If you’re planning on attending the Detroit auto show, something you might consider is which of the cars you see on the floor of Cobo Center could be collectables in 50 years time.
The question came up over dinner with McKeel Hagerty this week and prompted a lively discussion about classic cars of yesterday and potentially tomorrow. Witty and engaging, Hagerty is CEO of the Traverse City collector car insurance company that bears his name. As such he naturally knows a great deal about the state of the classic and vintage car market, which cars are the most sought after and the ups and downs of collector car values.
One aspect Hagerty puzzles over like the rest of us is which of today’s new vehicles could become a desirable classic in years to come. “One issue is that the collector cars we know were built in relatively small numbers,” said Hagerty, “whereas today production volumes are much higher.”
Another point is that cars made 50 years ago were not constructed with the long-lasting materials or the build quality standards of today’s vehicles, so older models tend to deteriorate faster and have more mechanical problems. Some classic cars – certain Ferraris and Mercedes for example – have become so rare and frail mechanically that their owners are afraid to risk driving them in public anymore, said Hagerty.
The value of such cars will continue to climb into the tens of millions of dollars. Meanwhile we can wonder whether a certain version of the new Corvette, Viper or Mustang, or perhaps a limited edition exotic model from Italy that we see at Cobo might have a future as a classic.