While stock and bond indices are harbingers of the relative health or weakness of their respective investment vehicles, classic car insurer Hagerty in Traverse City, Mich. recently launched an index of its own that goes far beyond mere regurgitation of recent sales data to gauge the status of the collectible car market.
The appropriately named Hagerty Market Rating assigns a numerical value (from one to 100) to gauge how well or poorly the vintage vehicle market is faring based upon a weighted algorithm applied to fifteen data points in eight categories. Sources include difficult-to-obtain private-owner-to-private-owner sales, as well as public auction activity, insured values, price guide values and Hagerty's own indexes and expert opinions.
Like a well-shaken Magic 8-Ball, Hagerty's index for March comes up a resounding, "Signs point to yes," for those seeking consul on whether to add an automotive investment to their portfolios. It registered an enthusiastic 70.61 rating for February, which is up from 70.38 in January and is a five-year high.
Concurrently, the firm's panel of auto experts announced its annual "Hagerty Hot List" of new models currently available that stand the best chance of appreciating over the next quarter-century as coveted collectibles. We're featuring them in the accompanying slide show and in the list below with our own commentary.
To make the list, cars must be available as 2015 vehicles and feature a suggested manufacturer's retail price (MSRP) of $100,000 or less. Extra attention was placed on newly released models that had not appeared on previous years Hot Lists.
As one might imagine, the top 10 is well populated by hot-blooded performance cars, but the best part is they range in price from a mere $25,000 to a still reasonable $79,000. Represented are a selection of seductive European sports cars, neo-classic American muscle cars and limited-production revved-up renditions of what are otherwise ordinary modes of transportation.
Here's the Hagerty Hot List of future collectible cars for 2015:
1. Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition ($69,865). Alfa Romeo returned to the U.S. market for 2015 with this low-slung sports car. In an era where 500- and 600-horsepower sports cars rule the road, its 1.7-liter horsepower turbocharged engine might seem lacking, but extensive use of carbon fiber, aluminum and composite materials keep the 4C's curb weight to a minimum, and enables a quick 4.1-second 0-60 mph launch time. While not as brash as some of the American iron on this list, the 4C is arguably the most beautiful Italian to reach our shores since Sophia Loren.
2. BMW M4 Convertible ($73,450). The high-performance compact M line no longer comes powered by a V8, but rather it exacts maximum thrust from a high-tech twin-turbo inline-six engine and is none the worse for it. Imbued with myriad steering, suspension and braking upgrades over the already enjoyable 4 Series, the M4 Convertible can go fast, hold the road tenaciously and look good doing it.
3. Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 ($75,000). This racetrack-capable version of Chevy's venerable Camaro features curve-gripping handling and packs the 7.0-liter 505-horsepower small-block V8 from the previous-generation Corvette. It's a lot of car to handle, but it's also a lot of performance for the money and is built in small enough numbers to ensure exclusivity.
4. Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ($78,995). With the base ?Vette already delivering ample bang for the buck, the hopped-up Z06 coupe and convertible up the ante with a 650 horsepower supercharged small-block V8 and myriad performance oriented upgrades. The most capable Corvette ever, the Z06 delivers faster lap times than 2014 Corvette ZR1 when fitted with the track-minded Z07 option package.
5. Dodge Challenger Hellcat ($58,295). The Challenger Hellcat takes the classic American muscle car formula to the extreme with its outrageous 707-horsepower supercharged V8 engine. Those wanting the same insane levels of performance in a sedan can instead choose the Hellcat edition of the Dodge Charger. Either way, the crazed cats should be coveted for years to come, provided one can avoid paying a profit-killing major markup over MSRP some dealers are commanding to obtain one.
6. Ford Mustang GT Performance Package ($37,125). A 2015 redesign celebrates the original "pony car's" 50th anniversary and imbues the coupe and convertible with a lower, wider and sleeker look with an infusion of modern vehicular technology. Hagerty says adding the Performance Package to the rip-roaring V8-infused GT makes it a true driver's car, and could prove to be more collectible (certainly more enjoyable to pilot) than the limited-production 50th Anniversary Edition.
7. Mazda MX-5 Miata 25th Anniversary Edition ($33,000). Sure, the Miata is undergoing a long-awaited redesign for 2016, but in the meantime, with only 100 models making it to North America, this version celebrating the current generation's swan song is sure to be coveted by future collectors.
8. Mini John Cooper Works Hardtop ($24,950). The most affordable model on Hagerty's Hot List is also the most powerful MINI ever produced, with a 228-horsepower four-cylinder engine that enables a brisk 5.9-second 0-60 mph time. It's also appropriately quirky looking and can out-maneuver many far costlier cars.
9. Subaru WRX STI Launch Edition ($38,190). The latest iteration of this "fast and furious" rally-ready alternative to the all-wheel-drive Impreza is quick and nimble, but otherwise retains its innate sedan sensibility; choose a limited release Launch Edition version for maximum collectability.
10. Volkswagen Golf R ($36,595). With the redesigned Golf hatchback already revered as one of 2015's best new cars, its limited-production R version packs a potent punch with a 292-horsepower turbo-four under the hood (0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds) and holds the road via VW's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system and assorted upgrades. Hagerty says the Golf R is, "the Golf that GTI fan boys and girls have been begging VW to build," and is, "bound to excite collectors now and in the future."