Q1 Market Report

So far this year, 12% more classic and exotic cars have sold at auction compared to 2023. Even with all this activity, the total Dollar Volume of these sales has stayed steady, suggesting a dip in the Average Price. But don’t worry, the market is full of surprises, with certain segments still showing growth. Let’s dig into the data.

Sold Listings are increasing

In Q1 2024, the number of cars sold at online auctions surpassed 10,000 for the first time – marking a record-breaking quarter. While live auctions also experienced a surge in sales, it is the exponential growth of online auctions that dominates the past 5 years. Since 2020, total sold listings have increased by 114%, but online auction sales have soared by an impressive 349% during this period and continue to grow month-over-month. Although the initial surge was triggered by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in late Q1’2020, it’s evident that online auctions are now firmly established and have permanently altered the market landscape.

Q1 Sold ListingsTotalOnlineLive

Dollar Volume is steady

When it comes to values, the market is still stabilizing from the boom in 2021-2022, and both online and live auctions appear to be securing their share of the market. In terms of Dollar Volume, online auctions peaked in Q1 2022 but have since faced challenges in maintaining that level, despite steady increases in sold listings and seven-figure sales. Conversely, live auctions achieved their highest dollar volume in Q1 2023, despite selling fewer cars compared to this year.

Q1 Dollar VolumeTotalOnlineLive

Top Sales

When it comes to top sales, live auctions maintain their dominance – claiming all of the Top 10 spots so far this year.

The Top online auction sale so far this year was a 2022 Lamborghini Essenza SCV12 that sold at Collecting Cars in February. That sale comes in at #52 on the list of all sales so far this year, very closely followed by Bring a Trailer's top sale so far this year: a 1988 Porsche 959 Komfort that came in at #53.

As we said in our 2023 Recap, we expect to see an online sale hit the $4M mark this year, and we've still got plenty of time for that to happen, so we'll be keeping our eyes out for lots of activity from the online auctions on this front.

#52 Overall

#53 Overall

#61 Overall

Leveraging our CLASSIC.COM Market Benchmark*, we analyzed over 6,000 individual markets** to find the top Growing and Slowing Markets across three distinct value tiers: over $500K, between $100K-500K, and under $100K.

Note: CMB is an indicator of how recent market activity has impacted typical market values. It does not guarantee individual vehicle appreciation.

Over $500K

The Delahaye 135MS tops the "Over $500K" list with a 125% CMB increase following two significant sales in Amelia Island. The Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport follows with a 73% CMB rise from noteworthy sales in Miami and online. Other notable performers include classic and coveted models like the Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona, Porsche 918 Spyder, and Bentley 4 ½ Liter.

View the full list of Trending Markets over $500K >

Between $100K-500K

Leading the middle of the pack was the 1997-2001 Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG (R129) with a 166% value increase from two sales out of the 85 ever produced. The 3rd-Gen Pontiac Star Chief followed with a 132% surge, largely due to the popularity of custom restorations. The Buick Riviera Gran Sport also stood out with a 32% increase from three sales. Additionally, two Porsche models showed significant growth: the 911 GT2 Clubsport (996.2) and the 911 Carrera RS N/GT (964).

View the full list of Trending Markets between $100K-500K >

Under $100K

The Opel Manta's value skyrocketed by 176% after the sale of pristine example by Iconic Auctioneers in the UK. The 1st-Gen Volvo V70 R and Nissan Stagea also stood out with 128% and 96% growth, respectively. In the ever-popular pickup category, the Isuzu Faster and Volkswagen Caddy witnessed 88% and 57% increases.

View the full list of Trending Markets under $100K >

What's Next in 2024?

By no means do we have a crystal ball, but what we do know is:

  1. Online auctions are here to stay, and they are changing the landscape of the classic and exotic car world. We expect to see an online sale break $4M in 2024.
  2. Live auctions are moving beyond the traditional major events. It's not all about Scottsdale, Amelia, and Monterey anymore – at least not in the way that it was before the Pandemic. Major collections are being sold throughout the year, and with the convenience of online bidding at live auctions, the lines are blurring between online and live every day.
  3. New classics and affordable enthusiast vehicles will continue a growth trend. As Gen X and Millennials continue to generate disposable income and look for alternate investment strategies – and overall joy of owning the cars of their youth – this trend will continue to grow, especially through online channels.
  4. It's more complicated than ever to buy and/or sell a classic, exotic, or collector car. Should you sell it at auction or dealer? If an auction, which kind – online or offline? And which venue? If you decide to sell through a dealer, how do you know if they are trustworthy and that you are getting a fair price? While we don't have all the answers (yet), you can start by Following the Market for the cars you are interested in on our website, and tracking comps for your favorite cars in your Garage. And when you are ready, you can sell your classic or exotic car with CLASSIC.COM.

*The CLASSIC.COM Market Benchmark (CMB) is a benchmark value for vehicles in a given Market based on data accumulated by CLASSIC.COM and calculated by a proprietary algorithm that takes into account volume and recency of each data point. CMB can be used to assess the performance of a market over a given time period. However, it does not represent the value of a specific vehicle. 

** A Market on CLASSIC.COM is a grouping of comparable vehicles that have, at a minimum, the same Make, Model, and Model Generation. When relevant for purposes of valuation, a Market may be further segmented by Model Variant, Trim, Transmission Type, Body Style, and other factors. 

Read more in our Glossary of Terms