Collecting cars, being a gearhead, and the overall appreciation of automobiles and automobilia has been a thing since the inception of the motorized vehicle. People love their cars! Whether it is your grandfather with his 1963 Chevrolet Corvette or your niece proud of her 2018 Dodge Challenger people take pride in their car. Most people anyway, it is a known thing. But outside of taking pride in your daily vehicle, the world of collectible cars is an ever-growing hobby not just in our country but across the world. New collectors enter the market every day, and with new collectors entering the market interest and values change. For 2021, one of the largest growing markets is in small, obscure 1970’s through 1990’s four-cylinder cars. I’m talking about the cars that your dad jokes with his buddies at a car show “remember those! I thought they all got crushed and turned into beer cans.” Well because they all rotted away and turned into beer cans, very few remain. In fact, they are actually rarer than most muscle cars. For example, it is a far harder quest to find a beautiful 1978 Honda Civic or 1982 Toyota Celica when comparing them to a 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle or 1973 Plymouth Cuda. Let alone the cars try finding the parts for them! It can be a brutally frustrating task to restore an early import, whereas if you really wanted a 1969 Camaro you can buy a brand-new body, frame, and engine out of a magazine.
So, let us throw some numbers out there. First off, while they may be “rarer” than earlier vehicles the market is still young. Prices are relatively affordable when compared to American Muscle and European collector cars, but current market trends show exponential growth when compared to the past 3 years. I refer to a 1978 Honda Civic as I just finished restoring one myself. Luckily, I found an original two-owner car with only 16,xxx original miles, so it was a complete vehicle but in need of body work and a new paint job. I originally purchased the car in 2019 for $2,000.00 as a project. At the time very few preserved examples had sold, and only in the $4,000 to $7,500 range. Fast forward to 2021, and nice examples are commonly bringing $12,000 to $18,000 with the highest I have seen at $22,000. If that is not exponential growth, I do not know what is! So the point is pay attention to gas crisis and retro economy vehicles, they’re no longer just cars worth turning into tin cans.