Classic Cars

5​ collector cars Gen-X, Boomers, and Milennials were searching for during the pandemic

The Mazda MX-5 Miata is a desirable car for enthusiasts of all ages.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

In 2020, Americans were given a lot of time to sit at home and distract themselves by surfing the web. Often, they found themselves daydreaming about owning a classic or collector car.

Hagerty has released some interesting results of a survey of the company's web traffic during that period, detailing which vehicles had their quotes searched for the most and what age groups were doing the searching. Scroll down to see the results.

2000-2006 BMW M3 (E46)

BMW E46 Convertible

The E46 generation BMW M3 was available as a coupe or a cabriolet.

Photo courtesy of BMW

Gen-Xers and Millennials are looking hard at the BMW M3s of the early 2000s. Seventy-eight percent of the quotes Hagerty received were from that age group.

The E46 edition of the car was produced as a coupe and a convertible, getting its power from the last of the S54 straight-six engines BMW produced. The automaker sold the model in a variety of special editions but the CSL was never brought to market in North America.

1997-2004 Porsche Boxster

Boxster (986), 1996

Porsche introduced the Boxster in 1996.

Photo courtesy of Porsche AG

The Porsche Boxster celebrated a big birthday this year, but last year it was the first-generation model that was on the minds of browsers. Boomers represented 51 percent of the quotes for the Boxster followed by 33 percent by Gen-X.

The mid-engine Boxster was Porsche's first road vehicle to be originally designed as a roadster since the 914, which was in production from 1969 to 1976. A couple different engine choices were available for the first-gen Boxster when it was new and the model underwent a mid-generation update for the 2002 model year.

1984-1991 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

1989 Jeep Wagoneer

This 1989 Jeep Wagoneer sold for over $100k at Barrett-Jackson.

Photo courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

The Jeep Grand Wagoneer's popularity is picking up just as Jeep announced that they're bringing the SUV back. The new Grand Wagoneer is expected later this year.

Hagerty reported that 65 percent of all quotes for the vintage version of the SUV were from Gen-X and Millennial buyers - the target market for the new one as well.

1993-2002 Pontiac Firebird

Pontiac Firebird

The Pontiac Firebird was discontinued just before the Great Recession hit causing the brand to fold.

Photo by Ken Morris/Shutterstock.com

The final generation of the Pontiac Firebird is still turning heads, nearly 20 years after it left the market. During the pandemic, 63 percent of the quotes that were searched for are from Gen-X and Millennials

1990-1998 Mazda MX-5 Miata

2011 Mazda MX-5 Miata

The third-generation Mazda Miata went out of production six years ago.

Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Gen-X and Millennials represented 56 percent of all quotes for the second- and third-generation Mazda Miata. The second-gen MX-5 debuted in 1997 and was put on sale for the 1999 model year. This was the generation that got rid of the pop-up headlights.

The third-gen Miata was in production from 2005 to 2015. Design-wise, the car stayed pretty true to its roots but there was one notable innovation. This generation was the first to have a retractable hardtop variant.

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The car shows just 9,000 miles.

Bring a Trailer

If you’re in the market for a new and unique sports car, this may be your fix. The Mazda RX-8 is a much-maligned and somewhat unreliable vehicle, but the price on this auction may be just right. The 2005 RX-8 shows just 9,000 miles on its odometer and looks to be in wonderful shape.

2005 Mazda RX-8 Unsurprisingly, the RX-8 looks almost new.Bring a Trailer

The RX-8 was an interesting but problem-plagued car that many enthusiasts steer clear of these days. Numerous things can go wrong with the rotary engine that powers the car, including bad ignition coils, engine fuel flooding, catalytic converter issues, and starter problems. The engine’s unique design caused problems when drivers started and quickly shut down the car without letting it warm fully. The problem would prevent the car from starting until remedied but didn’t cause any permanent damage. Other issues could cause costly repairs and extended downtime for RX-8 owners.

While all of that could eventually become an issue for this car, it’s likely that its low mileage and great condition will help it stay in decent health for at least a while. The seller also provided compression test results that show a healthy and functioning engine without much to worry about at the moment.

The RX-8’s tiny 1.3-liter two-rotor engine produced 238 horsepower and 159 pound-feet of torque when new. A six-speed manual transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard. The cars were, and still are, quick, thanks to their light weight. On the downside, the cars’ fuel economy and oil consumption are both prodigious.

2005 Mazda RX-8 The RX-8 was a quirky car with small doors that opened to access the back seat. Bring a Trailer

This 2005 RX-8 sits at just $12,000 at the time of this article, and there’s still almost five hours to go in the auction. Unless some brave soul gets excited at the last minute, it likely won’t climb much higher than that. At that price, the RX-8 is a less risky purchase and would mean that the new owner could use and abuse it without much worry. Could that be you?

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Insurance company Hagerty compiled a list of cars it thinks will climb in value and price.

Hagerty

Vehicle prices have grown across the board this year, but collector car prices have been on the move for years. The world of online car auctions and car shows such as Radwood have driven attention to obscure and otherwise unknown cars, pushing their prices. Insurance and overall automotive lifestyle company Hagerty is stepping in to help. It complied a list of vehicles that it believes are currently a good value and have potential to climb. The Hagerty Bull Market List covers ten vehicles of all types.

Hagerty’s list is expansive, covering several vehicle types, prices, and time periods. The list features vehicles built between 1963 and 2012, and is designed to nudge people into buying cars before they become unattainable. This is especially important now, as online auction sites have moved the markets for some previously obscure cars well past the point of reason.

The Bull Market List isn’t intended to give you an inside track on car values so that you can flip them for quick profit. Instead, the list should give you the push you need if you’re already on the fence about buying a car to keep and drive a cool vehicle. Hagerty wants people to buy the cars and have the ability to pass them on to other enthusiasts without charging exorbitant prices.

The Bull Market List includes (with excellent condition pricing):

  • 1965-1970 Cadillac DeVille ($28,800)
  • 1969-1974 Ferrari 246 Dino ($365,800)
  • 1983-1997 Land Rover Defender ($61,400)
  • 1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 ($17,600)
  • 1962-1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL ($80,500)
  • 1963-1967 Pontiac GTO ($100,200)
  • 1992-1995 Porsche 968 ($38,000)
  • 1985-1995 Suzuki Samurai ($10,200)
  • 2008-2012 Tesla Roadster Sport ($97,000)
  • 1975-1993 Volvo 245 ($15,800)

If you’re considering one of the vehicles on the list and have the means, it’s a good idea to act in the near future. Vehicle prices are rising due to supply chain shortages to the point that even older cars are climbing. That, plus the effects of online car auctions, have made it hard to find a good value car.

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