2021 Classic Car Auction Prices

December, 2021

Classic Car Auction News

Classic car sales increased again this year, with various auction houses reporting sell-through rates (percentage of cars sold at an event) in the 80s and some as high as 90%.   This surge in sales was somewhat attributed to a significant number of vehicles being offered at no-reserve, which, in itself, reflects the high confidence of sellers that prices are good or better than in past years.  To see how 2021 prices compared to last year, we evaluated the purchase prices of a selected number of classics, which we’ve summarized in the table at the end of this article.  But first, let’s take a look at some of the Star Cars of 2021 that made the headlines with their multi-million dollar price tags.

 

1967 Corvette L88 

With only 20 of these legendary race-ready L88 Corvettes built in ’67, it’s always a big deal when one sells.  This year a Tuxedo Black convertible was sold at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction.  This is one of the most valuable Corvettes in existence, not only because of its colorful race history but because it was the very first L88 built.

Sold for: $2,500,000

1965 Shelby Cobra 427

One of the crown jewels of Carroll Shelby’s personal collection, this 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra was owned by Carroll Shelby until his passing.  This Snake sold at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction.

Sold for: $5,940,000

1965 Shelby Cobra (Carroll Shelby's Personal 427 Cobra)

1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake

This Cobra Super Snake is the only surviving example of the two built with twin Paxton superchargers.  This “all-in” Cobra was the pinnacle of Carroll Shelby’s quest for horsepower in this iconic roadster.   The Super Snake sold at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction.

Sold for: $5,500,000

1966 Shelby Cobra 427 'super Snake'

1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato

Only 19 GT Zagato models were built, making them exceptionally rare.  However, this special performance version of Aston Martin DB4 was ordered new with numerous unique features requested by the original owner.   As a result, it is arguably one of the most collectible of its kind.  It sold at RM Sotheby’s Monterey auction.

Sold for: $9,520,000

1962 Aston Martin Db4gt

1959 Ferrari GT250 LWB California Spider Competizione

Any time one of these Italia Prancing Horses comes to market, you can expect seven-figure bidding.  This particular colorful roadster from the dominating racing years of Ferrari didn’t disappoint.  Its sale at Gooding & Co. Monterey captured the second-highest auction price in 2021.

Sold for: $10,840,000

1959 Ferrari

1995 Mclaren F1

This rare McLaren (1 of 64) is a virtual time capsule.   Essentially new with less than 250 miles, this state-of-the-art supercar remains one of the all-time great high-performance vehicles that could be driven on the road.  In 2021, it set a new record price for a McLaren at Gooding & Co. Monterey and proved to be the highest-priced car sold at auction during the year.

Sold for: $20,465,000

1995 Mclaren F1

2021 Market Pricing for Classic Cars

Torino

It’s interesting to follow the astronomical prices on Cobras, Ferraris, and McLarens, but these rare machines don’t necessarily represent the overall classic car market.  To better evaluate the 2121 market, we looked at a sampling of 26 domestic classics, comparing their auction prices for 2020 and 2021.  All vehicles are blue-chip collectibles with similar options, and they have been restored to high levels of originality.  For example, one of the classics used in the study is the 1969 Camaro Z28.  However, if the Z28 has a special asset, such as cross ram, or if it has celebrity notoriety, then it was eliminated from this comparison report.  Also, recognizing that many additional factors affect the sale price of any specific vehicle, at least four auction prices were used to calculate an average price for each model.

As shown in the below table, our Price Comparison Report shows that classic car prices in 2021 trended as much as 29% higher when compared to 2020.  Although our review doesn’t cover all classic cars, based on our personal observations at auctions, as well as the strong sell-through rates in 2021, we think this analysis is representative of the market in 2021.  In case you are wondering if the upward trend in 2021 was because of a pullback in 2020 prices, we performed a separate evaluation that showed prices actually rose between 2019 and 2020.

26 Vehicles in Price Comparison Report

 

VehicleAveragePrice Increase
 in 2020in 2021in 2021
Fords   
1955 Ford F100$ 23,080$ 32,53829%
1955 Thunderbird$ 23,970$ 33,85029%
1957 Ford Thunderbird (D-Code)$ 59,280$ 59,5831%
1966 Shelby GT350$198,900$204,7603%
1969 Mach 1 428 CJ (R CODE)$ 74,400$ 97,65024%
1970 Boss 302 Mustang$ 77,880$ 87,45011%
1970 Boss 429$234,850$327,70028%
2005 Ford GT$327,600$365,20010%
    
Chevrolets   
1955 Bel Air 2-Door$ 46,920$ 51,3339%
1957 Bel Air Convertible$ 76,010$ 76,2670%
1958 Impala Hardtop$ 50,025$ 53,1366%
1963 Corvette Convertible$ 62,920$ 68,2008%
1969 Camaro Z/28$ 74,750$ 86,35013%
1970 Chevelle LS6 454 Coupe$109,420$140,20022%
    
Mopars   
1969 Dodge Charger 440 R/T$ 67,375$ 75,90011%
1970 Dodge Super Bee 440$ 58,280$ 58,4750%
1970 Plymouth Cuda AAR$ 92,040$ 95,3253%
1970 Plymouth Superbird 440$164,533$178,3758%
1970 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Coupe$ 54,450$ 71,85024%
1999 Plymouth Prowler$ 27,620$ 38,50028%
    
Pontiacs   
1965 Pontiac GTO (389 Tri-Power)$ 54,950$ 65,81617%
1970 Pontiac GOT Judge 400$ 68,800$ 77,33011%
1977 Pontiac Bandit Trans Am$ 53,763$ 58,1508%
    
Buicks   
1970 Buick GSX$110,000$111,1001%
1987 Buick Grand National$ 29,408$ 38,86724%
    
Oldsmobiles   
1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30 Coupe$104,170$110,0005%

 

Notes:

  • For each of the vehicle models evaluated, an attempt was made to locate at least four auction sale prices in 2020 and 2021.   The average Price, noted above, is the average of the auction prices.
  • Model pricing was obtained from sales at the following auction houses: Mecum, Barrett-Jackson, GAA Classic Cars, Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s, Goodings & Co., and Raleigh Classic.
  • All prices include a buyer’s commission, which ranges from 8% to 10% above the hammer price.
  • Customized vehicles and Restomods weren’t included in this evaluation because of the extensive variations in equipment modifications, and therefore the perceived value.

Photos of Vehicles in Price Comparison Report