UPDATE (October 2022): The Collector Car Market is in Chaos

You might call it transitional or just plain crazy, but the market is clearly a challenge to understand for buyers, sellers and certainly automobile appraisers. What exactly is going on?

During most of 2021 and at least the first quarter of 2022 collector car values probably reached a plateau. Actual sales prices that I've been able to review suggest increases from Pre-COVID of 15 to 30% of quality cars. The published price guides could not keep pace and lagged behind any semblance to reality. There were lots of drivers to this spike. A lot of enthusiasts had more time on their hands, working from home, no commute times, more computer times, stimulus payments, lack of dealer inventories - new/used/collectible. All of these factors contributed to the initial rise. It was further fueled by higher prices across the board for pretty much everything - parts, services, paint, shipping.

However....over the past three months or so I've seen reserves not met on auction cars. Multiple price reductions on classified listings is more prevalent. Active market trackers are showing decreasing values for the first time in two years.

What is happening is the market is softening - folks are back at work, gas prices up and investments are down. Buyers are more scarce and more picky. Seller's minds are stuck at the plateau, or with a purchase they planned to sell and make a buck or upgrade and can't get to the break-even point. Again, the published price guides lag behind since updates are at best quarterly.

My general advice? If you are a buyer there are bargains starting to pop up if you keep your eyes open. I you are a seller and aren't desperate, hang on to your vehicle for another six months. Fix those little things and keep it looking nice. Your time will come.

As always, please be cautious when looking to buy or sell. Do your research and consider hiring a local appraiser to check into your prospective purchase/sale and provide some professional advice. It’s usually money well spent.