DETROIT – On February 27, 2020 around 8:30 a.m., the last Chevrolet Impala sedan rolled off the assembly line at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
GM then closed the line, spending $ 2.2 billion and almost two years retrofitting it to start building only electric vehicles under the new Factory ZERO name from the end of this year.
The Impala was a humble car, starting at around $ 31,620. Oh, but that particular cherry red Impala that rolled off the assembly line that day could be worth a lot more in the future, auto experts said.
“It could be a collector,” said McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, a Traverse City-based specialty vehicle insurance provider and classic car enthusiast brand. “I think the last petrol version of certain models will be very collectable and in great demand.” … just like the first year models. “
GM and several automakers have vowed to convert almost all cars in the world to electric in the next few decades – or sooner. Not only will the transformation change the daily commute, but there will also be changes in the world of collector cars that create both opportunities and some challenges.
“In 30 years we assume that we will be going on tour with our cars, apart from the question of where do we get the fuel from?” said Harry Clark, a classic car enthusiast who founded Classic Promenade in Phoenix. “Picture this like it is today, it’s not that easy to get propane, you really have to be together to find it. Gasoline will end up being so hard to find.”
A “COMPARED WORLD”
GM has promised to bring 30 new electric vehicles to market by 2025. CEO Mary Barra said the company aims to have all of its light commercial vehicles zero emissions by 2035.
Similarly, Ford has announced that by 2030 it will account for about 40% of global electric vehicle sales. Stellantis said 96% of its nameplates sold in the US will be low-emission vehicles by 2030.
But despite these lofty EV goals, there are millions of internal combustion engine vehicles on the streets today, and these aren’t going to go away anytime soon.
“We’re going to be in this mixed world of internal combustion engines and EVs that coexist, and the view from the collector vehicle space is that we don’t worry about that,” Hagerty said. “If anything, we’ll take it, and if it gets more people who want to drive for fun, that’s a good thing.”
THE BIG DEBATE
The upcoming EV invasion raises a new debate: is it better to have the first model year car … or the last of a gasoline model?
“Car companies are very smart marketers, they understand their data very well, they are very good at introducing things,” said Hagerty. “The Ford Mach-E – obviously in the design styling of the Mustang, but it’s an SUV-style vehicle. Is it a mustang? Well, they are just trying to bring that design language into an all-electric platform in the future. “This is what you will see as some automakers sometimes stop a model and then reintroduce it later.”
Take the Corvette, which has been the top-selling car in the world since the 1950s, Hagerty said. When the C7, the 2019 Corvette front-engined model, ceased production to be replaced by the C8, the 2020 mid-engined car, two different types of collectors emerged.
“Some definitely wanted the mid-engine – newest, newest, biggest Corvette,” Hagerty said. “But there were a lot of people who said, ‘I want one of the last C7s because I want the last front-engined Corvette.’ “
The final C7 rolled off the line at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly facility in Kentucky on November 14, 2019, just after 3 p.m. It was a Z06 that Dan Snyder bought for $ 2.7 million at the Barrett Jackson auction, according to the National Corvette Museum website. The penultimate mounted C7 is housed in the museum.
But the first C8, which rolled off the assembly line in January 2020 with chassis number 0001, ended up in the garage of car dealer and NASCAR racing team owner Rick Hendrick in North Carolina. Hendrick paid a staggering $ 3 million for the car. The money will be donated to the Detroit Children’s Fund.
POSSIBLE COLLECTOR CARS
“In the auto world, the car still has to be attractive and limited edition” to be a collector, but it can’t just be the first or the last off the line, Hagerty said.
That means that not all vehicles with the last gasoline rolling off the assembly line will be collectibles, only those with premium options and in good condition will retain their value, Clark said.
“A certain Porsche model or an American car that is as specific as a Corvette or a Camaro – but not all of them, one that is thrashed or not with the right options or the right years, they’ll have a hard time getting it find a home for this vehicle, “said Clark.
Here are a few internal combustion engine vehicles that Clark as a collector sees in the EV future:
- Porsche cars, especially those with manual transmissions
- Every Ferrari
- Most corvettes that are fully loaded with low mileage
- An early model of the Toyota Prius that is in pristine condition, much like the early Tesla Roadster is now very collectible
- Mercedes Benz SLR, SLS Coupés and Roadster
- Ford Bronco SUFord Mustangs, including the Shelby versions
- Dodge Hellcats and Demons – the high-performance version of the Challenger
- Cadillac Escalade, full size fully loaded SUV
- Cadillac CTS-V high performance sedans
But the high-volume, daily-moving cars are unlikely to be of much value because there will be a surplus of them unless they’re in some way historical, like one last Impala rolling off the assembly line of a factory that never gasoline cars will build again. Years later, only those who have a direct connection to typical large-scale internal combustion engines will appreciate it.
“Ford has made tons of Model T and Model A and it’s difficult to find a new owner for them because you have to find an 85-year-old to bond with them,” said Clark.
THE VAN GOGH OF VEHICLES
Then there are the challenges of driving a car, said Clark. In the future, fuel will likely have your home delivered because there won’t be a lot of gas stations, he said.
Then driving the gasoline car may require special permits when autonomous vehicles begin to populate urban streets, he said.
“Society is based on computers that interact and organize, and all of a sudden someone is driving a 1957 Chevy that doesn’t have computers on it, so you’re the wild card now,” said Clark. “You may need to stay away from certain streets in this urban area.”
Still, the rare beauties like a Bugatti or Rolls-Royce will still be appreciated by collectors 75 years from now, even if it is a challenge to find gasoline to drive them.
“These are the Monets, the Rembrandts and Van Goghs,” said Clark. “There are always buyers for Monets, Rembrandts and Van Goghs.”
But the sad reality for most of us who drive our mass market cars is that they will cycle for life and, once they have maybe 150,000 miles, go to the crusher or be recycled for parts.
“All gasoline cars must be recycled over the next 15 years,” said Clark. “But if you have a Corvette now, maybe you keep it and that will become your weekend car” in an all-electric future.