Not only is the hobby transitioning to new generations, both to Generation X and millennials, it is also witnessing the evolution to electric vehicles (EVs).
Vintage car collecting, a favored pastime of baby boomers, has been undergoing a revolution or two over the past number of years. Not only is the hobby transitioning to new generations, both to Generation X and millennials, it is also witnessing the evolution to electric vehicles (EVs).
With demographic changes “we are seeing 63% of policy quotes from Gen X and younger enthusiasts, people born after 1964, and that is up from less than 50% five years ago," says Bryant Kolle, regional vice president, Hagerty. “The market demographics are shifting to younger buyers, which presents a nice opportunity for agents to appeal to a newer demographic for new business."
When appealing to younger demographics, agents in this specialized market should identify different generations and their interests in different car models. "Look back 30-40 years and see what new cars were cool back then," says Rick Drewry, senior training specialist, claims, collector vehicle and motorcycle, American Modern. “The 50-year-old who now has some disposable income is likely going to try to find the car they loved decades ago. That is why we have seen the rise in values of '80s and '90s cars like the IROC-Z Camaro, the Fox Body 5.0 Mustang and the Monte Carlo SS. Customs and restomods are also taking over."
“On the higher end of the market, we are seeing the establishment of analog super cars," Kolle says. “Think of Ferrari F40, Porsche Carrera GT and others—many are wanting a modern car but with the thrill of an earlier era."
“We're also seeing a big uptick in interest of early 2000s cars among modern collectors—two-seat roadsters such as the Mazda Miata, Mercedes SL models, and the Porsche Boxster are very popular because they are easy to drive with modern options," says Tim Dadik, national classics leader and western agency experience manager, Berkley One, a Berkley Company. “Values remain high compared to pre-COVID-19 but generally remain affordable for an entry level collector."
It is this affordability that allows the classic car environment to continue to remain a family-friendly passion where relationships are an important aspect of the specialty.
Agents, for their part, can “be the expert, get involved in the hobby, attend a car show, volunteer or sponsor an event and get to know the classic and collector car community," Dadik says. “They are a tight knit group of people who share stories and experiences. Staying current on the market will also help agents understand values."
Additionally, agents can help classic car enthusiasts navigate the current hard market and the challenges it presents for classic car insurance.
The marketplace is evolving in many ways to meet changing demographics. While older generations may reminisce about old car shows, millennials are reshaping the market through their use of online market sales and purchases.
“The market for online sales has grown exponentially, fueled in part by the COVID-19-induced closure of many live auctions and the business necessity to move them online," Dadik says. “There are many more buyers online and they buyer and seller fees can be significantly lower too."
There is also growing excitement around the advent of EVs in the classic car market. EV conversion shops are nothing new and companies such as Green Shed Conversions in Florida, OZ Motors in Japan and Lunaz in the U.K. have all been converting classic cars for several years now. There is growing excitement around this niche industry, according to CNN.
“Like it or not, a lot of performance vehicles are going electric as they are faster than traditional V8 muscle cars," Kolle says. “I am not predicting everything to be electric in the next 5-10 years, but there are a lot of performance vehicles that are going to be electric over the next few years simply due to the performance of EVs and how fast they are in comparison."
Traditions of the past are often abandoned by later generations, but the hobby of investing in classic cars will avoid this fate through younger generations and the assistance of independent agents. “It's important to keep today's youth involved and enthusiastic about the classic car hobby," Dadik says. “They are the future of the hobby."
Olivia Overman is IA content editor.