According to Hagerty data obtained by The Wall Street Journal, the price of a 1956 Mecedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing in 2006 was $525,000. In January of 2015, the price of the famous ‘Widowmaker’ sat at $1.9 million, a change that is representative of the extreme growth the classic car market has experienced in recent years.
It seems as though that inflation has come to a head, however. According to a recent WSJ article, classic car prices have fallen in the first three months of 2016 after growing 490% over the past decade. This might come as a surprise after reading news reports of the 1956 Ferrari 290MM that fetched $28 million in December, or the 1957 Ferrari 335S Spider Scaglietti that fetched $35.7 million in February of this year.
The reason for this crash, Dietrich Hatlapa, founder of the Historic Automobile Group International, told WSJ, is an influx of classic cars. Vehicles that had previously been stored away are now coming up for sale, with owners opting to sell them in order to capitalize on the previously strong market. A recent dip in oil prices and slow economic growth also has the wealthy elite thinking twice about buying up luxury goods like classic cars or expensive real estate.
Car collectors are still showing up to auctions and buying up expensive cars, however the headlines (like those for the $28 million 290MM) don’t tell the full story, Andrew Shirley of property broker Knight Frank told WSJ.
“People who want to collect are still spending bucketloads,” he said. “But if you dig below some standout sales, at quite a lot of auctions you find lots that don’t get sold or make their reserve.”