LOS ANGELES — Your stocks turned out to be lemons? Think about investing in vintage vehicles, say collectors who point to skyrocketing values led by American muscle cars. But step into the classic car market carefully, the experts advise.
“The key to collector cars is you can drive them and show them. You can’t do that with your portfolio,” said Mike Yager, who added five Corvettes this month to his stable of 55 sports cars.
“It’s hard to take a stock certificate for a quarter-million shares of, let’s say AT&T, and say, ‘Hey, look what I’ve got.’ Nowadays, you’re embarrassed to own stock.”
Vintage car auctions, shows and swap meets are thriving with baby boomer buyers.
“I now own no stock and a lot of cars. A lot of people are investing in them,” said collector Craig Jackson, who still owns his first car — a 1957 Chevrolet — and keeps his eyes peeled for another investment in nostalgia.
Museum quality vehicles demand millions, such as the $5.9 million 1962 Ferrari sold by RM Auctions this month in Monterey. At January’s Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle convertible sold for $172,800 and a customized 1957 Chevy Bel Air sold for $183,600.
“It’s that whole baby boomer generation of cars and vintage hot rods that are coming on strong,” said Jackson, whose annual Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction is considered the nation’s premier collector-car event.
Crowds swelled by 25 percent over last year and sales topped $26.9 million with a record 86 percent of vehicles on the block sold. One of those that didn’t sell was a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner, despite a top bid of $135,000.
The owner’s betting he’ll get more later.