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Classic Car Value Guide

Many people have a mind to get into the exciting world of classic cars, and perhaps make a killer investment that pays off years down the line. Alternatively, some may want to keep a classic car as a kind of legacy to hand down to their children, to keep and enjoy in the good times, but also have as an option to sell if things go awry. 

Whatever one’s exact reasons for purchasing and keeping a classic car, the question of the car’s real value is one that persists. Before we begin, one of the best ways to find the value for your car would be to visit our sold inventory page and search for vehicles that are similar. We’ve sold over 11,000 vehicles since we’ve opened our doors so you should be able to find something similar to what you have! It also may help to view our classic cars for sale page. 

One thing to keep in mind before reading this article is that everything can change over time. The information in this blog is accurate as of the time we are writing it, but do not take our word as law. Do your own research and become educated before officially determining the value of your vehicle!

Value Can be Subjective

First of all, let’s deal with the fact that when it comes to classic cars, their more important value can be totally subjective. Many classic cars are priceless in people’s hearts and minds because the car has some kind of sentimental value to them. Others may feel the car is valuable because it reflects a time period or cultural movement that meant a great deal to them and other people they know. Some vehicles may be on an individual's personal top classic cars of all time list, increasing the value for them and others. 

In today’s blog, we want to keep our focus on the more subjective factors that dictate classic car value, and we’ll address these in turn in the next section below. Working with a consignment based dealer to assist you as you try to sell a classic car can help you determine the value as well.

Factors that Positively Impact Classic Car Value

The following are arguably the most important factors that dictate a classic car’s value, but they are by no means all of the possible factors.

Supply and Demand

Put simply, vehicles that are in demand are worth more, and if the supply is limited, then it drives up the price even more. That’s not surprising, since it’s a basic law of economics, but what’s interesting is the unpredictable nature of what makes classic cars suddenly become in demand. 

It could be the appearance of a car in a movie that becomes a cult classic, or that it’s given a high profile because one is owned by a very popular celebrity or public figure, for instance. Historical interest also comes into play if it’s a car favored by someone like a former world leader or other notable figure. An example of this is the Bronco, a highly sought after vehicle that has had consistently high demand for some time now. There are a myriad of reasons that can guide demand, and not all are guided by things you think of as being obvious such as prestige of the brand.

Make and Model

Brand prestige and model name does carry a lot of weight. A name like Ford Mustang or Chevy Corvette will carry more weight than a Toyota Camry or Subaru WRX. There’s history and love behind those names; nostalgia and international power that make them as recognizable on the streets of Shanghai as they are in Detroit or New York.

Condition and Originality

Condition is perhaps the greatest key to value, which you might expect. A burnt-out wreck doesn’t compare to a mint-condition car, but that condition also needs to be paired with originality. In other words, it has to have as much of its original styling and as many of its original features as possible. 

Classic cars that have been heavily modified, and even those that retain many external features but change all the internal and mechanical features, will invariably be worth less than a fully original car. It’s important to note that this isn’t always the case. A certain buyer may be looking for a uniquely custom car, increasing the value of your vehicle in their eyes. However, more often than not, an original vehicle is in higher demand. 


Here, the standard rule applies, which is that the lower the mileage, the better the value you can expect the car to have. A classic car with no mileage is no good because not being run on the road at all is almost as much of a problem as having too much mileage when you factor in all those years. Classic cars that were only used once in a blue moon to keep them running smoothly but to minimize wear and tear are the best balance of used and low-mileage. It can be difficult to determine the value based on mileage, because with older vehicles the mileage shown may not always be accurate. This is the reason that working with a highly trusted dealer like GR Auto Gallery is extremely important.


Another big factor is whether or not the car was made as a limited edition. Many brands have limited production runs of perhaps 1,000-2,000 models on special versions of their popular models. A classic Mustang from the 1960s can be very valuable, but a Mustang from the 1980s that was part of a run of only 1,000 units is even more valuable. This also connects very clearly with the point above on supply and demand.

Online Resources for Determining a Car’s Value

For those looking for further help online in getting a good and accurate valuation on their special-interest vehicle the following online resources should help:

Hagerty Valuation Tools

If you are serious about classic cars, then a membership to a site like Hagerty gives you access to their comprehensive valuation tools, which shares current and historic values of specific car models from many different years. You can also identify specific cars using the VIN decoder.

Current and Historical Pricing

If you want to do the research legwork yourself, one of the best things to do is look at similar models, what they are going for and what they have sold for in the past. Looking at various auction sites may give you an answer to the popular question: should I sell at a classic car auction? Platforms like classic.com and conceptcarz.com will offer historical auction sale prices, and other sites like Hemmings, AutoTrader and ClassicCars.com list current classifieds for private individuals selling on their classic cars. Once again, spending some time viewing our sold inventory will be helpful as well. 

If you’re looking to sell your vehicle, contact us today and ask about our consignment program! We’ve sold over 11,000 cars in the past decade and can help you determine the proper value for your classic car. Thank you for reading! Visit our automotive blog page for more content like this.