MYSTAR FEBRUARY 8 FIVE RETRO RIDES THAT HAVE NOT FLATLINED IN PRICE

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‘Five for Friday’ is a regular weekly feature here at MyStarColletorCar.

We pick a topic based upon a list of five automotive-related issues or items and run with it.

His op-ed was based upon the 2023 and early 2024 vintage vehicle auction prices, along with the trends he observed in buy/sell publications like ‘Auto Roundup’, a very popular US paper/online publisher that dominates in its field via its diverse collection of bi-monthly periodicals.  

I would like to tackle the topic of vehicles that continue to rise in terms of value and offer five examples of vehicles that fit the label.

The first vehicles on my list are the 1958 and ’59 Chevy Impalas, two cars that buck Jerry’s observation that most high production vehicles built during the early days of the Space Race (late 1950s) have nose-dived in terms of value.

There was a time when 1958 and ’59 Impalas were hidden in the shadow of the legendary Tri-Five Chevys built between 1955 and ’57. However, the newer Chevys now command incredible prices, with the 1959 Impalas at the front of the pack in this department because the ’59 Impala’s wild design is a huge hit in the collector car world.  

The second cars on my list are Japanese sports cars from the 1970s, particularly the Z cars built by Nissan under the Datsun name. The best example is the pioneer Datsun 240 Z, a sporty car that set the domestic automotive world on fire when it hit North American showrooms in 1970.

The Datsun Z cars provided a fast and nimble approach to their owners, a philosophy that appealed to their young admirers during the 1970s. The cars’ young admirers are now mature buyers who can afford to purchase the car of their childhood dreams and will pay any amount for the privilege of ownership.

Another car that has spiked in value over the past few years is the third car on my list of rising stars, namely the 70s-era Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty-455, a Poncho pony car that looked the part of a full-on performance machine and was a solid warrior on the street.  

The day of the brute force street machine was over by the mid-1970s, but the Pontiac Trans Am in SD-455 form survived until 1976 before its iconic engine was strangled to death by red tape and expensive gas. The 70s-era Super Duty Trans Ams now command huge money for the same reasons as the Z cars: older buyers who loved them when they were kids and can now afford them.        

The fourth addition to my list is an odd one that came out of nowhere and joined the price hike party in recent years: big American land yachts in convertible form. Anybody who remembers the legendary ‘Rockford Files’ TV show from the 1970s will also remember an abundance of giant cars in most episodes.

The big boats were largely chase vehicles and handled like an aircraft carrier on the streets while pursuing Rockford’s Firebird. The cars were large-but-not-in-charge in the Rockford episodes, but they looked cool when the top was down. Just ask Rockford’s rival detective Lance White about his flashy 1973 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.

The giant drop tops from the 1960s and ‘70s are currently enjoying enough popularity to drive up their stickers prices many decades after they left the dealerships. The reasons for the big cars’ spike in value are not exactly clear to me, but their scarcity in 2024 and fish-out-of-water vibe may have driven up their sticker price in my opinion. Or maybe there are more ‘Rockford Files’ fans than I thought.

The fifth and final reason was touched upon by Jerry in his ‘Five for Friday’ article and has become a mainstay in the car hobby over the past several years. Resto mods and pro-touring vehicles continue to climb in value because their buyers want a retro cool vehicle without yesterday’s technology and engineering.

In short, they want a modern vehicle underneath an old car’s skin, complete with every whistle and buzzer found in a new vehicle-and they are willing to pay big bucks for the privilege of ownership. The result is a hefty price tag on vintage vehicles with modern components and just enough custom touches to enhance their original factory good looks.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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