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Wilson's Auto Restoration Blog

Barrett-Jackson Talks Trends in the Collector Car Market

If you ask the elite collectors of “fine-art” automobiles about Barrett Jackson, they tend to dismiss that auction house.  The upper crust of the collector car market is more likely to attend auctions by Gooding & Co. or RM Sotheby’s.

These collectors tend to focus on European sport cars like classic Ferraris and Jaguars.  It is true that these cars fetch the highest dollars across the auction block like the 1962 Ferrari that sold for $48.4 million.

While these vehicles are impressive pieces of machinery, Barrett Jackson, sees opportunities for investors to make money in more obtainable vehicles.  Barrett Jackson after all hosts one of the most popular automotive events in the country with hundreds of thousands of people in attendance and 100s of millions of dollars being spent at their auctions.

Barrett-Jackson shed some insights on trends they are seeing in the collector car market and deals to be had at their events.  Take for example many postwar European cars that are not the ultra-rare models selling for millions.  A great Mercedes 450SL recently sold for $7,200 and in reality, is probably worth $14,000-20,000 if marketed correctly.

Craig Jackson, the CEO and Chairman of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, is noticing three trends in the collector car market.  Beyond the missed opportunities of the European classics, Mr. Jackson believes the era of vehicles that are strictly gasoline powered is coming to and end.  That means collectors are doing their best to get their hands on today’s high horsepower muscle cars like the 2020 Shelby GT500 No1. that Craig Jackson himself purchased for $1.1 million.  That of course is about 15 times what the vehicle will actually cost, but it is VIN No1. And all the money went to charity.

“As a lifelong Shelby Mustang fan,” Craig notes, “the new GT500 is a direct descendant of the Green Hornet and Little Red Mustang (both experimental one-offs he owns) and will be a welcome addition to my personal Shelby collection.”

Other modern-day muscle machines were also hot ticket items at their last auction including the McLaren Senna that sold for $1.4 million, a Lexus LFA Nürburgring Edition ($918,500), three Ford GT Heritage Editions ($462,000 to $533,000) and a 2011 Porsche GT2 RS ($363,000).

Another trend that is going unnoticed by the collector elite is the up rise in the popularity of restomods.   Restomods, otherwise known as “customs” takes the styling of older cars and combines it with more modern features.  Another trend Barrett-Jackson is seeing is restomods bringing in higher sales than a fully restored “matching numbers” counterpart.  This was rarely the case a few years back when everyone had a “matching numbers” obsession.

“New people like the looks of old cars but want to use pump gas and have air conditioning, creature comforts and modern technology,” Jackson says. “They want to use their cars, so while we still sell numbers-matching cars, that number is getting smaller.”  As a matter of fact, many restomods display Concours level workmanship and marry the best of both worlds both old and new.

So, it looks like investors, both the elite and normal Joes, better pay closer attention to reasonable European collectors, gasoline-powered pre-electric-era muscle machines and customized restomods.  It seems that these may be the best opportunities to invest wisely in the coming years.

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