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Use and Understanding of Our Collector Car Pricing Data

Collector Car Market Review Online is organized to allow fast and easy access to classic and collector vehicle pricing information. Each model listing has the powertrain configuration used in determining the current value. Any changes to this "base" price due to different engines, transmissions, or optional equipment are reflected in the Add and Deduct sections below each model.

Engines are listed by cylinders, displacement and horsepower. Horsepower ratings for domestic cars and trucks are SAE gross up through 1971, after which the industry adopted the more conservative SAE net ratings. Because of the change of rating method, horsepower drops are not as drastic as they appear and in some cases didn't drop in real terms at all. Imports used different rating methods up through 1971, after which most of them also reported horsepower using the SAE net method.

Important Pricing Considerations

Pricing in CCMR 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: Empirical data from auctions, sales reports, our exclusive Value-Track database, classifieds and general market observations (contacts, shows, etc.).

Regional factors: There are some minor regional differences in prices, mostly for vehicles under $20,000 in value. Prices traditionally tended to be highest in the northeast and on the west coast, but much--if not all--of this differential has eroded, especially in the lower end of the market. Very expensive cars operate in a global market.

Condition: Condition is everything. Determining the right value starts with determining the right condition. Read our collector car condition guide before valuing your vehicle.

Show cars: In the not so distant past, perfect cars were quite rare. While not exactly abundant, they are far more commonplace today. Because of this (among other things), the bar of what constitutes a perfect car is being raised all the time. A #1+ concours-ready classic of thirty or forty years ago would likely fall short on the show field today. Regardless, now--as then--these vehicles have been treated to a very expensive concours quality, frame-off, no expensed spared, nut & bolt restoration and do not get driven. They can often command higher prices than CCMR's standard #1 value.

Originality: All pricing assumes original, numbers matching engine. Deductions vary for engine swaps and can (but not always) be substantial -- be careful! Clean, totally original cars usually carry a premium relative to equivalent published prices. Original documentation is a big plus, especially on muscle cars. Having said that, there is a strong trend towards "upgrading" collector cars and trucks to make them drive and perform better than when they were new while retaining (mostly) stock appearance. Depending on the model, these vehicles can suffer little to no value loss, and in fact in today's market they bring far more than a pure stock example. It's all about "the build".

High Option Vehicles: Cars & trucks that are highly optioned and/or accessorized with unique or rare factory options items such as visors, continental kits, power seats, tilt wheel, rare sound equipment etc. almost always command a premium. Figure an extra 10% or so depending on equipment.

Imports: Pricing for imported cars is for US spec., left-hand drive unless not available in that configuration. Right-hand drive carries a price penalty on most cars, especially later models. Later standard-bodied RHD Rolls-Royce and Bentley models are particularly difficult to sell in the States.

Trucks: Departures from originality do not affect the value of trucks as it does cars. Engine swaps or upgrades, mild customization in the form of wheels, tires, and accessories can enhance value. Make sure you use the Truck Equipment Table

Street Rods: Due to varying degrees of quality, parts, workmanship, etc., these are extremely difficult to accurately estimate market value. Many rods reflect the specific likes of the owner, and these don't always translate well to potential buyers. Monetarily, it is usually very difficult to recover the amount of money put into it. While the rod market has been generally trending down for several years, they are still an important and vibrant part of the marketplace. A professional appraisal is a good idea in these cases. Appraisers

About Auction Results: GUIDES THAT RELY SOLEY ON AUCTION RESULTS DO NOT REFLECT THE MARKET AS A WHOLE FOR MOST VEHICLES. Auctions are just one part of the collector car marketplace. Their influence is very strong at the top end of the market and generally decreases as the cars get less expensive and more common.

Many collectors (still!) get the impression that if they see a 1957 Chevy sell for $80,000 at a major auction, then theirs must be worth that, too. This is not the case. Auctions often bring above market prices for very nice cars. The reasons are many: there's money in the audience ready to buy, egos come into play, bidders can get caught in the moment, and sometimes the cars that show up at higher end auctions are desirable, stunning, mega-buck restorations.

Unfortunately, all is not always as it seems at auction. Sometimes prices are bid up with "phantom" bidders, cars are declared sold that aren't, and the bidding can even be completely fabricated. In addition, dealers may bid among themselves solely to create the illusion of both interest and high values for specific cars. Shocking!

This doesn't mean that you should avoid collector car auctions. Go to a few and observe what goes on, get a feel for how things work and decide for yourself. If you do decide to bid, ask the seller a lot of questions. Sellers with good cars will usually be available and more than happy to talk to you. For more information on the auction process, read CCMR's How to Buy at Collector Car Auctions or Sell at Collector Car Auctions.

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