Trends and data suggesting cars like the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Aire collectors prices have peaked?

GON

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When I was a kid, and for multiple decades as a adult, the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air two door was "the classic" Americana car to own.

Started reading articles that suggested that the people that so highly valued the 1957 Bel Air have been dying off, and the next generation of car collectors are more interested in a old Porsche than a Bel Air, Corvette, Camaro, etc.

Never imagined in my lifetime 57 Chevy losing value among collectors and enthusiast. Maybe "Happy Days" have ended for some collector vehicles.

Please note losing value does not necessarily mean direct loss in price. It can mean price not keeping up with inflation, or not keeping up with gains as compared to other collector cars.

In my 20s and 30s, would of loved a 57 Chevy. In my late 50s, personally I would pass. Might be fun taking to a car show, but not all that fun for long drives. And even with inflation, seems more risk to the price of the vehicle dropping when inflation is factored in, rather than increasing. So likely not so good as a hedge against inflation.


 
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GON

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That's comforting to know. Looking forward to picking up the Chevy Nomad I've always wanted on the cheap. ;)
Maybe you can get a deal on this 2004 Chevy Nomad (concept).

2004_Chevrolet_NomadConcept1-1024x636.jpg
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JHZR2

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I was thinking about this recently. Makes sense in reality. The luxury names, and some corvettes will probably do well. The rest will come into line. I do think that iconic cars, and some “muscle cars” will get a renewed interest, the question becomes how bad insurance and fuel works against them. I can’t see them going to the crusher.

The other reality is that for a long time, many classic cars had a perception of being faster and more powerful… these days that has changed.
 
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The VW scene just seems to not be dying. The car shows I go to like in Chattanooga just get bigger every year. Many young families seem to have them and restore or customize them. Drove my 65 Beetle last weekend and then to town for a couple errands. Drives nice for a 56 year old car.
 
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The newer generations or the ones graduating in a few years don't seem as interested in vehicles but it could take a while to see what they collect. Look at the video game collectors market. Who would have thought that people would shell out thousands of dollars for a limited edition game or one with special color or whatnot.
 
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I agree with the thought that the people who collect the '57 Chevy are dying off and the modern collector wants something that (s)he can just turn the key and drive without trying to live with a finicky carburetor that might stumble around until the car warms up.
This is my wife's toy. Yea, not a automobile, but another hobby that has the collector dying off and the younger generator doesn't want anything to do with the headaches. Prices for antique tractors are down, with a few exceptions that you see on a Mecum auction.
 

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It’s generally accepted that baby boomers were born in the period from 1946 to 64. They are now 75 to 57 years old. The oldest boomers were only 11 years old when the 57 Chevy was new but by the time they were 21, it was a 10 year old car and affordable for hot rodders. The movie American Graphitti showed what was going on in America in the early 60’s and the boomers were largely responsible for that. Happy Days also helped with the feel. The guys with the money were actually from the 50’s and organized car shows and car collecting. Notice that the music and dances for the car shows were 50’s tunes with ladies in bobby socks. Cars shows with names like Stuck in the Fifties were all over.

When the boomer’s kids were out of the house they had a ton of extra money and started bidding up the prices of collector cars. When the economy was good the prices really jumped. But now, front end boomers are 75. What good is a 57 Chevy if you can’t remember where you parked it?

Our local car show in Radium, BC has been booming and except for two years of cancellation during Covid, we were getting 800 plus cars. I think is a bit early to predict the doom of American collector cars, but we’ll see. One piece of evidence for the changing of the guard is that the music for the car shows is 70’s and up Rock N Roll, instead of the Elvis stuff. :cool:
 
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Demand is not what it used to be. The younger generation is not interested in these old cars and the ones who desire these are slowly dying off. This applies to most collectables.
This.

Many people collect things because it brings back nostalgic memories of their childhood. The cars of the 50's and 60's don't have these memories for younger generations, but instead look at the prices of some of the popular 90's cars and SUVs. Add in the fact that many of the older cars don't drive so well, and get 8-10 mpg with 150hp carb'd V8s, and they appeal even less to those that don't have an emotional connection to them. I have millennial friends with vintage cars, and they admire them simply for their style and simplicity, not necessarily emotional attachment. One of my friends has a 1973 F-100. He loves the truck, but even he admits that it is a luxury keeping it around since it is basically a weekend short trip around town type of vehicle for nice days.
 
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When the kids move out and a generation has money (age 50-65) they want that car they couldn't get in high school. So, yes, the era for the 57 chevy has already peaked. You'll see really cherry ones still priced as high as ever, but they'll be for sale for a longer time, and actual transaction prices will dip on all but the most perfect examples.

My dad (80ish years old) just got rid of the 1940 Ford he restored back in 1978 because he can't drive so well anymore. He sold it to some octogenarian buddy of his who knew him and the car since forever. I'm glad he was able to find a buyer and this didn't become my problem.

I don't think the same will happen for the factory hot rod era, 63-73ish, as it's more acceptable to slap these around with airbags, LS swaps, disc brakes, etc which will keep the interest of the next generation. And I'm perfectly aware this all can be and has been done to the 57-- it's expensive and there are limitations to comfort in the "shoebox."
 
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The magic is gone. The new 57 Nomad your neighbor brought home had the magic. The Cadillac Eldorado, the Chrysler 300 had it. The Harley has it. Don't know what it is, but it's gone, to me anyway. Maybe we are overloaded with new things these days or something. Maybe the artistry was better, don't know, like art deco.
 
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This is a GOOD THING, many companies have sprung up specializing in classic cars. Such as Gateway Classic Cars of St. Louis.
SGC, http://sgccars.com/ and many other classic car retailers/restorers/locater services. Pacific Classics if you are in the Northwest.

It is true, todays folks don't want to fix up classic cars, they want to drive them in like new condition. It's simply moving from a home shop hobby to specialized dealerships.
 
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a classic example of a a “boomermobile”

gen x wants newer, better stuff from their childhood. same for millennials
Exactly. The people with large disposable income to buy their “dream car” now are people that were kids/teens in the 80’s, 90’s etc. Look at the prices of cars like an NSX or Integra Type R right now, they are going up like CRAZY. My sister has a show room condition ‘97 ITR and could probably sell it for triple what it was new right now.
 
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This is a GOOD THING, many companies have sprung up specializing in classic cars. Such as Gateway Classic Cars of St. Louis.
SGC, http://sgccars.com/ and many other classic car retailers/restorers/locater services. Pacific Classics if you are in the Northwest.

It is true, todays folks don't want to fix up classic cars, they want to drive them in like new condition. It's simply moving from a home shop hobby to specialized dealerships.
Amen, it went from an every guy hobby to a business and priced the hobbyist out of the market.
 
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It seems to me the younger people are not nearly as interested in the classics. Nor are they as interested in pulling wrenches.
Maybe this is due to modern cars needing such little attention as compared to the 60's and older cars.
Heck, no more 12K tune ups, carb issues, bias ply tires and drum brakes!
GM automatic transmissions used to be done at 60K. Cars were in trouble at 100K. Sheesh.

While I lusted over GTOs, Vettes, etc, it seems nowadays people might smile when they go by but no one wants to own one.
 
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