HomeCar CultureCommentary2015 top stories: No. 9 - What’s hot, and what’s not

2015 top stories: No. 9 – What’s hot, and what’s not


This 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera once was owned by Steve McQueen | Bob Golfen photo
This 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo Carrera once was owned by Steve McQueen | Bob Golfen photo

A lot has happened in the classic car market in 2015 in regard to values, and while the growth has not been as aggressive as in recent years, all signs point to a market that, while cooling, remains very stable and not near any kind of a collapse.

While it is interesting to look at the collector car market as just that, much like the stock market, this hobby is different than other markets as that it involves a usable and tangible thing, something requiring money to service and care for. It is also different than a stock in that if the market should collapse, you still have a car that you always wanted. No matter what the value change, you have that car you dreamed of to drive and to enjoy. Try that with a stock certificate sometime. We bet they are a bit less fun on a Sunday morning drive.

But back to the trends of the market. At the top tier, think significant cars such as the Ferrari 275 GTB/4, Lamborghini Miura, Shelby Cobras and the like, the market experienced a slower increase that in 2014, with a price increase of around 8 percent for the year.

As you can guess, the largest price increases were focused around significant Ferrari. They were not alone as we also saw an increase in the Lamborghini market.

Ferrai Testarossas going from bedroom posters to collectors' garages | Larry Edsall photo
Ferrai Testarossas going from bedroom posters to collectors’ garages | Larry Edsall photo

The surprise for value increases to many was the sure this year for 1970s to 1990s supercars. The Ferrari Testarossa, Porsche 911 Turbo and the Ferrari 308 series cars all underwent tremendous increases in value, with many examples of these cars doubling in value in the last 12 months. These cars all fall info the realm of the bedroom wall posters of people who now are in their 40s. Many of these people have a fair amount of disposable income and, as a result, the cars they loved first are what they want and are skyrocketing in value — and are likely to continue to do so, though again not at the rate they have been over the last few years.

Some cars that have been on the decline this year, though not very dramatically, include early 911s, primarily the 911T model, the Mercedes-Benz (Pagoda Roof) 230/250/280SL, and later model Series 2 and Series 3 Jaguar E-types. The issue we see for these is that they built quite a few of each of these models and collectors finally seem to have realized that fact.

Not necessarily down in value but definitely flat are Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwings and roadsters. Long term these cars should hold and even continue to increase in value, though not at the rate of the last few years. The 300SL is possibly the most usable “A” list classic sports car in the world and is as reliable as it is vintage event eligible so there will always be a following for these cars and values are safe.

The hottest segment in the otherwise flat muscle car market continues to be the cars from Shelby. The 1965 GT350 has continued to rise in value and the Cobras themselves have also done well, with $1 million-plus sales the rule rather than the exception.

Another mover in the muscle market is another poster wall model, the Pontiac Trans Am. These cars have moved up quite a bit in the last year and, like the European bedroom wall poster art stars, are likely to continue to increase in value, though again at a lower rate.

What will 2016 hold for the classic car market? Our best guess in a continued increase in the late 1970s to ’90s cars, a leveling of the mid range V12 Ferrari market along with a continued slow down and leveling of the lower end, classic long-hood Porsche 911, Pagoda Mercedes and late E-type market.

In the end, though, always remember to buy a car you love. If you do this, no matter what happens in the marketplace, you still have that dream car parked in your garage.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


  1. First, I’d like to wish everyone a happy and safe New Year! After trying to locate, and own, every classic, muscle car I fell in love with working at my grandpas service station in the very early 1970’s, I can honestly admit I have no clue what is going on with the “hobby”, or the “market”! I would always pride myself on the fact I could almost always locate low mile original cars, most of the time anyway. The great thing was, these cars would usually sell themselves when it was time to sell and move on to the next car. But now, the hobby has become full of people, that has never really been involved in this hobby, they are in it to get rich quick! Who can blame them? To me, it seems around the same time many auctions began to be televised, a movement began in the classic car hobby which I still don’t understand. Over night, everyone is a damn classic car dealer, or the expert. It’s turned sadly, to insanity, and 90% of these dealers and experts wouldn’t know a matching number, original paint 1967 GTX, but the most bizarre is the ads in the many books advertising classic cars, the auction post, Ebay, Craigslist, is the fact these expert dealers can’t even tell you a classic they are selling has any rust. The new term goes something like, ” I or We didn’t notice any rust anywhere”. Lmao….. It has become idiocy at its peek on display! The best advise, for the few left that actually love old cars, buy your favorite car, or two, one can afford, and watch it all evolve, crumble, as it already has begun to do….just like it happened with another very popular car about 30 yrs ago, with another generation of greedsters, (my dad being one of them), the prices will drop like underwear on prom night, all will correct itself, and bring order to this silly behavior. Simply put, people don’t have to have a classic car, but a place to live is usually handy…?

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