales in late 2022 include $26,500 for a 1979 Renegade, $32,500 for a 1983 CJ-5 Universal and $44,250 for a bright-red 1978 Jeep CJ-5 Levi’s Edition.

Other 4×4 trucks and SUVs have been a hot-ticket item for the past few years, and 2023 is shaping up to be no exception to this trend. The surest bet for price appreciation seems to be an early Ford Bronco, especially with the introduction of the retro-styled Bronco at Ford dealerships. Dodge military Power Wagons have large followings as well. But almost any 4×4, from the very first one, stored in the FWD-Seagrave Museum in Clintonville, Wis. — a red touring called “The Battleship” — to a K10 Chevy pickup of the ’60s to the ’80s, seems to be worth its weight in gold. And remember, 4x4s weigh quite a bit!

Custom pickup trucks have likewise been carving out their own spot in the collector-vehicle spectrum, even if they aren’t 4×4 examples.

Cadillac convertibles

Cadillac convertibles are also winners in the GM collector-car stable. When the hobby was young, car connoisseurs had a lot of luxury marques from which to choose: Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Peerless, Lincoln, Marmon and Duesenberg, to name just a few. Cadillac convertibles have become the surest investment in this niche, because they have both luxury and drop-top dynamics going for them. Lincoln is still a factor, but to a lesser degree than a long, lusty Cadillac Eldorado with a roof that goes down on nice days. Eldo ragtops sold online in December include a red 1960 Biarritz convertible that fetched $150,000, a white ’66 Eldorado convertible that brought $45,000 and a ’76 Eldorado drop-top with 9,000 miles that sold for $25,000. The latter might have been a “steal.”

TOYOTA 2000GT in the museum of Toyota of Aichi Prefecture in Japan.  Photo – Gnsin

Japanese imports heat up

Hagerty Insurance is now running online auctions and has predicted that Japanese collector cars will achieve record price levels in 2023. The New York Times agrees. In October 2021, the well-respected newspaper reported on a 1970 Toyota 2000GT and 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sport that had, in recent years, set auction records of $1.1 million and $264,000, respectively. Hagerty guessed that the hobby could see a $2 million price for a Japanese car this coming year. The cars bringing such money are not ones that most of us will ever own, but they are bringing other Japan products up in price. In early December, a 1972 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-T race car was bid to $169,000 and not sold. Back in May of last year, a 1969 Skyline 2000 GT-R four-door sedan was bid to $94,000 and went back home with a seller who wanted more.

Even some Japanese sedans that were recently considered “used” vehicles are fetching collector-type prices. For example, no-frills Honda Civics in excellent condition from the late 1990s and early 2000s with below-average miles regularly fetch $10,000 to $15,000 in online auctions. Performance variations can fetch even more.

An educated guessing game

So, now you have 10 types of collector vehicles to keep an eye on in 2023. As we hinted at the start, this concept of predicting the future in collector car trading is not an exact science. These are trends and trends can shift. A year from now, we can all look back and see if any of these predictions turned into a reality. Chances are most, but not all, will come true.

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