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America's Most Wanted Classic Cars
The Top 10 Most Desired in America.

Published 2/21/2004

Well, we've done it again! Here is by popular demand, the top ten list of the most desired classic cars in America as compiled by us over the past twelve months. There are definitely some changes afoot - some cars that were previously on our list have now dropped off as their prices begin to take them out of the reach of most mortals - Take a look at the complete list plus our tips for cars that will most likely make the list next year!

DOMESTIC
1) 1965-1970 Chevrolet Chevelle
We were absolutely floored by the demand for Chevelles in 2003- it seemed that 1 in 5 cars Automobile Inspections LLC was asked to look at was a Chevelle! Some years we a little more sort after than others (typically the later years) but really any Chevelle from 1965 to 1970 coupe or convertible was in demand.
2) 1967-1969 Chevrolet Camaro
This was the car that topped he list last year. Demand was still strong in 2003 but the prices these cars were fetching meant a lot of would be buyers had a rude awakening as the best big block examples were well out of their reach having gone up nearly $10,000 in the past twelve months!
3) 1958-1967 Chevrolet Impala
We were pleased to see the Impala in the top 5. We have long felt there has been a following for them but last year the interest definitely grew. Interestingly almost ALL years were attracting buyers. It seems many have been chopped, scrapped or rodded so excellent unmolested examples are few and far between.
4) 1967-1969 Ford Mustang
This was no surprise, as the 1965-66 mustang prices continue to climb above $25,000 - buyers found themselves short on cash and started looking at these later models so quell their desire.

5) 1955-1957 Cherolet 210/Bel Air
The immortal Chevrolet 210 and Bel Air. The prices of these cars went through the roof two years ago, then there was a glut on
the market and only the nicest examples were finding buyers. Now the 'reality slap' of life has found it's mark and the prices have come down. Patient buyers are waiting with cash for this classic of classics. Even the though the '57 remains the favorite, the '55 & '56's are finding their own fan base too.
6) 1965-1966 Ford Mustang
Still in strong demand, you really can't go wrong with one of these it's like money in the bank. Just make sure it hasn't been hit and poorly repaired, and if its' a 289ci all the better - but even the 6 cylinder convertible cars have been finding buyers. Prices have kept these out of the budget for many buyers (see #4).

7) 1965-1969 Pontiac GTO
The 'Goat', Pontiacs GTO was in big demand in 2003. All years from 1965 to 1969 had buyers hunting them down. Prices are on the rise but they still have a way to go, so if you've always fancied one, grab one before they get out of reach!
8) 1968-1970 Dodge Charger
One of two MOPARS that had car buyers reaching for their wallets last years was the Dodge Charger. Specifically the 1968-1970 year models and if it's a genuine R/T 440, buyers had to move quickly as none of them stayed on the market for long.

9) 1969-1970 Plymouth GTX
New to the list was this beast, the Plymouth GTX. Buyers flocked to it in the 440, convertible or the monster 426 Hemi get
up - everyone was a winner.
10) 1967-1969 Chevrolet Corvette
Rounding out the top 10 was the Corvette. It seemed amazing that the demand last year had eased off, most likely again due to the rising prices. Excellent correct corvettes are now fetching 'mad-money' especially form these years. If you want you'd either better be ready with so big bucks, or be prepared to settle from a less than perfect car.

Ones to watch:
1967-1969 Pontiac Firebird / Trans Am

1964-1972 Oldsmobile 442

1959-1964 Cadillac Convertible
1958-64 Pontiac Bonneville

FOREIGN
The foreign car buyers were not so aggressive in 2003. There were certain cars that shone but for the most part (owing I'm sure to the poor international exchange rates for most of the year) no great surprises. Here's the list.
1) 1964-1973 Jaguar XKE
The Jaguar XKE continued to shoot up in price with a few top notch series 1 examples fetching 6 figures!!! This meant a lot of ratty cars found their way to market as many traders saw a chance for a quick buck. Still the public (for the most part) aren't stupid and won't pay over the top money for a poor example - that being said prices were up across the board and although it is still the series 1 roadster that is most desired, series II and III examples have been making more at auction also. (See www.Hi-Bid.com)
2) 1964-1967 Austin Healey 3000 BJ8
You know I must admit that I was shocked when Healeys started to fetch more money that an e-Type, it just didn't seem right somehow, I mean it is a lovely car and all, but is it really on a par with the incredible XKE? Clearly folks (in America at least) believe it is because just when I thought they had reached top money - the prices continued on rising with several cars selling in the $55 - 65,000 range and one example fetching over $90,000 last year in Monterey!
3) 1963-1971 Mercedes 230SL & 280SL
The 'Pagoda roof 'cars may have finally begun to have come of age. The 190 SL have been enjoying a revitalized market but last year we found quite a bit of interest not only in the 280SL but also the 230SL. This is most certainly market driven as 280's have been creeping up in value for some time, it is forcing folks to take a second look at the (near identical) 230 and 250SL models as the prices seem to make a LOT more sense.
4) 1965-1975 Porsche 911
Last time we created the 'Most Wanted' list we could see that there was a swell of buyers on the look out for early 911's and 912's. Well in 2003 that demand continued to grow. The 356 is now over $30,000 so early 911 and 12's are a very attractive option - but be warned they are getting hard to find.
5) 1954-1974 VW Beetle
You know people thought we were nuts when we reported last year that there was a real movement afoot buying up old VW beetles, 21 window vans and campers, but guess what they are still highly sought after. 2003 saw some record prices set for VW's like beetles selling routinely for $20-$25,000 and a 21-window that sold for nearly $50,000!
6) 1950-1957 Jaguar XK120-140
Jaguar XK120-140's continue to do well, the roadsters are probably in the most demand but DHC and even FHC have changed hands for big bucks.
7) 1969-1974 Triumph TR6
If you are into British sports cars this is definitely one car you should consider grabbing before it gets out of reach. I have a sneaky suspicion that this will go the way of the AH BJ8 in time. Triumphs TR6 really has it all, it's fast, it looks good and it's cheap to keep.
8) 1956-1962 MG A
Many MG A's found new homes in 2003. There seems to be interest in all years from the early 1500's the last of the MK II. Be careful if this is your cup of tea. There are loads out there that have been poorly restored. Panel alignment and fit is EVERYTHING on one of these. Check CAREFULLY before you buy (See www.AutomobileInspections.com)
9) 1954-1963 Triumph TR2 & TR3
Faster that the MG A and (in my opinion) more stylish. With the cut away doors and big two liter motor, you'll leave every MG you see in the dust. Early TR's are beautifully made, and a joy to drive.
10) 1950-1955 MG TD & TF
The TD and (to a lesser degree) the TF is still a popular choice among 'Sunday Drivers', with such a great club and national parts network they really give you everything you can want for in the vintage car department.
Ones to watch:
1970-1973 Datsun 240Z
1968-1975 Morgan Plus 8
1961-1967 Jaguar XKE Coupe
1986-1989 Mercedes Benz 560SL
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