Saturday, January 25, 2014

The 1967 L89 – Investment Opportunity Is Knocking

By Rick Tavel© January 24th, 2014

1967 Corvette L89  Only 16 L89's were produced  (Lot S225.1 2014  Kissimmee Photo: Mecum)
One of the rarest of Corvettes is scheduled to cross Mecum’s block late Saturday afternoon, January 25th, in Kissimmee.  No, it’s not the “Real McCoy”, the 1956 SR Prototype, the Corvette credited with saving the brand from extinction shortly after the model’s introduction.   And it isn’t the three second generation Z06 “tankers”, or the three third generation L88’s, or the gaggle of fourth generation Grand Sports, and collection of Callaway Corvettes which are all featured and cross the block on Friday and Saturday at Mecum’s  3000 car auction extravaganza.  There are over 375 Corvettes being auctioned this year in the “King of Corvettes,” Dana Mecum’s annual collector car Kissimmee auction, the largest collector car auction in the world.  Most of these important Corvettes have been written about and promoted for at least the last few weeks and may bring some mega bucks if they meet the reserves.   As exciting and important as all of these cars are this is not about those cars, the Corvette this article is about is as just as collectible and even more collectible than some of the auction “stars” listed above and it just may be the “sleeper” of the auction since it has gone pretty well unnoticed when it comes to extra marketing and has been overshadowed by those other heavily marketed Corvettes. 

1967 L89 Black on Black (Photo: Mecum)
The Corvette I’m referring to is a 1967 Black on Black convertible with the ultra rare L89 option, lot S225.1* (see Note).  There were only 16 L89 Corvettes produced in 1967 and as such are even rarer than the 1967 Corvette L88 considered to be the  “holy grail,” of which twenty were produced.   Recently, at Barrett-Jackson® a Red on Red, 1967 Corvette L88 coupe set a new world’s record for the highest price paid for a Corvette at auction when it was sold for $3.85M breaking a record set in Dallas by another 1967 L88 five months earlier.  That car sold at $3.52M and broke the then existing record by over a $1M. 


I am not saying that the 1967 L89 is as valuable as a 1967 L88 but considering there were fewer L89s produced and in the performance hierarchy the L89 was just under the vaunted L88.  The L89 was rated at 435HP, the same as the L71 engine but due to the weight savings of the all aluminum heads it actually produced over 450HP.  It is generally accepted that the 1967 L89 Corvette was considered to be the ultimate road going American car in its day and apparently Ed Cole, the General Manager of Chevrolet, agreed.  He was asked by his neighbor to order the “ultimate” Corvette and the model Cole ordered him was a Goodwood Green L89 with 4 speed and saddle interior.  Today the car is known as the “Ed Cole Car” since he considered it to be the “ultimate” Corvette, not a bad endorsement.

1967 L89 and known as "The Ed Cole Car"  (Photo: Mecum)
 Certainly Ed Cole knows more than most about automobiles.  Not only was he the General Manager of Chevrolet but he was formerly Chevrolet’s Chief Engineer and responsible for setting the course for the Corvette to become a dominant performance car.  Cole not only allowed Zora the latitude to turn the Corvette into the dominant American performance car but he encouraged it.  And remember it was under Ed Cole's leadership that the legendary small block and big block engine was developed, so Ed Cole thoroughly knew engines.  So when Cole chose the L89 as the ultimate Corvette, it means something. 

 But, just like Ed Cole, every Corvette enthusiast has their own individual idea of the ultimate Corvette.  If you were going racing back in the sixties you probably would want the L88 or the Z06.  If you wanted a car that could be driven almost daily, could be raced on weekends and could shut down almost all other cars in stoplight battles it would probably be the potent 1967 L89.
1963 Corvette Z06 "Tanker"  Black Interior (Lot S172 Kissimmee 2014 Photo: Mecum)

So, aside from not being marketed to the same degree, what else bears consideration? Collectability would be a good place to start.  Among all production second generation models the L89 is among the top three collector Corvettes.  The other two are the "Crown Jewel" of American collector cars, the 1967 L88 followed by the 1963 Z06, particularly those with documented racing heritage.  The L88 and the Z06 have become the most sought after Corvettes and contrary to most collector Corvettes their prices have skyrocketed well beyond their historic values while most others have remained flat or even declined from their historic highs.  The estimated value of both the L88 and Z06 is well above their value seven years ago, prior to the market crash, while most other Corvettes are just now getting back to those prices.  But for some unknown reason the 1967 L89 estimated value is still below the 2006 level, well below. 

Let’s look at some numbers according to the acknowledged classic car valuation authority, Hagerty®, which will illustrate the investment potential of the 1967 L89. The Hagerty® Valuation system is based on actual sales of almost every collector car sold and gives an accurate depiction of historic values.  From this projections and trends and values can be accurately made.  This system is available to everyone free of charge at their website, .

 According to the Hagerty tools, the December 2006 value for the 1967 Corvette L88, similar to the one just sold for $3.85M, indicates a number 1 condition 1967 L88 was valued at $1.5M and in December 2013 it was valued at $2.45M.  Even though the December 2013 estimated value of $2.45M was 55% below the January L88 actual sales price , it was more than 60% above its 2006 pre-market -crash value of $1.5M.

1963 Z06 originally raced by Dick Lang (Lot S148 Kissimmee 2014 Photo: Mecum)
Looking at a number 2 condition Z06 shows the value of both the big tank and small tank models in December 2006 valued at $213K and this past December the "tanker" was valued at $270K, a 26% improvement over the 2006 values.  The normal tank Z06 was valued at the same 2005 price and $222 at the end of 2013.  The 21% difference between the small and big tank cars is due to the added value the increased interest in racing heritage adds to the value of a car.  There have been no recent sales of Z06’s but Mecum® has three number 1 condition cars that will be auctioned the same day as the L89.  Though the Hagerty value scale estimates the value of a number 1 "tanker" at $375K Mecum is more optimistic.  Two number 1 condition, silver big tanks, lots S150.1 and S172, are estimated between $600K and $800K  and lot S148 Terry Michaelis’ concours Lang race car, is expected to sell between $900K and $1.2M, well above the $375K estimate for a #1 condition Z06. 

1963 Z06 "Tanker"  Red Interior(Lot S150.1 Kissimmee 2014 Photo: Mecum)
Sales on the L89 are not nearly as strong as the recent trends of the L88 and Z06.   In December 2006 the Hagerty® Valuation Chart shows a number 2 condition L89 convertible to be valued at $465K and the December 2013 value at $331K, almost 30% below the price seven years ago and even below the value during the spring and summer following the 2008 market crash.  A number 1 condition car is valued at $390K, over $100K below the 2006 level.  The percentage drop is well below Corvettes that are not nearly as rare as other second generation Corvettes.  Most of those models have recent values estimated very close to their values seven years ago.  If the Barrett – Jackson auction is any indicator most number one and two condition big block Corvettes are back or above the 2006 values.

Goodwood Green 1967 L89 Ed Cole's Ultimate Corvette  (Photo: Mecum)

Arguably, during the last seven years, no other second generation collectable Corvette has had cars hammered down so far below the estimated value as the rare L89.  It is an aberration, and inexplicable.  At Mecum’s 2011 Indy auction a 1967 L89 was sold at the unbelievable price of $117K, less than half the value of even a number 4 condition car.  At that price the car should have been towed across the block in several pieces.  In 2002 Barrett Jackson® sold a beautiful number 1- condition silver pearl L89 for $221.4K.  But the most blatant example is the sale of the aforementioned “Ed Cole Car”.  The car was originally taken to the Mecum’s Bloomington Gold auction in May of 2009, less than a year after the stock market crash in the fall of 2008, where it failed to meet the $1M reserve being bid to $550K.  Two months later it was taken to Mecum’s Monterey auction with the same $1M reserve and it was bid to only $207K and incredibly the seller lifted the reserve and it sold.  

 So based on the rarity, the price history, and the recent “hot” Corvette market if the L89 prices continue to hammer down based on their recent illogical trend, it would be a good investment because collectors will soon wake up and recognize the opportunity.  Taking all collector requirement into consideration the L89 checks all the boxes.  Granted it will never be as valuable as the “crown jewel” L88, but if you like playing with your Corvette, it’s a helluva lot more “driver friendly”.   And the legendary Z06 may be more desirable based on its history and reputation, especially those with a racing heritage, however the rarity of the L89 should  more than offset the value of a Z06 without a documented racing heritage.   Keep your eyes on the Z06's in Mecum's Saturday auction, they get auctioned before the L89 and if they actually meet their reserves, the bids should offer some perspective as to the value of the L89.  Then grab your checkbook so when Lot S225.1 comes to the block if the opportunity presents itself, you will be ready to take home what could very well be the best investment of the auction. 



*Important Note:  Like any ultra rare collector car it is important to insure that the car is what it is claimed to be because there are several cars sold every day which are simply not authentic.  Caveat Emptor, buyer beware! Most headline cars being featured by reputable auctions, in fact most cars are as claimed but a buyer should always have a potential purchased checked by a reputable authority who can verify authenticity.  It is important to know that I have not been able to get to Mecum’s Kissimmee auction this year so I have not personally inspected the cars and the cars and condition of the Mecum® cars referenced in this article are taken from the auction catalog and assumed to be as the seller describes.  I have personally inspected the Dick Lang Z06 and one of the silver Z06’s earlier this year and can vouch for their authenticity and outstanding condition.  The two cars I inspected are truly Blue Chip award winning cars.  However I have not inspected the third Z06 or the L89.  Nevertheless the projected values of the examples should not be affected for that model in the stated condition.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Barrett-Jackson® Records Set – Sales, Attendance,  Bidders, Charity Donations, Corvette Sale etc, etc.
Readers:  You might have seen this article posted in various Corvette publications and internet sites.  This version is the "unabridged" version.
By Rick Tavel© 1-20-2014  All photos courtesy of Barrett-Jackson

 1967 Corvette L88  Crossing Block and Selling for $3,850,000 a New World's Record
Prudhomme-  "the Snake" - and transporter
The curtain came down Sunday, January 19th, on the most successful Barrett-Jackson® Scottsdale auction in history.  The FOX® televised, eight-day event, sometimes called the “world’s greatest reality show,”  was hosted in Barrett-Jackson’s brand new bricks and mortar facility with much improved space and amenities, a building that was completed in only eleven months time and completed only days before the auction start on Sunday, January 12th.  Barrett-Jackson’s former main auction tent, the largest tent in the world, was connected to the new permanent auction building and created an impressive almost mile long facility from one end to the other.  But as user friendly as the surroundings, the real story here is the success generated inside the auction in both attendance which was up almost 30% and sales figures.  This year’s docket included several iconic classic, muscle, sports and race cars with a sprinkling of other means of transportation, a Miami Vice off shore race boat, a fire engine, a few military vehicles, a Cessna military plane, and some special manufacturer new high performance cars which were auctioned for charity.  The Plymouth and Dodge drag racing Hot Wheels® cars and trucks of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwan, restored and built to commemorate the epic drag racing matches and the recent feature film, sold to Corvette enthusiast and collector Rick Hendrick for just $10K shy of $1M,and also coincidentally bought a Mustang!     

Simon Cowell's Bugatti Veyron sold for $,375,000
Music and television star Simon Cowell sold his Bugatti Veyron for $1.375.  However the real star of the entire auction was the world’s record breaking 1967 Corvette L88 that recognized collector and automobile host and commentator Bob Varsha called “the American equivalent of the Ferrari 250 GTO,”  the world’s most desired collector car.

From the first days it was evident that enthusiasts came out in force to spend their money at Barrett-Jackson’s annual Scottsdale auction extravaganza.  In addition to the increased attendance,  the opening days saw significantly larger bids than prior years when the first days were known for entry level “bargain” cars.   That changed this year, though there were still some bargains to be had for astute buyers on Tuesday and Wednesday the top five sellers for the two opening days ranged from $75K to $200K, not necessarily “bargain” territory.

The first two days sales topped $14M for 429 lots with a 25% increase in attendance.  And for the first time ever the first two days of the auction had cars that were sold for over $100K.

Thursday, normally a transitional day bridging the bargain first days’ offerings with the much more expensive collector cars offered on Friday and Saturday, turned out to be a preview of what was to come during the peak days.  Thursday’s attendance jumped to 30% and sales topped $12M with the top seller being a 1955 Ford F100 pick-up truck which sold for $220K. All of the top ten lots hammered down for over $100K. 

The momentum from the first half of the week continued Friday and Saturday.  Barrett-Jackson’s on line web site crashed early Friday due to the huge number of users trying to access the site and didn’t get back up and running until Saturday afternoon; but it didn’t seem to impede bidding.  Attendance was still up almost 30% and sales continued to be strong. 
2013 COPO Camaro $700K for Achilles Team

On Friday two charity cars were sold raising over a $1M.  The first was a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro COPO, lot 3011, which hammered for $700K with all proceeds to benefit Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans.  The second was a1956 Ford F-100 Custom Shelby truck that sold for $450K to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan Foundation.  Barrett-Jackson traditionally has raised millions for charity and 2014 achieved new highs; partnering with other corporations Barrett-Jackson raised over $5M for charity throughout the eight day event which kicked off on Sunday with an opening night charity Gala .  This year several thousand joined the celebration with entertainment provided by rock legend Bret Michaels.

"The top two sellers of the entire auction were Corvettes together bringing over $6,700,000."

The $3,850,000 World's Record L88

Saturday was highlighted by the best cars of the auction and Barrett-Jackson’s “blue chip” Salon Collection crossing the block.  These are high-value, historically-important collector cars consisting of pre war classics and rare significant post war cars.  This year there were 74 of these cars, 40% more than last year.  Eight cars were hammered for more than $1M including the highest priced car of the entire auction, lot number 5035, a 1967 Corvette L88 which sold for $3.85M and set a new world’s record for a Corvette sold at auction.  Just minutes before the 67 L88 was hammered down, the famous Corvette racecar known as the “Rebel” lot 5022, a 1969 L88, sold for $2.86M including bidder fees, and nailed down the number two car of the auction.

The "Rebel" #2 seller for the auction $2,860,000

"Most condition 1, 2, and 3+ Corvettes sold at or above their valuation estimates."

For Corvette enthusiasts there were some bargains during the first three days of the auction for weak # 3 condition third and fourth generation cars, but throughout all days of the auction most of the #1, #2 and solid # 3 condition Corvettes from all generations sold at or above their valuation levels.

Lance Miller's "Asteroid" hammered for $100K
Several exceptional Corvette highlighted this year’s auction with over 130 detailed in Barrett-Jackson’s two high quality catalogs.  There were several award-winning, restored and survivor examples, as well as some outstanding restomod and custom Corvettes.  One of the most well known custom Corvettes, the Asteroid, was consigned by Lance Miller, owner of Corvettes at Carlisle, and customized by world famous “king of the kustomizers” George Barris.  The Asteroid, lot 5024, was painted in a gleaming gold metalflake paint and built as a dual purpose car to race and show.  Based on its strong provenance it was a relative bargain selling for $110K.   

1960 Custom Lot 5008 $220K
"First Gen Customs and Restomods were "HOT" and in many ways overshadowed the classic  restored C1's."

1962 Pro Touring Restomod Lot 1314

One of the hottest categories of Corvettes were first generation restomods and customs.  The high dollar, unique C1’s in many ways over-shadowed the stock first generation Corvettes.  A beautiful 1960 yellow custom,
lot 5008, which took over 4000 hours to build sold for $220K, while a 1962 Pro Touring restomod, lot 1314, built on a C4 chassis sold for $200.2K while a 1961 dark gray metallic custom, lot 5011 sold for $269K. An absolutely stunning, totally stock appearing 1958 silver blue, silver coved restomod, lot 1305 sold for $198K.

Stunning silver-blue/silver restomod hammered for $198K Lot 1305

"BlackRay" hammered for $152K Lot 1288

The restomod, custom category wasn’t confined to first generation cars. An almost “stock” appearing custom 1965, lot 1288, built by the award winning Carr’s Corvettes & Customs of Dallas, and known as the “Black Ray,” was anything but stock under the skin and hammered for $152K ($167,2 with bidder fees).   


World's Fastest Street Legal Car sold for $198K

One of the most well-known second generation cars that crossed the block was the 1963 modified and widened Corvette coupe known as the World’s Fastest Street Legal Car, Lot 5027, which sold for $198K.  The twin turbo engine produced 2600 HP and was clocked at 209 MPH in street trim.

As expected the real strength of the auction were the outstanding #1 and #2  first, second and third generation cars and these cars proved to be exceptionally strong, most hammering down above the estimated valuation.  With that being said one of the better Corvette buys at the auction was lot #1311 a 1965
1965 Award winning "Bargain" $86K Lot 1311
Coupe.  A first class survivor with the unusual combination of air conditioning and radio delete with less than 10K documented miles , won most every award available including the prestigious Duntov Award, National Top Flight 2005, NCRS Performance Verification 2005, NCRS Duntov Award 2005, Bloomington Survivor Award 2004, Bloomington Gold Certification 2004, Gold Spinner Concours winner 2004 and Corvette Vettefest Triple Crown winner 2004 hammered at the bargain price of $86K.  Apparently the automatic transmission and small block 327 held it back.  Almost as good of a bargain was another multiple award winning C2,lot 1331, a 1967 Lyndale Blue, no expense spared restored, big block which hammered at $100K.

1967 Coupe hammered at $100K  Lot 1331
But there were relatively few ‘bargains” for Corvette lovers looking for top quality C1, C2, and C3 generations.  Lance Miller also consigned a pair of matching VIN Corvettes once owned by his father, Chip Miller.  A rare 1953 white convertible, lot 5038, and a 50th Anniversary 2003 convertible, lot 5039, with matching production numbers were hammered down for a combined price of $770K.


"One of the most important sales that will impact third generation L88 prices was the 13K mile survivor that sold for $880,000."

Third generation rare Corvettes weren’t so rare at Barrett-Jackson this year.  One of the rarest was a 1968 L88 convertible, lot 1318, an all original 13K mile survivor that was owned by the original buyer for thirty four years.  The fully documented, matching number, blue convertible also had the original bill of sale, window sticker, tank sticker, protect-o-plate, all manuals and was sitting on the original tires.  It took $880K to take it to a new home.

 "Two exceptional early C3's, a ZR1 and a ZR2, crossed the block on Saturday." 

One of the twelve ZR2’s produced in 1972, lot 5018, sold for $495K while a 1970 LT1/ZR1, Lot 5009, in #1 condition and 1 of 25 built, found a new owner for $220K.

Several second generation condition #1 and #2 Corvettes brought good prices on Friday and Saturday.  Though all five model years sold at or above the valuation prices it appeared that the least expensive cars were the 1964 and 1965 model years.  That seems to be the case due to the highly desirable 427 cubic inch engine availability in the 1966 and 1967 model years.  Second generation condition 1 and 2 cars with high performance engines commonly sold for $250K or more with some approaching or topping $200K.

"The FOX broadcast fiasco was the only disappointment of the entire auction and the
Barrett-Jackson team and the enthusiasts who depend on TV to see the auction deserved better." 

It was impressive that there were so few problems with the new facility and the new layout during the auction and that is a testament to the planning and forsight of the Barrett-Jackson® team.  However I would be remiss if I did not mention the horrible new TV coverage on the Fox Cable Network® which consisted of having to switch back and forth between four Fox owned cable Networks, FoxSports 1®, FoxSports 2®, FoxBusiness® and National Geographic® and two hours broadcast on the Fox® network.  For those who could not attend the auction and rely on TV to see the auction, the Fox® format of having the event broadcast switch back and forth between channels, some of which many cable subscribers did not have access to was not only disappointing, it amounted to virtually throwing enthusiasts under the bus just for the sake of increasing subscribers to fringe Fox® cable channels by forcing them to buy larger cable packages just in order to watch the auction. 
Though actual final numbers from Barrett-Jackson® will not be available for a few days, this year’s event was clearly the most successful in their 43 year history.  Sales, attendance, registered bidders and cars sold were all ahead of 2013’s event.  Sales for 2013 were up a staggering 17% racking up $108M and this year’s event will exceed those numbers by $5M, selling a staggering $113M, their largest Scottsdale event ever.   It was evident that the 3500 registered bidders weren’t holding back on the 1399 cars sold.  The Barrett-Jackson® team has got to be pleased (and tired) with their first auction of 2014 and the first in an all new facility.  Based on the Scottsdale results it looks like 2014 is shaping up to be a promising year. 



Saturday, January 18, 2014


1967 Corvette L88 Sells for World’s Record Price at Barrett-Jackson

By Rick Tavel © 01-18-2014 26:00:00


New World's Record Holder 1967 L88 On Block at Barrett-Jackson  (Photo: Barrett-Jackson)
 All Corvette enthusiast eyes were on Barrett-Jackson’s auction extravaganza in Scottsdale Saturday afternoon in expectation of some record setting prices.  If you have been following my updates on this week’s Barrett-Jackson® auction extravaganza on Corvette Blogger, you know that their 2014 event has gotten off to a strong start with attendance up 30% through Thursday and sales exceeding last year by over 8%.  Saturday is traditionally when the best of the best collector cars cross the block and in the late afternoon within a little over one hour six Corvette lot numbers sold for a combined total of  $8.63M including bidder fees.   These included some of the best known and important Corvettes.  But the real star of the afternoon was a 1967 second generation L88 coupe we called the “crown jewel” of Corvettes in an article back in November, one of only twenty Corvette L88 coupes built that year.   Within a few minutes of the famous “Rebel” racecar selling for $2.86M (including buyer’s premium)the 1967 L88 red/red award-winning coupe set a new world’s record for a Corvette sold at auction when it hammered for $3.5M ($3.85M including buyer’s fees).  The bidding quickly rose to $2M then surpassed the former record price of $3.2M set by another 1967 L88 last September by almost 10%. When the reserve was lifted the car sold setting a new world’s record Corvette auction record.

 The Corvette collector market has been exceptionally strong throughout 2013 and last September during Mecum’s Dallas event a world’s record price was set for a Corvette at auction, selling for a hammer price of $3.2M ($3.52 with fees).  That car was also a 1967 L88 Corvette from the Buddy Herin collection.  It was a Marlboro Maroon convertible.  The new world’s record Corvette is a Red on Red coupe and the only L88 coupe of record to receive the highly coveted Duntov Mark of Excellence Award.  The new record holder is equipped with the C48 Heater Defrost Delete, F41 Special Front and Rear Suspension, G81 Positraction Rear Axle, J50 Vacuum Power Brakes, J56 Special Heavy Duty Brakes, K66 Transistor Ignition, L88 427 ci, 430 hp (factory rating) Engine, and the M22 Heavy Duty, Close Ratio, 4 Speed Transmission.  In addition it also has the RPO A85, shoulder belts and another important feature which sets this L88 apart is the special order rear end ratio of 4.56:1, the drag racing rear end of choice, while most other 1967 L88’s came with the 4:11 rear end more suitable to road racing.  The car was restored by the renowned Nabers Brothers of Houston, is fully documented and was represented at the request of the owner by Roy Sinor, well-known, recently-retired National Corvette Restorers Society national judging chairman and one of the experts Barrett-Jackson uses for Corvette consultations.

Former World's Record Holder 1967 L88 Convertible (Photo:Mecum)
 Obviously the 1967 Corvette L88 is one of the rarest and most sought after of all Corvettes and has become not only the zenith of Corvettes but it has been called the American equivalent of the Ferrari 250 GTO, the world’s greatest collector car.  Roy Sinor says it the best 1967 L88 in the world so the record price was no surprise to him.  And based on the bidding and new record more than a few other collectors agreed with him.




The “Why?” Behind the Jump in Corvette Prices at Auction

By Rick Tavel© January 16, 2014


One of the Corvette Models on Hagerty's Blue Chip Valuation Index  (Photo: Barrett-Jackson)
Traditionally Thursday at Barrett-Jackson’s eight day collector car auction is a transitional day that bridges the gap between the early “bargain days” where many entry level, “small cap” collector cars are featured and the more expensive “blue chip” high dollar cars which cross the block on Friday through Saturday.  This year has proved to be the strongest start to Barrett-Jackson’s auction extravaganza where over 1300 cars will cross the block over the course of the auction. 

If the results of the first half of the event are any indication, it appears that 2014 will continue the momentum of 2013 Corvette collector sales.  Through Thursday auction sales are up 8% over 2013 and attendance is up 30%.  And leading the pack of hot collectibles should continue to be number one and two condition C1, C2, and early C3 Corvettes.  Tracking just the Corvette sales so far indicate that all but a few entry level bargains have sold at or above the accepted Hagerty valuation guidance.  Keep in mind that during the last half of 2013 in addition to strong price jumps for excellent condition first and second generation Corvettes, a new world’s record for a Corvette at auction was set by a 1967 L88 Corvette selling at $3.2M, almost double the December 2013 suggested valuation of a similar car.   And even Condition 3 first, second and third generation Corvettes are seeing double digit price jumps.   Overall the Corvette showed some significant price increases during 2013 and outpaced many other segments.

A 1965 Big Block Corvette Coupe
If you are a buyer, you may be apprehensive about the strong Corvette market since 2012. However, don’t expect the prices to fall in the short term since there is some justification for these prices increases based on collector car values over the past eight years.  Simply put in stock market terms, the market over the last year is simply going through a “market correction”; an upward “market correction.”   This is what I am referring to.  Looking back at Corvette market values since 2006, the recommended authority on collector car values, the Hagerty® Value Guide,  shows a “good” to “concours” condition first or second generation Corvette at the end of 2013 to be slightly below the value of the same car eight years ago, in December of 2006.  That’s right, in spite of the price jumps in 2013 the Corvette segment of the market is still not where it was in 2006, while most of the “Blue Chip” market segment is well above 2006 prices.  For example the Hagerty® Valuation Guide shows a number 2 condition 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe with a 327ci/300hp 4bbl L75 to be valued at $62K at the end of last year while in 2006 that same car was valued at $66.8.  This is also similar to one of the Corvettes on Hagerty’s Blue Chip Index.  It shows a concours condition 1967 Corvette Convertible with a 427ci/435hp, 3 -2bbls valued at $277K in December of 2013 and the similar car valued $293K in December of 2006.  While many segments of the collector car market are currently at new highs, the Corvette market still has some room to grow.
1967 Corvette Convertible Similar to Hagerty's  Blue Chip Example

Most enthusiasts and collectors are aware that the collector car market overall was adversely impacted by the 2008 stock market collapse.  And though most collector cars showed some decline the segment of the market most adversely affected was the “muscle car” and “hot rod” segments of the market.  Though the Corvette is not technically classified in the “muscle” category it also was hit by the 2008 market decline, but unlike the muscle segment the Corvette had begun its decline since 2006 and by 2008 had already fallen almost 15% and then continued the fall until it bottomed in 2011.  This trend is not the same for other “Blue Chip” European sports cars which have showed almost steady growth overall.  By the end of 2013 most European Blue Chip sports car collectibles had appreciated well above their 2006 values.  For example looking at a 1967 Porsche 911S in 2006 indicated a value of $39.8K and at the end of 2013 a value of $269K, over a 500% increase.  Most other results do not show the extreme appreciation of the Porsche example, but unlike the Corvette most all European collector sports cars show 2013 prices above their 2006 value.  Another example using a Jaguar XKE, 4.2L 6 cylinder Convertible  with a 4235cc/265hp engine shows the 2013 value of a number 2 condition car to be $130K, almost 15% higher than its 2006 valuation.
Jaguar XKE, 4.2L 6 cylinder Convertible

While the “muscle car” segment had a solid year in 2013, appreciating under 8%, overall this segment is still selling below the 2008 high values but ahead of the 2006 values.  Unlike the “Muscle Car” index the Corvette’s peak was not 2008 but rather 2006 and with the very strong year in 2013 prices are just now approaching the 2006 high values.  These jumps will only get the Corvette on a level playing field with other similar collectible cars.  

Though it is too early to make an overall projection, the first few days indicate that the strong prices realized for the Corvettes sold so far have not only begun to reach the 2006 highs but in some cases surpassed them.  So if the current trend continues, we should continue to see new highs in the Corvette market during the first quarter and likely most of 2014.  So stop fretting and procrastinating; get out your checkbook now that you understand the dynamics which have affected the Corvette market, there is no better time to jump in.  Based on the enthusiasm of Corvette fanatics, coupled with the outstanding quality and historic significance of the Corvettes being offered this week at Barrett-Jackson® and next week at Mecum® in Kissimmee, we should be prepared to see some new Corvette records set. 

 Note:  You can find the Hagerty® valuation tools, free at their website:



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Meet the New "JAKE" for 2014

New 2014 Corvette Introductions – Z06, C7-R, and the new “Jake”
By Rick Tavel © 1-1- 2014

 Change is inevitable with the beginning of a new year and 2014 will also initiate some changes for America’s sports car, the Corvette. Perhaps two of the most significant will be the introduction of the new Corvette “top dog”, the Z06, and the introduction of the all new C7-R, the all new “ride” for the successful Corvette Racing Team.

For 2013, Chevrolet was the most successful manufacturer in motorsports, winning not only the  the ALMS championship by the dominant Corvette Racing Team but a total of 14 manufacturer, driver and team championships in NASCAR, IndyCar, GRAND-AM, the Pirelli World Challenge series as well as ALMS.  In the American Le Mans Series, Chevrolet claimed its 10th Manufacturers’ Championship and two of the team members, Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen, captured the Drivers’ Championship.  Chevrolet also clinched the ALMS GT Team championship for Corvette Racing – its 10th in the ALMS and most in the series’ history. Chevrolet won the ALMS’ Green Challenge GT Championship, which goes to the manufacturer that records the fastest races while being the most efficient in petroleum use and emissions.

With the introduction of the new generation Corvette C7 last year, 2014 will also see the introduction of the new Corvette race car the C7-R.  The new C7-R will be unveiled on January 18th, 2014 at Cobo Hall in the Motor City at the North American International Auto Show, commonly known as the Detroit Auto Show.

One of the most recognizable logos of the championship Corvette Racing Team has been the “Jake” mascot and that, like the car, will also be modified for the 2014 season and will kick off with the competition debut, at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, January 25th-26th .   The new Corvette race car will be wearing the updated “Jake” mascot in Daytona.

 Jake has been around since the early 2000s appearing as an unofficial mascot on the dominant C5-R race cars, winning multiple ALMS championships, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring. The team began uniting behind a rally cry of “Take No Prisoners,” represented by a flaming skull logo that represented its unrelenting drive for victories, the first and loose interpretation of today’s “Jake”.  But it wasn’t until after the C5-R completed the 24 Hours of Le Mans that the unofficial logo was born. Originally, just a sketch on a napkin, the logo was drawn as a skull with crossed flags for the eyes and was named after Jake, the infamous character from The Blues Brothers.

The new Jake, with the seventh-generation Crossed Flag logo for eyes, is more modern and more aggressive, a better fit for the new C7-R.

“The best thing about Jake is that the logo transcends age and gender, uniting the Corvette Racing team and enthusiasts alike,” said Tom Peters, director of design, Performance Vehicles. “The new Jake logo reinforces the brand’s success on the track and signals the transition from the C6-R to the C7-R.”