During the pandemic, Americans might not be driving as much, but that hasn’t sapped their interest in collectible cars.
“It’s even more powerful than we ever saw before,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of classic car insurer Hagerty.
But the types of vehicles that are drawing interest continue to evolve. Sure, the Porsche 911 will always be viewed as a top-notch collector’s item.
But the Toyota Land Cruiser? The Jeep Grand Cherokee? Who could’ve guessed that these seemingly mainstream SUVs would one day be considered collectible?
“Together they represent this ever-increasing trend,” McKeel Hagerty said. “The under-50 collector is interested in vintage versions of what they can buy every day in the dealership, which is an SUV.”
Of course, the whip-fast supercars of days gone by still resonate. But cheaper vehicles have thrived on the collectible market during the coronavirus pandemic since they’re more likely to be purchased online than extremely expensive collectible cars, said Brian Rabold, Hagerty’s vice president of valuation services.
“People have more time to spend right now in front of a computer, and it’s become easier to purchase a car sight unseen,” Rabold said.
Hagerty provided its closely followed 2021 Bull Market List to USA TODAY, showcasing the collectible vehicles it projects will have the most momentum in the new year.
The annual list is based on an assessment of the volume increase in insurance quote requests, value jumps and online readership data. That means the list isn’t just the most expensive models out there. It’s the ones that seem to be suddenly sizzling.
Here’s the list, with current price estimates based on Hagerty’s definition of a vehicle that’s in extremely well-maintained but not pristine condition (No. 2 on a scale of 1-6, with 1 being the best shape):
2011-12 Lexus LFA
• Price when new: $350,000
• Hagerty estimate today: $558,000-$582,000
This supercar is entering the stratosphere of collectible cars usually occupied by the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Lamborghini. This front-engine exotic ride boasts a roaring 10-cylinder engine. Values jumped 18% in 2020, compared with 2019.
The LFA is “one of the most advanced cars from the last decade,” Rabold said. “It’s just a fantastic sophisticated car and definitely poised for growth right now.”
2006-10 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8
• Price when new: $39,700
• Hagerty estimate today: $29,500-$36,000
A 6.1-liter Hemi engine makes this SUV about as wickedly fast as they come for the era. Don’t expect good fuel economy, but we’re going to guess that’s not why you’re buying this one. Values are up 15% since 2018. One reason why the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is rising in value: It’s getting tougher to find in good condition, according to Hagerty.
“It’s undeniable what a resurgence Jeep the brand has made in general,” McKeel said.
1984-91 Ferrari Testarossa
• Price when new: $164,950
• Hagerty estimate today: $96,000- $108,000
This vehicle was a marvel from the moment it debuted at the 1984 Paris auto show.
“I had that car on a poster in my bedroom when I was in elementary school,” Rabold said. “It’s a standout car in terms of the design.”
Having replaced the 512 BBi, it boasted a larger cockpit and an upgraded interior, making it what Hagerty Driver’s Club magazine editors called “one of the most memorable cars of the 1980s.”
“A $100,000 car is not accessible to every human being but in comparison to almost every other Ferrari of any era, it’s a smokin’ deal,” McKeel Hagerty said.
2005-17 Aston Martin Vantage
• Price when new: $110,000
• Hagerty estimate today: $45,000- $52,500
This was the least expensive car Aston Martin made at the time. It offered an aluminum frame and 8-cylinder engine, though today the 4.7-liter engine version is growing in value faster.
“I think this is one of the better buys on the list,” McKeel Hagerty said. “It’s a great show-off car for the money.”
1964-70 Honda S600/S800
• Price when new: $1,600
• Hagerty estimate today: $29,500- $38,500
This vehicle wasn’t sold in the U.S. when it was first released, so it’s hard to find in left-hand drive. At the time, Honda was known more for motorcycles than cars. But had you bought this car new and kept it, you’d be in for a nice return on your investment. And prices keep rising.
“We’re starting to see the whole Japanese sporty car market being fully acknowledged in the West,” McKeel Hagerty said.
1980-91 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia
• Price when new: $9,540
• Hagerty estimate today: $27,000- $36,000.
The “van life” movement is fueling interest in this vehicle, much like it’s fueling interest in VW’s forthcoming electric revival of its beloved van.
People who own several collectible vehicles are particularly common buyers of the Vanagon. McKeel Hagerty said he owned a 1989 Vanagon years ago.
It’s “one of the oddest vehicles I’ve ever owned,” he said. But “it was super fun to have. It goes with this pandemic view, which is ‘I just want to get out.’”
2005-06 Ford GT
• Price when new: $150,000
• Hagerty estimate today: $337,000- $395,000
Ford doesn’t make the GT very often, which makes it particularly enticing to collectors.
“It was collectible from the get-go,” Rabold said. “Most of them have very few miles.”
The GT also got a recent lift from Hollywood.
“It’s the lift for the ‘Ford vs. Ferrari’ movie,” McKeel said.
2000-06 Audi TT Quattro Coupe
• Price when new: $30,500
• Hagerty estimate today: $10,000- $16,000
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then this vehicle has a lot to be proud of. Its wraparound headlights and low roofline were among the features that rival designers began to copy in the years after its release.
“It’s a lot of style for the dollar,” Rabold said.
1948-54 Jaguar XK120
• Price when new: $3,945
• Hagerty estimate today: $121,500- $144,000
This might not be the most advisable car to buy if you’re tall. It was tiny even for its time.
But if speed and a vintage feel are what you’re going for, this could be your next ride. The XK120 set a record for fastest production car in 1949. The vehicle boasts a top speed of 130 miles per hour, an incredible pace for its era.
“Not that you would drive that fast in it,” Rabold joked. “It’s a romantic car. It’s coming from the golden age of motoring.”
1993-97 Toyota Land Cruiser FZJ80
• Price when new: $41,000
• Hagerty estimate today: $23,500- $37,000
If we had told you in 1993 that this vehicle would be collectible, you’d probably laugh us out of the room. But the ‘90s-era Land Cruiser FZJ80 was ahead of its time as an SUV built for off-roading.
Insurance quotes are up 74% in 2020, compared with 2019, according to Hagerty.