Muscle Cars & US Cars Guide - 2019 Market

By: Cliff Chambers

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While you know what you're after, the guide gives great guidance on key condition categories with applicable values

Will there ever be another year in the history of AussieClassicCarLand to top 2018? This country’s first full year in decades without a new motor vehicle being made still saw sales records being wrought and others blown to bits.

The pages of Unique Cars magazine over the past 18 months brought non-stop news of extraordinary cars achieving unheralded prices and the dispersal of some very significant vehicle collections.

Milestones included the highest amount ever paid in the open market for an Australian competition car. Other ex-racers were sold as well but nothing came close to eclipsing the $2.1 million outlaid by the new owner of a very special HDT Commodore.

The year also carved another notch on the belt of the Falcon GTHO Phase 3 when a car with some cricketing celebrity in its history file stopped the clocks with a bid of $1.03 million. It also set a record for the highest price paid to date for a road-spec Australian car although perhaps that is open to dispute given the $2M subsequently paid for a race-spec GTHO Phase 4.

Other records were set by a variety of locally-made models. Most had not been seen in an auction sale before and set the rooms buzzing due to ultra-low kilometres or other attributes that made them ‘must haves’ for dedicated collectors.

What we did not see during 2018 and hopefully will not see this year was an unruly stampede of the kind that drove prices to unsustainable levels back in 2005-07. The fact that such a situation didn’t recur was a bit surprising given the low numbers of some models reaching the market which normally would spark a clamour to secure any car that did become available.

Prices for a wide range of ‘collector’ models are without doubt increasing and some movements won’t be sustainable in the short-term. However the buyers most likely to be disadvantaged by a short-term slump are speculators. Genuine ‘hobby’ owners who invest in a quality car with the intention of long-term ownership will rarely lose money. 

Performance and competition credentials are factors that certainly make a vehicle attractive to the market. Yet some with no performance kudos at all have sold for exemplary prices. One such car was an EH Holden Premier station wagon with rare manual transmission that had been the centre-piece of a themed collection for many years. Other vehicles from the same collection couldn’t match the attributes of the Premier and made quite realistic sums or didn’t reach their reserves at all.

Any tips for intending buyers? Follow the smart money and buy cars with complete, documented history and with as much of their original equipment in place as possible. If you can’t find or afford one of those, choose a model that as a child you were desperate to own because plenty of others will have grown up wanting one as well.

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