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Buying trends at car auctions this Fall

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Buying trends at car auctions this Fall


Lot 248 2021 Honda Civic R Type Limited Edition

For people who love classic and collectable cars, there is nothing better than a live, in-person auction. Like a car show, the November auction in Palm Springs, California will showcase hundreds of cars, trucks, motorcycles and maybe a few boats and motorhomes. They range in age from antique to almost new, and prices from less than $2,000 to more than $200,000.

Keith McCormick has been producing the Palm Springs auctions twice a year for the past 37 years and is approaching his 75th event on the predictable sunny and mild weekend of Nov. 17 19, 2023. There is no telling what may pass through the auction tent. “We have sold cars from Marilyn Monroe’s limousine to Fords ranging from the Model A to high end Mustangs and Shelby Cobras,” he said.

Auctions are changing. A recent trend: people in their 50’s—the Gen X crowd— are investing in collectable cars much the way their parents did, “only buying cars from their generation,” McCormick said. They are driving up the value of cars in the 1970-90 era, the years they were in high school. “The 1979 VW Rabbit GTI, which was $6 to $8 thousand when new, is getting $35,000 or more at auctions,” McCormick said.

At the same time, many older cars from the 1920’s to the 1950’s are dropping in value. “Even the classic Duesenberg, which used to be worth crazy money, is seeing less demand from the older Baby Boomer generation.

 Both the older and young generations “mingle together at the auctions these days,” McCormick noted,” each with their eyes on different cars.”

McCormick noted other trends: “The Mercedes from 1975 to ‘85, the SL series 450 to 560-- a good and reliable car easy to maintain--continues to creep up in value and are a solid investment. So is the early Corvette from 1950 to 1969.  Corvette ‘56 to ‘69 took a dive for a few years and now they are making a comeback.”

Photo: Featured cars at the November auction includes a 2021 Honda Civic Type R (Racing), one of only 600 built for the United States market (Lot #248).

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