These Are the Classic Cars Millennials Can’t Get Enough Of
When it comes to the collector car market in America, few know it better than Hagerty. The classic car insurance powerhouse keeps tabs on auction and private sales, as well as insurance valuations, to note real-time value of collector cars. Recently, it began following the buying habits of the newest generation of collectors. Needless to say, the results are interesting.
Hagerty rates the market on a scale of zero to 100, with 50 being average. Among Generation X and millennials, each of the following classics scores between 89 and 96, meaning every one of them (some old and some not so old) are some of the hottest collectibles on the market right now.
So what does the under-45 set want? Trucks, and lots of ’em. Don’t look for your parents’ classics here — corvettes, muscle cars, British roadsters, ’32 Fords. Maybe it’s the effect of growing up during the first big SUV boom of the 1990s, but for younger collectors rugged workhorses and ’90s cars are about as hot as it gets.
From Japanese grand tourers to old pickups, here are the 15 collector cars millennials and Gen Xers can’t get enough of.
1. 1973-1987 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup
In the ’70s and ’80s, Chevy’s slab-sided pickups were everywhere. And ever since, their dead-simple mechanics and dirt-cheap parts supply have kept a good amount of them on the roads. But now the kids who grew up with them are looking at them as collectibles. Among Gen Xers and millennials, C/Ks have become the most popular classic vehicle, according to Hagerty.
2. 1945-1968 Dodge Power Wagon
Right behind the Chevy trucks is the comparatively archaic Dodge Power Wagon. With its roots in World War II military trucks, the Power Wagon’s minimal ’30s-era looks and reputation for iron-clad reliability have made it one of the most sought-after classic pickup trucks. The oldest vehicle on the list is incredibly popular with collectors who were born long after the last Power Wagon rolled out of Dodge’s Warren, Michigan, plant.
3. 1976-1986 Jeep CJ-7
Featuring a longer wheelbase to reduce rollovers and more modern amenities, the CJ-7 was the final and most comfortable direct descendant of the original World War II workhorse, the Willys MB. After spending decades cut up into hardcore off-roaders, the CJ-7 has become a collectible in its own right.
4. 1993-2002 Pontiac Firebird
The final-generation Pontiac Firebird was plagued by overwrought styling, terrible build quality, and one of the worst interiors of all time. And yet, it was affordable, fast, and still cool somehow. To the generation that couldn’t afford one the first time around, they’ve become one of the most sought-after classics for younger buyers.
5. 1994-1996 Chevrolet Impala SS
The revived-for-the-’90s Impala SS was one of those rare cars aimed squarely at the enthusiast community. It was a full-size Caprice with a revised suspension, limited-slip differential, and a 5.7-liter V8 pulled from the Chevy Corvette. It was also incredibly popular (nearly 70,000 sold in three years), and many remained collector’s items. Today, the generation that grew up in the ’90s has discovered how much a full-size sedan with too much power can be.
6. 1973-1979 Ford F-Series
Classic pickups are finally getting their due, and the sixth-generation Ford F-Series is one of the most popular. Ford’s tough styling and comfortable cabs defined these trucks. The iconic F-150 model was also introduced during this time. For kids born when these trucks were new, they’ve become highly collectible.
7. 1960-1966 Chevrolet C/K Series Pickup
The first-generation C/K Series set a template that GM followed well into the 1990s. With an independent front suspension and lowered ride height, these trucks rode like a car and still feel somewhat modern today. And with their clean good looks and strong aftermarket community, they’re easy to keep running and personalize any way their owners see fit. They’ve also become incredibly popular with younger buyers.
8. 1994-2004 Ford Mustang
The soft-edge fourth-generation Mustang wasn’t an instant classic, but it was incredibly popular and single-handedly kept the Mustang alive. Created on a shoestring budget as Ford execs debated on whether to discontinue the icon, by 1999 it gained handsome “New Edge” styling. That brought the desirable Cobra models, some of the most powerful American cars of the era. Thanks to their time capsule looks, easy to modify mechanicals, and affordability, the young-timer Mustang is fast becoming a collectible.
9. 1966-1977 Ford Bronco
One casual glance at Instagram or auction sites, such as Bring A Trailer, and you’ll see the first-generation Ford Bronco has become one of the hottest collector cars on the planet. With its rugged good looks, short wheelbase and bulletproof 4×4 drivetrain, the original Bronco has increased nearly 25% in value over the past three years alone. The introduction of a new model for 2020 should only increase demand.
10. 1978-1979 Ford Bronco
For 1978, Ford released the second-generation Bronco, now built on an F-Series truck platform. The full-size Bronco made it through another three generations over the next 18 years, but it’s the butch styling of the short-lived second-generation truck that has really resonated with younger collectors.
11. 1981-1986 Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler
Today’s Jeep buyer wants the go-anywhere ruggedness of a Wrangler with the versatility of a pickup, which is why Jeep is slated to build one in 2019. But the last time it offered something like that it didn’t go over well. Sold for just five model years, the Scrambler failed to find any real popularity. But today’s younger Jeep collectors love the vintage model’s rarity, timeless looks, and almost kitschy details, such as available stripe packages and wooden bed trim.
12. 1969-1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer
Launched a full nine years before the Bronco went full-size, the original Chevy Blazer was a 4×4 built on a full-size truck frame. With its rugged, go-anywhere powertrain, comfortable interior, and good looks, the Blazer has finally become popular with younger collectors, after years of living in the rival Bronco’s shadow.
13. 1981-1993 Dodge Ramcharger
Launched in 1974, the Dodge Ramcharger was a rugged, open-topped workhorse designed to compete with the Bronco and Blazer. But in 1981, it was redesigned to offer a near-luxury car interior to go with its off-road prowess. With its too-cool ’80s looks and tough mechanics, the Ramcharger has quickly become one of the most in-demand classics for younger collectors.
14. 1967-1972 Ford F-Series
The fifth-generation Ford F-Series was mechanically similar to the truck that preceded it, but its square-shouldered styling set the tone for Ford’s full-size pickups for the next 30 years. Old enough to be a classic but modern enough to handle regular driving, the younger generation of collectors has fallen in love with Ford’s ’60s-era pickup.
15. 1993-1998 Toyota Supra
In its day, the fourth-generation Toyota Supra was a $40,000-plus grand tourer that — with the range-topping, 320-horsepower twin-turbo engine — could embarrass a Corvette. With its still-wild styling, relative rarity (especially the twin-turbo models), and pop culture credibility (they feature heavily in The Fast and the Furious universe), these ’90s cars have skyrocketed in value. After the 2000s saw far too many surviving cars fall victim to tuner culture, ultra-clean Turbo models are starting to command close to $100,000 on the market. The buyers? More often than not, well-heeled ’90s kids.