12 January 2010

5 of the decade's best investments

There’s been a lot of discussion among collector car enthusiasts about the recent 2008-09 hiccup. But lost is the fact that over the course of the last decade, the market has performed extremely well, certainly in comparison to the stock market. In January 2000, the Dow stood at 11,497. As of this writing, it was around 10,400. These five cars, however, have at least doubled and in some cases tripled in value since 2000.

1. 1964 Shelby Cobra 289: Once considered the poor relative to the 427 Cobra, the market woke up and realized that these were the purest Cobras and also the most successful racers. As an added bonus, the leaf spring cars (as the small blocks are called) are rarely faked. On August 30, 2000, a 289 Cobra sold at the Kruse Auburn sale for $120,000. Fast forward to August 16, 2009, and it took $440,000 to buy a similar car at Gooding’s sale at Pebble Beach.

2. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette 427/435: Everyone wants a big-block C2 Corvette. While they might not be trading for what they did in 2006, unlike the Dow, they aren’t bringing 2000 money either. Kruse sold one in Phoenix on January 12, 2001, for $49,200. A decade later at the Silver Hot August Nights sale on August 9, 2009, someone paid a hundred grand more — $140,000

3. 1973 Porsche 2.7 Carrera RS: Among the most collectible Porsche 911s, the 2.7 RS was a thinly disguised competition car that offered near Turbo performance without the added complication and turbo lag. Fender flares, loud colors, a duck-tail rear spoiler and big Carrera graphics announced the RS. If you had ignored the Y2K hysteria and concentrated on finding a nice example, you’d have likely paid around $55,000. One sold for that amount at the Coys Monte Carlo sale on May 2, 2000. At the height of the market in 2007, they were pushing $300,000, and a year ago one sold at the Artcurial sale in Paris for $172,461. With the exception of perhaps the deficit and the unemployment rate, few things came close to tripling over the course of the last decade.

4. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air: The generation for whom the ’57 Chevy is the ultimate collector car is aging and the market is cooling off a bit, but ten years ago, everyone wanted a ’55-’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible and prices soared. In August 2000, Christies sold a ’57 convertible for $37,600 at Pebble Beach. A decade later in Monterey, Mecum sold a mildly customized example for $121,900. If only we’d all owned ’57 Bel Airs instead of GM stock.

5. 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4: In 2000, the Ferrari market was still suffering the after-effects of the crash of 1991. Amazingly, these cars hadn’t appreciated at all in nine years. A four-cam in good condition sold at RM’s Waldorf Astoria sale in September 2000 for $385,000. By 2008, the 275 GTB/4 had re-joined the million dollar club. Even after the market correction of 2008-09, these were still $900,000-plus cars as demonstrated by the Fly Yellow example that sold at RM’s Phoenix sale a year ago.

So while anyone who bought one of these cars in 2006-2008 might be slightly behind, they still would have weathered the recent economic downturn quite well. Is now a good time to buy any of these blue chip cars? Unless you’re looking to flip it quickly, any one of these cars should be a good bet for the long haul if past performance is any indicator.

 

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