Car collecting is an enduring cross-generational hobby that has undergone some notable shifts since the establishment of the Antique Automobile Club of America in 1935. Culture, current technology, and age demographics are some factors determining the most sought-after models and general preferences for each new generation of car lovers.
The Early Days and Baby Boomers-Driven Shifts
The first generation of collector car hobbyists held pre-war era cars close to their hearts. They collected automobiles made before 1945, such as the Ford Model T and Model A. As car lovers born between 1946 and 1964 or baby boomers got older, they declared their unique preferences for brands of the ’50s and ’60s, like the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air. A major demographic shift impacting car collecting took shape for the first time ever.
Here’s a look at five unfolding collector car market trends:
Baby Boomers Passing the Torch
With their greater wealth compared to the previous generation, boomers could afford high-quality car collectibles. It was common for an individual to own a personal collection of 15, 20, or more cars, including some European luxury autos like Ferraris and Porsches. While some classics from the ’50s and early ’60s are still in demand today, there’s been a gradual decline in interest in other older models. Evidently, boomers are passing the torch to younger generations.
Generation Xers and Millennials Keep the Hobby Alive
Collectors from Generation X and millennials aren’t interested in pre-war collectibles. They’re collecting Japanese machines like Honda Civics, Toyota Celicas, and even supercars such as Toyota Supras. Some of them find models from the ’60s somewhat fascinating, though. However, the previous generation never envisioned Japanese cars as collectibles.
Enter Young Collector Car Hobbyists/Modifiers
One of the latest collector car market trends shows young hobbyists deviating from their parents’ and grandparents’ preference for originality in their antique car collections. They’re modifying the classic automobiles they collect, restoring the original external look but upgrading performance for a modern driving experience. For example, with resto-mods, classics like 1967 Chevy Camaros are restored to their antique look, but they get upgraded with multiple modern conveniences, such as fuel-injected engines.
The collector car culture today has attracted the attention of environmentally-sensitive hobbyists. Besides modifying their collections for superior performance and a modern feel, they’re transitioning from gas to 100% battery power. Converting their cars this way allows them to enjoy their hobby without raising concerns over poor fuel efficiency, smog emission, and other automobile-related forms of pollution.
Old and Young Collectors’ Hard Right Turn
Older and young collectors are taking a “hard right turn,” meaning they’re interested in classics that have never undergone restoration. “Barn finds,” which are antique automobiles that have been packed and “abandoned” in barns for decades, are the latest major attraction on the scene. To the shock of many collector car market observers, some of these “untouched” barn finds are fetching higher auction prices than the same classics would after a perfect restoration.
These collector car market trends reveal one thing in common: There’s always something interesting for any car lover despite the profound generational differences in preferences. If you’re looking to insure your new classic find, contact the experts at CAV Insurance Agency Inc today. We can help protect your valuable investment with proper Agreed Value Coverage!
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