Does investing in classic cars offer a better return than the stock market?

1969 Chevy Camaro

(July 14, 2018) A new graphic from Kwik-Lift proves investing in a classic or will-be classic car can offer a better return than sinking your money into the stock market. Based on five of the most expensive vehicles Barrett-Jackson sold in January 2018, the folks at Kwik-Lift ran some numbers and verified that collector cars are indeed a solid investment.

These results were calculated by using a dollar amount invested into Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500 Index, a series of funds commonly used as a benchmark for the U.S. stock market, and comparing it to the same dollar amount to purchase a vehicle.

“There’s always someone who thinks restoring a car is wasted money, so we tried this little experiment to prove the value of the classic car hobby,” says Jason Peters, director of Kwik-Lift. “Whether or not it actually proves our point, having the conversation and creating this chart was a lot of fun.”

Using models from 1968 through 2015, here’s how the team calculated the return on these motor vehicle investments:

    • Start with the MSRP of each vehicle. These numbers are based on historical or actual vehicle records.

    • Take that MSRP amount and consider an investment placed into an S&P fund on January 1 of the car’s model year.

    • Take the 2018 value, or the price it fetched at auction, for each vehicle. Subtract the MSRP from that number. There’s the return on the car.

    • Using the DQYDJ S&P Periodic Investment Calculator, the team calculated the return of the MSRP investment that would have been deposited Jan. 1 of the specific year. The chart represents the returns on the S&P investments as of March 31, 2018.

    • The caveats: These calculations do not account for vehicle maintenance nor insurance costs for the cars. The calculations for the stocks do not include taxes.

“Every car on the chart looks like a good investment to me,” Peters says. “I couldn’t believe the ’69 Camaro brought in returns more than 50 percent higher than the S&P. This graphic is a handy illustration for anyone who needs to convince their significant other that buying a classic car is a good idea.”

1968 Chevrolet Corvette