Gen X Cars Leading the Way?
Bring a Trailer‘s been a winning streak lately – though, honestly they usually get strong money for cars listed on their site – and two in particular jumped out at us as signs that the collector car market is being influenced even more by younger enthusiasts.
On June 2 a 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary sold for $738,000 following 45 bids that followed some server issues that actually extended the sale in the interest of fairness to both the bidders and the seller. What jumps out at us is that this appears to have been purchased by a dealer who is based out of Florida – Gulf Coast Motorworks. Why is that worth noting? To quote the seller of the Countach, “You know when a dealer is bidding on the car there’s still money left on the table.”
Clearly this is a car that has significant appeal to younger enthusiasts, the ones who grew up with posters of it on their bedroom wall. It’s not the most expensive Countach we’ve ever seen, but it’s decently in the upper range of what could be expected – to us, that means there’s a lot of confidence in the people who were bidding on it that the prices are going to continue going up. Which won’t surprise us, considering it wasn’t that long ago that it would have been a struggle to get more than $500,000 for this same car.
1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II Too?
A few days later, on June 6, a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II sold for $425,000. At first glance it’s almost a shocking amount of money for that car. In some ways, it is, but then we have to consider the fact that it’s not what most people would picture when they think of a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E – the key here is the Evolution II package.
The 190E 2.6-16 Evolution II was built to homologate the car for use in DTM racing. Only 502 examples were built and we imagine quite a few of those were driven very hard from the day they left the dealerships. Frankly, we can’t really blame anyone who was fortunate enough to buy one of these when they were new if they couldn’t resist pushing the car to its limits!
This is another example of a car that most likely appeals more to the younger enthusiast than the collectors who’ve lusted for muscle cars all their lives. Younger enthusiasts seem to have the money to drive prices well above what would be expected and we’re witnessing one of two things firsthand – either these prices will continue to rise, or at least stabilize in this range, or some collectors are getting a bit ahead of themselves and not paying any mind to how much they may make, or lose, on their new toys.
Back to the price for this 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II – the median price for one of these is $263,500. Granted, most examples of this model won’t have the low mileage of the ones sold on Bring a Trailer this year, but with the most recent sale at $425,000 and one from February 2022 that sold for $432,432, we’ve witnessed some serious money changing hands for two of the 502 examples that were built.
Our opinion is that the market will calm down on these but the question is by how much? Certainly we’re going to be seeing the median value going up, but don’t expect to see a lot of these suddenly on the market for nearly half a million dollars. But maybe that Gen X money is really starting to hit the collector car market. We’ve just looked at two cars that sold well above what one would expect, so a year from now we might think that both of these were steals!