Recently, I read an analysis of the big Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale from from H&H Classic Parts. Specifically, this analysis claimed that classic Plymouths were worth more than classic Chevys! I said 'Vette' the hell are you talking about!' There's no possible way the average classic Plymouth could be worth more than the average classic Chevy.
After all, the Corvette and Camaro make up a big percentage of all the restored Chevrolet classics in existence and these cars consistently bring top dollar. While the analysis from H&H is interesting (and I don't think they made this mistake intentionally), their conclusions are incorrect. Here's where things went wrong.
First, A Recap
The final analysis of this year's Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson from H&H had quite a few interesting tidbits. Some of the highlights:
*Classic cars with a manual transmission sold for about $10k more than cars with an automatic
*Classics with dark interiors sold for more than those with light interiors
*Classics from the 50's and 60's brought the highest average prices, despite the fact these were the most common cars at the show
But the tidbit that seems most incorrect is the ranking of vehicle values by brand. Their analysis had Plymouth and Dodge listed above Chevrolet, and once you review their calcs, it's easy to see why this is wrong.
Mistake #1 - You Gotta Exclude Trucks
When H&H put together their data, they didn’t exclude trucks from the equation. Classic trucks, while really cool, simply don’t pull in the bids that classic muscle cars do. Because classic Chevy truck sales numbers were rolled in with classic Chevy car sales numbers, and because Plymouth never offered a truck (at least not past 1940), Plymouth's numbers were going to be better.
Stated simply, you can't average classic trucks AND classic cars and then compare the result to cars only. If you do, you end up with a bad result.
While it's true that H&H also ranked Dodge ahead of Chevrolet, and it's true that there were classic Dodge trucks at this year's auction, it's a question of volume. There were dozens of classic Chevy trucks at this year's auction, but only a handful of Dodges. Just like Plymouth, Dodge get's the benefit of an average that largely excludes low-priced trucks.
Mistake #2 - Excluding the Top 5%
The second mistake made in the H&H analysis was the process they used to exclude vehicle values. Specifically, H&H dropped the top and bottom 5% of values. They did this to "improve standard deviations," but in the process they excluded an awful lot of valuable Camaros and Corvettes. Classic Vette's bring top dollar at auction, and this year's Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale featured some of the most valuable Corvettes ever sold.
Specifically, this L88 (one of only 20 in existence) brought a record-breaking $3.5 million bid, this 69' "Rebel" Vette did about $2.8 million, and of course the first 2014 COPO Camaro sold for $700k. When you look at the values of Corvettes and Camaros, then compare those to old MOPARs, it's hard to believe that the "average" old MOPAR could be worth more.
The highest-grossing MOPAR at this year's auction sold for $550k (a very nice 1970 Superbird). If the most valuable Plymouth is worth less than 20% of the most valuable Chevy, how could the average Plymouth possibly be worth more than the average Chevy?
Summing up, auction analysis is hard. It's easy to find fault with someone else's methodologies. Considering that H&H actually sells parts for Classic Chevy's, it's doubtful that they made this mistake intentionally. However, if someone tells you that the average classic MOPAR is worth more than the average classic Chevy, shake your head and say "Corvette." Then just walk away.