There’s ongoing concern in the collector car world that millennials don’t seem to be interested. On the other hand, there are promising signs that they like older cars; it’s just that their definition to older is different.
Take, for example, the increasing popularity of the Nissan 300ZX.
As Hagerty Classic Insurance points out, 300ZX models built between 1990 and 1996 are catching on with younger enthusiasts born between 1981 and 2000.
“Millennials make up 39.5 percent of all 300ZX quotes over the last 12 months, and that number was 37 percent the year before that,” James Hewitt, a Hagerty valuation information analyst, said.
For comparison, Gen-Xers (those born between 1965 and 1980) account for 32.3 percent of quotes, while Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) were responsible for just 24 percent of quotes.
Millennials account for less than 21 percent of all Hagerty quotes, but that fact is belied by their interest in the 300ZX.
“The 300ZX is nearly double that,” Hewitt said. “Obviously, young buyers love the car.”
So what’s leading to the surge in interest? Hagerty said the 300ZX walks the line of being an older car that doesn’t feel antiquated. It was also a popular car when it was released, which was about the same time most millennials were getting licensed to drive and nostalgia is a strong factor when it comes to driving the collector car market.
It also helps that Nissan made a good car. The second-generation 300ZX was one of the first to rely heavily on computer software and, though it still used the same basic 3.0-liter V6 as the first generation, the engine had been updated with dual overhead camshafts and variable valve timing.
The engine was capable of producing 222 horsepower, but an optional twin turbo model could make as much as 300 horsepower. That meant 0-60 springs in 5.6 seconds a top speed of 155 mph. Four-wheel independent suspension adds terrific handling.
The car’s styling is also cohesive, modern and hints at its performance capabilities — all factors for which collectors are searching.
Hewitt said the car has gone through interest growth spurts. From 2013 to 2016, the number of insurance quote requests doubled, but flattened out until 2018. However, in the last year Hagerty recorded an 11.8 percent growth in quotes.
The number of 300ZXs insured by Hagerty has increased 155 percent over the past three years.
Another contributing factor in the 300XZ’s rising popularity is its price. While the 1996 Turbo commemorative edition has the highest average value of $31,800, the median for other models is far lower at $11,900.
That $11,900 figure is within a few hundred dollars of the model’s 12-month average auction sale price, which has remained relatively flat since 2017.
However, it’s worth noting that one sold for $53,200 this past weekend on Amelia Island. The most expensive 300ZX sold at auction went for $90,100 two years ago.