The 10 hottest collector cars of the summer

As the weather turns warmer and the sun starts to shine, car guys get fidgety. When we see our first classic car on the road, our thoughts turn to the collector cars we’d like in our own garages. And then the summer buying season begins.

Hagerty, as the leading insurance provider of classic cars, studies the collector car market. Just as summer begins, Hagerty has published its list of the 10 hottest collector cars of the summer. The list is based on value trends, quote activity, private sales, and other factors.

Cars of the 1980s and 1990s have gained traction in recent years and that continues this year. “The major trend continues to be the clear emergence of modern classics from the 1980s and newer with new interest from younger buyers,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty.

Hagerty ranks its top ten based price appreciation and demand in the marketplace over the past 12 month. Here we present Hagerty’s list,.

10) 1968-1976 BMW 2002

The BMW 2002 is credited as the first sport sedan. The predecessor to the 3-Series, the 2002 evolved from the 1600, replacing an 84-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder with a 2.0-liter four making 100 horses. The bigger engine in the small package gave the car decent power for the era. A tii model was added for 1972, boasting a fuel-injected version of the 2.0 that pushed output to 130 horsepower. Values of the 2002 have risen 18 percent in the Hagerty Price Guide over the last eight months. The tii is the most desired model. Hagerty says a 1974 2002 tii starts at $26,800 on the collector market.

9) 1970-’74 Dodge Challenger

With the introduction of the Challenger for 1970, Dodge got its first pony car. Small block offerings were meant for Trans-Am racing duty, but big-block variants were more in the muscle car mold. The R/T model came standard with a 335-horsepower 383-cubic inch V-8, but buyers could also get the 390-horse 440 Six Pack and the 425-horse 426 Hemi. Unfortunately, the Hemi disappeared after 1971 and by 1974 the highest output was 275 horsepower for the 440. Nonetheless, beautiful design and bright colors from Dodge’s High Impact palette made the Challenger an eye catcher throughout its run. Hagerty says Mopar muscle car values dropped during the recession, but they have recovered over the past year, with the number of cars offered up 17 percent and the average sale price up 41 percent. Today, collectors can expect to pay $36,200 for a 1970 Challenger.

8) 1994-’99 Ferrari F355

The F355 replaced the 348 in 1994 and helped save a struggling Ferrari. Initially offered as a Berlinetta coupe or an open-top targa, a convertible Spyder made its debut the next year. Some 1,800 hours of wind tunnel testing influenced the slippery shape. With a 375-horsepower 3.5-liter V-8 behind the driver, the F355 proved that all great Ferrari’s didn’t have to have a V-12. Zero to 60 mph took 4.9 seconds and the car could reach a top speed of 183 mph. According to Hagerty, F355 price gains have lagged other Ferrari models over the past five years, making them relative bargains. However, over the last 12 months, pricing in the Hagerty Price Guide has increased 39 percent. Hagerty quotes today’s price for a 1997 F355 at $68,900.

7) 1966-’77 Ford Bronco

With vehicles like the Jeep CJ-5 and International Harvester Scout attracting buyers that today’s automakers would call “active lifestyle” types, Ford introduced its own adventure buggy in 1966, the Bronco. It rode a short 92-inch wheelbase (the current Wrangler has a 95.4-inch wheelbase), and featured its own dedicated architecture, though both axles came from the F-100 pickup. Wagon, half-cab, and roadster body styles were offered. The initial engines were a 170-cubic-inch straight-6 and a 289-ci V-8, and those eventually gave way to a 200-ci straight-6 and a 302-ci V-8. Hagerty says the reliability and ready parts availability of the Bronco makes it a great first-time collector vehicle, and buyers are responding as the private market is heating up. According to Hagerty, the point of entry for a 1966 Bronco is $24,800.

6) 1997-2002 Plymouth/Chrysler Prowler

Chrysler Corporation went out on a limb to build a couple of unique specialty cars in the 1990s under the direction of noted product man Bob Lutz. First was the Dodge Viper and then came the Plymouth (and later Chrysler) Prowler. With the look of a modern hot rod, it certainly drew attention, but it was far from practical. A 3.5-liter V-6 put out a respectable 253 horsepower, but purists felt it should have had a V-8. Hagerty says the Prowler has been one of the hottest cars at auction over the last 12 months, with a 9-percent increase in the number offered, a 6-percent increase in average sale price, and a strong sell-through rate of 72 percent. A 2000 Prowler cost about $45,000 new, and today they typically fetch about $32,000.

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