Classic cars are an American pastime. Whether cruising, showing, restoring or racing, the classic car hobby is a multi-billion dollar a year industry. Like many other areas, the Baby Boomer generation is driving up demand, and therefore, costs. While some see this as a hobby purely for fun, others see classic cars as an investment. Whatever route you travel, here are some of the most sought-after cars on the road.
When was the last time you saw an Olds on the list of anything desirable? Probably the last time the Oldsmobile 442 muscle car rolled off the assembly line. It was built on the same chassis as the Chevy Chevelle and Pontiac GTO, but is more of an unknown, and usually cheaper. Still, it could offer up to a massive 455 cubic inch V8 delivering 380 horsepower. A mean-looking ram air hood and distinctive grille finished the package. 442s are relatively affordable, selling for up to $100,000.
The GTO is the car that created the muscle car. Back in the day, only full-size cars had full-size engines. Meaning, if you wanted horsepower, you had to saddle it with a massive 5,000 pound ride. Pontiac snuck around the rule book, and made the GTO an option in 1964, stuffing a big car’s engine into a mid-size body. The results were immediately noticed, as the “Goat” could do zero to sixty in around six seconds. Not bad for a car that was marketed like Scions are today. If you want to go faster, look for ones with “The Judge” on the fender. The extra power will cost you though, as a 1969 GTO Judge is worth about a quarter million.
Today, it’s a mediocre rock band, but 40+ years ago, the name Chevelle really meant something special. The Chevy muscle car had killer looks, a solid choice of powerful engines, a nice interior, and an affordable starting price. All of these are reasons the 1970 Chevelle Super Sport is arguably the pinnacle of the muscle car movement. Well, that and the 450 horsepower V8. If you go shopping, watch for “clones.” Many unscrupulous builders are looking to cash in on the $300,000 estimated value of an SS by selling you a fake.
No, not the Mustang. This is the little British car with a massive Ford 427 V8 under the hood. Cobras were the definition of cool back then, and still are today. While there were few of the street legal cars sold back in the day, replicas are the opposite: cheap and plentiful. A replica Cobra can be bought for $20,000, but an original will set you back at least a half mil, and much more if it has history. Mr Shelby even modified a racing Cobra with twin superchargers and gave it to comedian Bill Cosby. Bill thought it was too much for him, and gave it back. Bad move, as that car is well over a million dollars today.
One of the kings of the Barrett-Jackson auto auctions is without a doubt the Hemi ‘Cuda. The Mopar alternative to the Mustang and Camaro never sold as well as its competitors, but that might be some of the draw. Nash Bridges might have refired an interest in the pony car in the late 1990s, as the TV cop drove one in the series. Good luck getting your hands on an original though, as a Hemi ‘Cuda sold at Barrett-Jackson for $2 million just a few years ago.