How color affects classic car value

When buying a classic vehicle, car color can be an important factor, affecting not only our preferences but also the car resale value. Nowadays, more than three cars out of four are white, black, silver or gray, according to the chemical company BASF. However, off-beat colors like orange and lemon yellow can bring something more, adding originality and taste. It is therefore not surprising that the color of a vintage car affects its value.

So Hagerty’s insider team looked at some 3,500 vintage auctions and found a strong correlation between color and classic car valuation. They focused on Porsche cars, which are obviously highly collectible and are sold with a wide range of color options. Two criteria were examined, the value of the sale versus the odds and the time required to sell the considered car. A rare color augurs for a longer sale.


A significant impact

The main conclusion is that there is indeed a premium for some bright colors, including yellow and orange. The orange and yellow Porsches sell between 1,500 and 2,000 euros higher than average. However, they are harder to sell too, with a 63% sell rate versus 71% for more “classic” colors. Gray, white and black make it possible to sell on the odds, but in a quicker time.

The green is a more difficult color, as green cars sells badly and generally under their market value (nearly 2000 euros below their market value). Black sells well but also under the market value. It is assumed that the black color shows more imperfections which makes black cars more difficult to sell on the odds.

A matter of shades and experiences

It should be noted, however, that the effect of colors on classic car value is subtle. A light yellow (“light yellow”) will boost the price by 30% according to this study, while a dark yellow (“bahama yellow ») will have a negative effect of some 8%. Hagerty does provide detailed results of their survey.  

Note also that the study is only interested in Porsche cars. However, brands sometimes have “natural” colors. We are hence used to enjoy MGs in English green, Renault Alpines in royal blue and Ferraris in rosso corsa red. These “natural” colors are to be taken into account in the color valuation process.

Colors are all the more important than the collector is a novice. Thus, the deputy director of Artcurial Motorcars, Pierre Novikoff underlines that “when customers don’t know a lot about cars, color is very important to them. Then, when they become connoisseurs, they put it into perspective. ”And they look for the rare pearl.

Matching Numbers, Matching Colors

Finally, what matters for most classic car collectors is the color of the car matches the original one. Many collectors therefore want to return to the original color of their oldtimer when they renovate it. Classic cars must be ‘matching numbers, matching Colors’. It is on this condition that a rare color can enhance the value of a vintage car.

A color tells a story of a classic car and its first owner. Pastel blue, white and gray colors were all the rage in the 50s and 60s. Then appear at the end of the 60s, beginning of the 70s, more flashy colors, such as orange or green. Many Ferraris were sold in yellow at this time, while brown became fashionable for the cars from Maranello in the 1980s. Each color has therefore a different effect on the car perception depending on the time it was produced.


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