Collector Car Values and the Stock Market: Perspectives on the Street

The stock market is strong, but is that good or bad for collector car values?

The private sale in 2018 of a Ferrari 250 GTO to David MacNeil, a car-accessories titan, fetched between $70 million and $80 million (reports vary). Any price in that range pegged the GTO — one of only 39 built between 1963 and 1965 — as the world’s most expensive car. It has classic-car enthusiasts wondering just where the collectible car market is headed.

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average at just over 26,400 recently after plunging to 6,443 in March 2009 — and the latest tax cuts helping upper-income individuals — conventional wisdom suggests we’ll see more eight-figure deals. But not necessarily. Cars, like stocks, are an asset, and sometimes the two compete for capital as investors seek to maximize returns.

“I’ve found that there’s an inverse relationship between the stock market and the value of collector cars,” said Mark Hyman, owner of Hyman Ltd., a classic car dealership in St. Louis. “And there’s two reasons. One is that when the stock market is performing really, really well, there tends to be a flow of capital toward the stock market because people want to invest in the stock market. When the stock market tends to be flatter or not performing, people tend to look for alternative investments, and that means collectibles.”

“The other part of that is, there’s certain people who really don’t care,” Hyman said. “There’s a lot of us who love cars, and regardless of the value of them, that’s where our love is, and that’s where we put our money.”