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Yes, Collector Cars Can Be Worth Tens of Millions of Dollars

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author photo by Will Kinton March 2017

When you bring up the values of collector cars with people who aren't enthusiasts, you'll invariably be confronted with some comment along the lines of "no car could ever be worth that much money." If you really want to make someone's jaw drop, tell them that a few vintage Ferraris can be worth over $50 million.

And here's the thing: These expensive collector cars are totally worth the prices they command.

First and foremost, if people with money are willing to consistently pay that much for these cars, then they're absolutely worth that much. It's simple economics: The supply of these cars is very small, and the demand is very high, and the market will determine a price that's fair. That being said, economics doesn't explain the reasoning behind the demand.

But the reasoning behind the demand is also completely justified. These classic cars aren't just fantastic pieces of machinery, but also legitimate pieces of art. This puts the classic-car market into a whole new perspective, considering some paintings can be worth over $100 million -- for a piece of painted canvas!

And while some art critics may deny that cars can't be art -- pointing to the fact that a car has a purpose beyond itself -- this is a flawed approach. Because while cars, on their most basic level, may simply be able to move you around faster than walking, many of the most valuable collector cars are both beautiful and purposeful. The most sought-after Ferraris were an expression of Enzo Ferrari's passion for racing and his need to win. Likewise, the Ford GT40 was built as an expression of Henry Ford, Jr.'s anger towards Ferrari -- and his desire to beat them at Le Mans. Even cars that were not purpose-built for racing, like the Shelby Cobra and the Aston Martin DB4 Zagato, can be considered expressions of the artist -- designed to delight their owners and drivers in a particular way on occasional drives. The act of driving these cars is not dissimilar to that of viewing a painting or sculpture in an art gallery.

Additionally, many of the most expensive collector cars were often handmade by storied and accomplished craftsmen like Sergio Scaglietti -- artists of a different medium. And these cars are also historical artifacts, highly representative of the time in which they were built -- and with accomplished racing pedigrees. In many cases, these cars provided entertainment for hundreds of thousands of fans, much in the same way Formula 1 cars do now.

When you start to look past the fact that they have four wheels and a method of propulsion, it's almost surprising collector cars aren't worth much more.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Yes, Collector Cars Can Be Worth Tens of Millions of Dollars - Autotrader