The weather is heating up, and so is demand for cars, trucks and SUVs in the collector market.
That is the message from insurance specialist Hagerty, which has released an updated list of the vehicles currently topping its Hagerty Vehicle Rating (HVR) system.
Using a combination of data from insurance quote values, auction activity and other sale results, Hagerty uses this to indicate what is currently on trend in the marketplace.
We’ve taken a look at some of the vehicles set to attract all the admiring glances in the coming few months, along with their respective HVR scores out of 100.
The higher the HVR, the higher the desirability…
1966 – 1977 Ford Bronco: HVR 96
Topping the Hagerty list for June 2019 is the first generation of the Ford Bronco. The compact SUV actually dropped in terms of HVR score, but still manages to be out in front of the rest of the pack.
Interest in the original version is being driven by the planned return of the Bronco name in 2020. Anticipation for the new car is leading collectors to snap up originals. Regardless of the lust for nostalgia, Hagerty notes that the Bronco is “simple, reliable and fun” and is supported by aftermarket parts availability.
1973 – 1991 Chevrolet CK Blazer: HVR 93
SUVs and pickup trucks account for half of the vehicles on the full HVR list, with the second-generation Chevy Blazer tied for second place.
Chevrolet has recently reintroduced the Blazer as a new full-size SUV which, like the Bronco, may account for some of the interest in the retro version. Due to the fact it remained in production for almost two decades, supplies of the second-gen Blazer are plentiful.
The half-ton platform adds usability to the Blazer, whilst an uprated heavy-duty version was used by the U.S. military as the M-2009 Command Vehicle.
1978 – 1979 Ford Bronco: HVR 93
Tied with the K5 Blazer for second place is the SUV produced to compete directly with it. The second-generation Bronco was substantially bigger in size, pushing the Ford into the full-size SUV category.
Andrew Newton, valuation editor at Hagerty, believes the explanation for the level of interest in the later Blazer is easy to understand. With prices of the original Blazer on the up, Newton says “people are turning to the later, cheaper, models, which drives up demand for those too.”
The fourth-generation Bronco, built from 1987 to 1991, also makes it to the HVR list, proving that the name is certainly in demand.
1963 – 1983 Jeep Wagoneer: HVR 92
Beating the original Range Rover to the market by several years, and regarded as the first true luxury SUV, fondness for the Wagoneer is seemingly evergreen.
The SJ series of Wagoneers progressed further upmarket during their production, adding features like air conditioning, power-adjustable seats, and leather upholstery. It makes the Wagoneer a comfortable and effective all-terrain machine.
Jeep has teased the idea of introducing a new Wagoneer, which again may be driving the nostalgic demand.
1967 – 1972 Chevrolet CK Series Pickup: HVR 92
Both the Chevrolet C/K pickup, and its GMC-branded brother, score highly on the latest HVR list.
Related to the K5 Blazer, the second-generation C/K pickup added a new ‘Action Line’ exterior design to the half-ton format. According to Hagerty, this combination of modern styling and dependable build quality has helped find them plenty of fans with collectors.
1977 – 1981 Toyota Celica Supra: HVR 92
A definite trend is emerging on the Hagerty list, with demand spiking for cars which have a modern equivalent creating waves.
According to Hagerty’s Andrew Newton, the first-generation Toyota Supras are “not that expensive” currently, but neither are they “that remarkable”. However, the launch of the latest GR Supra is driving interest in the older cars, with later versions of the Supra proving to be much more costly in comparison.
1990 – 1996 Nissan 300ZX: HVR 92
Showing that the current trend for everything from the 1990s even extends to Japanese sports cars, the 300ZX is a quintessential modern classic.
The 300ZX proved a popular choice in the United States, with the performance of the Twin Turbo version particularly impressive. Some 300 horsepower was on offer from the boosted model, allowing an electronically limited top speed of 155 mph.
With technology like four-wheel steering on turbocharged versions, the 300ZX can be a complex car to run and maintain. However, this does not seem to be putting off interested buyers.
1992 – 2002 Mazda RX-7: HVR 92
Sharing equal fourth place with the 300ZX is another Japanese performance machine from the 1990s.
The FD generation of the RX-7 was the first mass-produced car to have sequential twin-turbocharging, using it force air into a rotary engine. It made for a unique driving experience, and allowed the RX-7 to win many accolades when new.
What the Hagerty Vehicle Rating system does not record is how many RX-7s have undergone the popular Chevrolet LS V-8 engine conversion. We imagine some cars are still out there with an original rotary engine though…
1999 – 2002 BMW M Coupe: HVR 92
Derided when new for the unusual styling, the Z3-based M Coupe was the product of a private project by BMW engineers to create a hardtop version.
Whilst they may have convinced BMW to put the M Coupe into production, unfortunately it proved harder to get buyers to part with their money for one. It meant the numbers of M Coupes which left BMW’s Spartanburg plant were relatively low.
Limited numbers have turned the M Coupe into a true cult classic, and its position as one of the last M cars with a naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine will undoubtedly be helping create interest.
1973 – 1987 Chevrolet CK Series Pickup: HVR 91
Predictably, the later third-generation of the Chevrolet C/K Series of pickup trucks are also undergoing a surge in popularity.
Often referred to as the ‘Square-body’ version of Chevy’s full-size pickup truck, the third-generation found controversy due to the ‘side saddle’ positioning of its fuel tanks. This led to a number of lawsuits, along with action from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Despite this, demand for high-quality examples is clearly on the rise, with values increasing by 50 percent over the past three years.
1981 – 1986 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler: HVR 91
You perhaps don’t need to be a genius to understand why the CJ-8 Scrambler is featuring highly on Hagerty’s list. The frenzy surrounding Jeep’s latest pickup truck, the Gladiator, is a likely factor in this placing.
Less than 28,000 examples of the Scrambler were built between 1981 and 1986, meaning it enjoys relative rarity compared to other off-road pickups. Former U.S. President, and confirmed Jeep aficionado, Ronald Reagan was a Scrambler owner, though.
The 10-inch extended wheelbase and longer load bed make the Scrambler practical. That, combined with the premium prices being paid for the new Gladiator, may well be fueling interest.
1990 – 1998 Mazda Miata MX-5: HVR 91
On internet car forums across the world, no matter what the question, the answer is seemingly always ‘Miata’. Or MX-5, perhaps, depending on where you live.
In particular, the first-generation of Mazda’s compact roadster continues to prove popular. Whether it is for use in motorsport, to modify, or just to enjoy a Sunday drive, there is always a Miata option to fit, it seems.
Only chassis corrosion is a real threat to their longevity, with most other parts relatively easy to maintain and replace. They might not be the quickest sports cars on the road, but they certainly bring joy to plenty of owners.
1989 – 1994 Nissan Skyline R32 GT-R: HVR 90
Although later versions of the Skyline GT-R may seem to get all the attention, the R34 in particular, the R32 has seen a major jump on Hagerty’s rating system.
With a 276 horsepower twin-turbocharged six-cylinder engine mated to an advanced four-wheel drive system, the R32 GT-R dominated the international motorsport arena when new. Translated to the road, this meant impressive performance in all weathers, plus the ability to be easily tuned.
American buyers have only recently had the chance to buy the R32 due to the 25-year import rule. In particular, this means the sought after V-Spec cars are now eligible to be brought into the USA.
1990 – 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class: HVR 90
Think of a Mercedes-Benz SL-Class and there is a rather good chance this is the shape you will be imagining. Having been on sale for twelve years certainly helps cement the R129 in the mind, as do the more than 213,000 examples sold.
It also manages to tick off many of the Mercedes-Benz cliches, such as sturdy build quality, impressive levels of technology, and powerful engines. Top of the pile was the SL600, featuring a substantial 6.0 V-12 power plant with 389 horsepower.
Several special editions were made during the later years of the R129 SL-Class, further boosting its appeal. AMG versions of this roadster are also rare treats to discover.
1992 – 2002 Cadillac Eldorado: HVR 90
Proving that collector cars do not necessarily have to break the bank to purchase, the tenth-generation Eldorado is a prime example of an up-and-coming modern classic.
Bigger and heavier than the car it replaced, the slab-sided styling of the final car to wear the Eldorado badge certainly made a dramatic statement. Cadillac’s Northstar V-8 engine became available shortly after launch, although Hagerty cautions buyers against the earliest of these due to well-documented reliability issues.
Later examples featured active adaptive suspension, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, and even more luxurious interiors. The final cars, including the Touring Coupe models, are the ones which Hagerty points collectors towards.
1959 – 1960 Cadillac Series 62: HVR 89
Another dramatic Cadillac, but several decades older, the Series 62 represents a substantial amount of sheet metal for any classic car collector.
Designed by famed GM stylist Bill Mitchell, the ‘59 Series 62 is remembered for the now iconic rear fins, wearing rocket-shaped tail lights. Measuring 225-inches long, this is a vast car even by modern standards, and for many represents the ultimate example of car design from the 1950s.
A 350-cubic inch V-8 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, and optional air suspension mean the Series 62 was mechanically advanced. With 71,000 sold, their relatively plentiful numbers offers choice for collectors.
1967 – 1970 Mercury Cougar: HVR 89
According to Hagerty’s Andrew Newton, the surge in Cougar interest is important as they have “been undervalued and underappreciated compared to the Mustang.”
Compared to the Ford Mustang, the first-generation Mercury Cougar was intended to be more upmarket than the Blue Oval’s pony car. The headlights hidden behind the front grille are a particular highlight, whilst the interior featured simulated woodgrain trim for XR-7 cars.
Cars fitted with the GT packaged will attract attention, using a 390-cubic inch V-8 engine to produce 335 horsepower. These versions also featured uprated brakes and suspension, demonstrating some of the motorsport prowess achieved by the Cougar.
1977 – 1984 Cadillac DeVille: HVR 89
An icon of the ‘malaise era’ of American car production, the fifth-generation Cadillac DeVille is a rather curious vehicle to be attracting such attention.
We can only imagine that hipsters, seeking out the ultimate expression of a big car with an underpowered engine, are flocking to this DeVille in droves. Unfortunately, Hagerty’s data does not show if they are picking cars with the 350-cubic inch Oldsmobile diesel engine, with its (cough) massive 105 horsepower.
Relatively low prices do at least mean collectors will be getting plenty of value for money with these cars.
2000 – 2006 BMW E46 M3: HVR 89
BMW E46 M3s have seemingly weathered the storm of being cheap enough to attract street racers and modifiers. Values for the best examples have increased dramatically in the last 18 months, making them eminently collectable.
A naturally aspirated 3.2-liter straight-six engine produced 338 horsepower, although North American cars made do with just 333 horsepower. Buyers had the choice of a six-speed manual gearbox, or BMW’s SMG paddle shift transmission instead. A special bodykit, plus performance brakes and suspension, added to the package.
Most collectable are special edition versions, such as cars with the Competition Package in the USA. The ultimate holy grail of E46 M3 ownership is still the CSL, featuring more horsepower, less weight and other bespoke improvements.
1993 – 1996 Cadillac Fleetwood: HVR 88
Hagerty points out that the Fleetwood four-door has the cheapest point of entry compared to the other cars on this list. At just $5,200 for a car in ‘Good’ condition, it is certainly an accessible vehicle for most collectors.
Noted for the rare decision of Cadillac switching back from front-wheel drive to rear-wheel drive, these were the last of the General Motors ‘D platform’ vehicles. The most interesting of the final Fleetwoods are those fitted with the Chevrolet Corvette-sourced LT1 engine.
Producing 260 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, LT1-equipped Fleetwoods could make for a rather amusing 0-60 mph sprint in 8 seconds. Quick enough to surprise people at traffic lights.
2002 – 2007 Subaru Impreza WRX STi: HVR 88
If you know the terms ‘Blob Eye’, ‘Bug Eye’ and ‘Hawk Eye’ then you perhaps do not need an explanation on why these Imprezas have become collector cars.
For everyone else, the combination of World Rally Championship-proven performance and ease of tuning has made them hugely popular. All-wheel drive makes them virtually unstickable, whilst the unique burble of the Subaru flat-four engine is hard to ignore.
Many will have been tuned and crashed, meaning buyers should seek out the best example they can find. It certainly won’t be the subtlest performance car, but the performance and ability will always be rewarding.