Muscle car market overview - 2016

By: Cliff Chambers, Unique Cars magazine

Presented by

These are difficult economic times for car lovers, but there's nothing wrong with putting a little heart into your purchase.

Muscle car market overview - 2016
Falcon GT is the quintessential Australian muscle car.

Right now muscle car buyers must be feeling a bit like a dazzled kangaroo, stranded on the white line with headlights coming at it from every direction. That's how mixed up the market is.

One report reckons prospects have never been as rosy, other research says those who are typically fascinated by older cars are dying off at alarming rates. So, what to do?

Buy an Australian car now and the end to Holden and Ford production in Australia may drive its value higher. However, along with those historic closures comes the prospect of surging unemployment, declining consumer confidence, and lower demand for recreational vehicles. It’s a tough one to call.

One certainty comes via the cars themselves, though. What we feature will never be made again. Even the latest replica Cobra kits are technologically different from similar-looking cars from 20 years ago. Old cars are a finite and diminishing resource, of that there is no doubt.

Despite all the care lavished by their owners, beautiful performance models from bygone eras still fall victim to theft, fires, accidents or - as happened to a group of scarce Corvettes - falling into sink holes! 

We don’t have the stocks of ultra-exotics needed to challenge the highest ever prices being paid for collector cars (which has been pushed close to US$35m) and ultra-rare models from the muscle years of 1966-72 reach well into the millions these days.

At home there remains every chance that a road car will crack the A$1m barrier one day. There are plenty of collectors around with that kind of money to spend, but they are usually canny with a quid and just need convincing that the market conditions that push values towards seven digits are sustainable.

That’s the top end of the market dealt with, but what about the chunk that’s accessible to the majority of us with $5000-50,000? Looking at the local market for 20th century models, it comes down whether you want a blue oval or reclining lion on your grille and the quantity of power under the bonnet.

Cast your eyes over a list of cars from the 1990s and $15,000 will buy various Holden Special Vehicle models with around 220 kilowatts on tap. Ford lagged for some time in the power wars until investing in a ‘stroker’ version of its 5.0-litre V8.

Move into the 21st century and up your investment by around $10,000 and the choice broadens to include 285kW ClubSports or GT Falcons with 290kW. That’s about the same power as you get from a $400,000 GT-HO Phase 3.

While trekking through the Land of Ford, don’t forget its range of six-cylinder, turbocharged models. No they won’t rattle the neighbours’ windows with a V8 rumble, but they do get cracking away from the lights and give you a big safety margin when overtaking.    

Whatever you buy - a slab of dinkum Aussie muscle or a couple of tonnes of US high-performance - get a car that delivers a jolt to your adrenal gland each time you open the garage door and reminds you that you’re about to drive something special. 

Cliff Chambers, 2016



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