Snag These 7 Cars Before Prices Jump

  • October 30, 2018
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Most of the time, prices in the collector car market don’t make dramatic leaps or dips. Gradual changes are the norm. But when you’ve had your eye on a long-desired car, and then it suddenly ticks up in value, you just want kick yourself for not acting sooner.

Nobody can predict the future, but our insurance quote activity and the frequency a vehicle is added to our insurance policies are generally helpful indicators of how in-demand a car is at a given moment. If all signs are pointing to a car about to get hot, but prices are steady at the moment, it’s a good time to check the bank account and decide how badly you want to scratch that itch. Here are seven cars that fit the bill right now:

 

1968–69 Ford Fairlane

1968 Ford Fairlane black 3/4 front

1968 Ford Fairlane – Mecum

Value: $9800

Separate from the fancier Torino, the cheaper Fairlane could nonetheless be loaded up with performance options straight from the factory. If you’d rather not shell out for top-flight Torino or Mustang, the 390-cubic-inch and super-hot 390-horsepower 427 V-8s are still worthy of attention. These cars have remained flat and affordable, despite reasonably strong buyer interest, and the Fairlane presents a wide range of body styles and powertrains to choose from.

 

1960–65 Ford Ranchero

1962 Ford Falcon Ranchero red front 3/4 high

1962 Ford Falcon Ranchero – Mecum

Value: $10,100

Decent quote activity and notable increase in the number added to insurance policies recently is what lands the Ranchero on this list, but much more so for the 1960–65 models than the earlier 1957–59 Rancheros. The Falcon-based Rancheros of this era don’t have a direct parallel over at Chevy through 1963, until the El Camino arrived in 1964.

Compared to the standard Ford Falcon, which has a lower upside at the moment, greater interest in vintage trucks spilling over into smaller pickups like these probably explains the fascination with the Ranchero. Still, the hottest car-based pickups right now, including both Fords and Chevys, are the 1966–76 Fairlane/Torino Rancheros, but those prices are already off to the races.

 

1993–2002 Chevrolet Camaro

2002 Chevrolet Camaro 3/4 front

2002 Chevrolet Camaro – GM

Value: $10,900

Prices on the private and auction markets aren’t particularly strong at the moment for this era of Camaro, but buyer interest is there in terms of quote activity and insurance activity. Looking at the equivalent Firebird, it’s cooling off after sharper price increases over the past year or two. It looks like Camaros are just now following the lead of the Firebirds, so it’s poised for growth but probably just short-term. In the end though, these Camaros will probably always be less collectible than the equivalent Firebird for various reasons, including the fact that you can still go out and buy a new Camaro today, but 1993–2002 are the newest Firebirds you’ll ever be able to buy.

 

1981–86 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler

1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler yellow 3/4 front

1985 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler – Mecum

Value: $14,100

Scramblers this cheap will not last long. Massive growth in buyer interest from quote activity is a ticking time bomb for people who want to get in before things get out of hand. It didn’t sell well when it was new, so these Jeeps are relatively rare and especially interesting amidst a boom in both vintage off-roaders and pickups—the Scrambler is both.

Jeeps are doing well generally, particularly models from the 1970s–80s era. The CJ-5 is one of the hottest cars out there, and 1974–83 Cherokees and 1963–83 Wagoneers are climbing as well.

 

1956–75 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

1964 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia teal front 3/4

1964 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia – Mecum

Value: $15,300

It’s an iconic design, and given that it’s basically a sexier Beetle, there is unparalleled support from the VW owner community and more affordable parts that you can imagine. While Karmann Ghias are no longer particularly cheap from the get-go, they still come in well under air-cooled Porsches. While not a proper sports car, the Karmann Ghia is much better-looking than the 914, despite the lack of prestige-laden badging.

Prices have been relatively flat after a spike in 2014–15 and even saw a bit of a correction downward in 2016–17, but this is one of those “always popular” cars and interest has been up this year. Positive quote activity and strong sale prices on the private market are the signs of interest here.

 

1997–2004 Chevrolet Corvette

2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 electron blue 3/4 front

2002 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 – GM

Value: $20,000

C5 values across the board seem to have bottomed out in 2014–15. Z06s started creeping up pretty soon thereafter, while base models were essentially flat until creeping up this year as well. The buyer interest is there in terms of quote activity and insurance activity, but prices don’t seem to have caught up to expectations quite yet.

For the most part, these still seem to be making the transition from used car to collectible, but they offer so much car per dollar (particularly the C5 Z06, still a huge bargain in terms of the performance you get for the price) that people are naturally going to consider a C5 if they’re shopping for a fun car by value. Many buyers are straight-up skipping over C4 Corvettes for the objectively much better and not-terribly-pricier C5. C4s have suffered as a result.

 

1955–59 GMC Series 100 (Blue Chip) pickups

1956 GMC Series 100 front 3/4 teal pontiac engine

1956 GMC Series 100 – Mecum

Value: $20,250

Along with the equivalent Chevrolet Task Force series, these were the first GM trucks with convenience features like power steering and power brakes. They’re rarer than the equivalent Chevrolet, but the 1955–59 Chevrolet trucks are among the hottest vehicles on the market right now, and prices are already shooting up. It seems only natural that more people will start looking at the GMCs.

Report by Andrew Newton and Eric Weiner for hagerty.com


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