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The Decline of the Muscle Car Market?

parmparm Posts: 724
In another thread regarding two '66 Plymouth Satellites, Mr. Shiftright broached the subject that the heretofore muscle (madness) market might be waning. Being somewhat of a "student" of the market, I did some (OK, barely any at all) research and found an article by none other than classic car guru Keith Martin that supports the premise that the muscle car market might now be seeing a "correction". I've posted a link to this article.

I'd be interested in opinions and comments about this issue. I don't doubt that the muscle car market may be back sliding. But, I'd like some feedback as to why. Personally, I think the price of gas has some impact. I mean, what's the fun of a muscle car if you can't afford to drive it? Furthermore, there has to be a finite supply of "more money than God" buyers out there. And, sooner or later, the elements of supply and demand were bound to catch up. Likewise, this hobby is still largely supported by "average Joe" buyers. And, when the price of a '69 Z-28 becomes too far out of reach, then something has to give.

In many markets, the price of real estate and declined and has now for a couple of years. It only stands to reason that less commodity-like items would eventually get sucked into the same vicious cycle.

Gentlemen, the floor is yours . . . . .


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    I don't know that it is currently "declining" but many of my dealer contacts tell me it is flattening out.

    Also, another ominous sign-- a great deal of their current business is in shipping muscle cars overseas. Given the weak dollar, I guess American buyers are not willing to compete with European buyers for the cars by stepping up and buying at current asking prices. The Europeans and Australians seem to have no problem buying what they want from us right now.

    Some dealers are even complaining of "inventory shortage", which I think interprets thusly:

    1) shortage because current inventory went overseas

    2) shortage because people who bought high are now reluctant to consign their cars at a lower price.

    There's no shortage of WANT ADS, but fewer takers.

    As Martin says, unless a muscle car has "limited production and historical significance", don't plan on it increasing in value anymore. It'll stay flat and it may even drop as Martin suggests.

    I'm seeing the clones and fakey-doo cars already taking a hit but the documented cars, even if produced in large numbers, seem to be holding steady if...IF....they are in really nice shape.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 51,561
    I wonder how much of the market was driven by those using HELOCs made against their overvalued property to buy cars with inflated prices due to speculation. Real estate and old cars can have much in common when it comes to speculation. I have no doubt the muscle market has peaked. As you mention, it is an Average Joe hobby, and these are Average Joe cars - if it gets to be too much, the market will correct itself or the consumer will move on.

    As Shifty mentions, a lot goes overseas now (I get Dutch Auto Traders and similar magazines often - you should see how many old American cars are making their way over to Europe), this might be keeping prices higher for the time being - but that demand will be met quickly. Cars are rarely a real investment, and I would hope nobody is investing in them given today's climate.
  • parmparm Posts: 724
    As someone who tracked sales of early to mid 1960's Cadillacs 3-6 years ago, I know that several of these cars were purchased and shipped to Scandinavian and European countries. So, it's not surprising that the same has occurred to muscle cars.

    Regardless of whether the market is going up, down or staying flat, I think an important rule (perhaps THE most important) when buying a collector car is to pick something that someone else will want when you're done with it. Doing so will not only reduce your marketing time, but it's about as good a protection plan you can have to prevent taking a bath when it's time to sell. If you can find a car you can sell for what you paid for it five to seven year earlier, you're ahead of the game. And, the maintenance costs you incur during ownership is essentially the price of your "ticket to ride" - which even further supports my long-standing argument to always buy a car that's "done" and not a "project". That's why a muscle car (which I know is a pretty broad category - depending on what's considered a muscle car) still probably makes sense.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,482
    A great piece of advice, to which I might add Rule #2 of collector cars:

    "Whatever got you into a car cheap when you bought it will haunt you when you sell it. "
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    The muscle car is to be avoided as it is the least "Green", the most wasteful, and all too frequently driven in a style not up to the abilities of the driver.

    Common Sense dictates its demise..
    .. ;)
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 24,037
    Eh, they're green enough for my tastes. At least, some of them are! :P
  • parmparm Posts: 724
    Keep in mind, the kind of muscle cars I'm referring to were built between 1964 and 1970 and are now owned as toys. I don't think anyone who owns one (or who wants to own one) has any delusions of making it their daily driver. Therefore, the whole concept of being "green" is largely irrelevant. To me, the ultimate 3-car garage would house a hybrid (pick you favorite flavor) for daily around-town driving/commuting, some kind of a luxo-cruiser for long-distance trips and a 10 mpg (on a good day) muscle car convertible for weekend play and trips with my best gal to the local Dairy Queen.
  • As in "Sub-lime" or even Steve McQueen Bullit Green Mustangs....yeah baby :shades:
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    However, our three car garage contains: 1994 Town Car (Highway luxo cruiser)
    1995 Thunderbird (local driving)
    1966 Mustang GT Coupe (Muscle/Trophy)

    All are Green except for the Red T Bird as this GW and environmental crap is political and not honorable. :P
This discussion has been closed.