1950s American

Index of collectible American cars of the 1950s

Postwar domestic cars are struggling to attract new enthusiasts, and many prices have been slipping as a result. The 1950s American Index continued its slide to close out 2019 with a 5 percent drop, and now sits at a 5-year low. While the 1954 Buick Skylark notched a significant gain of 5 percent, more than half the index’s component cars recorded a serious loss. The 1955 Packard Caribbean took an especially serious blow with a 21 percent drop. The index’s most expensive car, the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado, dropped 13 percent.

The wider 1950s American market is more of a mixed bag with some sizable growth seen for Hudson Hornets, Buick Specials and Pontiac Star Chiefs, but the index adequately represents a wider trend downward. No Studebakers or Packards in the Hagerty Price Guide grew in value, and many of them decreased anywhere from 2 percent to over 20 percent. The narrowing appeal of cars in this segment represents an opportunity for buyers, as well-kept older restorations and former show cars offer a lot of presence per dollar for enthusiasts who appreciate the chrome, excessive size and impossible-to-ignore style offered by many 1950s American cars.

- Andrew Newton, January 2020

The Hagerty Price Guide Index of 1950s American Classics is a stock market style index that averages the values of 19 of the most sought after collectible American automobiles of the 1950s. The list below shows the cars that make up the index, while the graph to the left shows this index’s average value over the years. Values are for #2 condition, or “excellent” cars.

This index includes