Pricing Considerations

Pricing in Collector Car Market Review and on this website is derived from many different sources in the North American market. Many factors can affect the value of an older vehicle. Some guidelines:

Pricing sources: Auctions, sales reports, VMR's Value-Track database, classifieds and general market observations (contacts, shows, etc.).

Show cars: Perfect cars are very rare. These vehicles have been treated to an insanely expensive concours quality, frame-off, nut & bolt restoration and do not get driven. They may bring higher prices than our standard #1 value.

Originality: All pricing assumes original, numbers matching drivetrain. Clean, totally original cars usually carry a premium (which is growing) relative to equivalent condition published prices. Original documentation, paper trail, verifiable provenance, etc is a huge plus and has become extremely important for serious collectors, especially on top shelf muscle cars and high dollar vehicles.  Deductions vary for engine swaps -- current market trends indicate that non-original or upgraded engines and other performance mods are not the value-killers they once were. In many cases expensive, extremely well done resto-mods, pro touring and similar types of modified vehicles can bring as much as or more than a comparable stock version of the vehicle.

Resto Mods/Pro Touring: A relatively recent trend is the complete disassembly and rebuilding of fifties and sixties cars with state of the art components while retaining the look of a stock version. Some appearance changes are accepted, such as larger wheels and tires, paint, and interior work, but body modifications are not generally in the mix. Often upgraded with radical and expensive mechanical improvements, these are expensive to build and can bring top dollar.

Auction Results: Auctions are just one part (an important part) of the collector car marketplace. By themselves, auctions do not set the overall market, especially for high production models. Many collectors get the impression that if they see a ‘57 Chevy sell for $90,000 at a major auction, then theirs must be worth that, too. This is a misconception. The reasons are many: the big auctions are national events that are heavily promoted, there's money in the audience, egos come into play, and bidders can get caught up in the moment. Or, it could simply be that many of the cars that show up to auction at venues such as Scottsdale or Monterey are just stunning, one-of-a-kind, mega-buck restorations. For those types of very low production vehicles, auction results take on greater importance.  Conversely, there are often bargains to be found, too. We’ve seen time and time again where good cars have sold cheap simply because the right bidders weren’t in the crowd at that particular time.

Auction Reporting: Our auction analysts have been in the hobby for many years and are veteran auction-goers.  They try to follow the bidding of all cars they report on and if they see suspicious activity they make note of it, but it is not always possible for even their seasoned eyes to pick up on it.

Condition: Condition is everything. See our Condition Guide

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