It seems like when anyone discusses anything in the world of old cars, monitary value is associated with everything. If it's rare, it must be worth a lot. Something can only be collectable if it's worth a lot. You own a classic car? Oh, you must have paid a fortune for it! I don't think any of this is actually true.
A rare car is simply something that doesn't exist in large numbers. I have no personal thought on a cut-off, but I think that total production numbers are far less important to me than relative "survival" numbers. There could have been 100k of car x produced in 1955, but if there's only 5 around today, the car is now rare. It certainly becomes a bit of a gray area when it comes down to trim levels. Convenience, color, or upholstery options mean very little to me. If the car you own is one of 5 with a brown dashboard, even if there are 10's of thousands of that actual car around, I would say the dashboard is rare and not the car. Oddly though, I would pay more attention and it would mean more to me if someone had a car with a rare performance option package--like a bigger engine or FI, coupled with a better suspension, and brakes for example. Though, the car on it's own would have to be rather interesting as well.
I think though, if you equate rare with value, then you're only understanding half of the equation. Monetary value only comes into play when you add in this like desirability and personal worth to something that's rare. Barry's ultra rare Conti isn't worth much because not many people really care enough about it at the current time to warrant big money. Sometimes it's about the car just being known as a hunk of junk--I don't ever see a cadillac cimarron in any condition or mileage being worth more than a few grand for that very reason, even if it was the last one on earth. But I think cars like Barry's Conti don't go for more because most people don't even know they exist. There simply isn't enough of a hook or nostalgia around such a car to register with most people--IMO.
And yet, there's a small group of people out there who would pay even larger sums of money for super clean Westfalia edition Vanagons. People can find significant value in some of the weirdest things.
Back when Ford GT's were current models and most dealers were asking ridiculous premiums over MSRP, there was a website called FordGTPrices.com (don't know if it's still active or not.) Their contention was that the planned production of 3500 cars wasn't "rare" so there would be enough to go around at regular prices (4038 ended up being made) Some cars I do consider rare include the Porsche Carrera GT (1270), the 959 (337), the Bugatti Veyron (300), and the McLaren F1 (106.) My personal cutoff would be 3000 total production as being "kind of rare" but 1500 or less is probably a better number.
2012 Porsche Carrera 991
It also has nothing to do with desirability. Just because your Pontiac Aztek is rare, doesn't mean I want it.
"I have several cars that are rare and valuable. However, probably the rarest car I own is the least valuable.
My newly acquired '33 Continental Flyer in great original condition is the most rare as so many were destroyed in the metal drives of WWII. It was more valuable as scrap steel as it was one of the very first all-steel bodies. I know of less than 10 in any body style that exist today."
rare is a very relative term. Anything cn be rare when compared to something that is much more abundant. For example...a 2008 Honda Accord EX-L Sedan with a 5-Speed transmission is rare. Accord sedan's arnt rare....Accord sedans with a manual transmissionre still not that rare, but finding one with leather and a manual is very very tuff. There simply arnt many out there.
For me, any car that i can't find locally for sale on any given day....i would consider rare. clean (Low Mileage, 5-Speed, all original) E36 M3's are getting pretty rare, as i would have to travel many miles to purchase such a car. There simply arnt any around here...and the ones that do exist...i never see for sale. Cars tht were produced in low numbers (relative) are rare from from the start...cars like the Porsche 968. less the 5 thousand were sold in North America. Good luck finding a clean low mileage 6 Speed Coupe for sale close to home. Certain colors are VERY RARE. I don't find it to be abuse of the term by advertising your car as being rare if you have a Color that was produced in double digits. If i owned a Futura Yellow MKIV Jetta...i would most def. advertise it as being rare. Sure, Jetta's are common....but good luck finding another Futura Yellow Jetta for sale.....anywhere in the country for that matter. Its a Rare hard to find car in that specific color. And if thats the only color you want to buy...then that is most def. a rare hard to find car for you.
If you are going to discredit a car as not being rare because of its single year color or the fact that there are millions of Accords and having one with a manual and leather with a 4cyl shouldnt be considered rare (even though the combo is very rare)...we can argue semantics all day and say barry's Continental isn't rare. Its a 356. There are many of those. Its a trim level just like EX-L 5MT is for the Accord Sedan. The name was chnged to 356A and very many of those were produced.
I wouldn't call my Camaro rare, it's a Camaro for God's sake, but it is comparably rare. When I go to Ocean City or Carlisle or some other large event I may see five other chrome bumper second-gens, and maybe only one other with the RS front (not just split bumpers, which many people do, but also different header panel, front valence, parking lights, tail lights, steering wheel, etc.). But I'll easily see fifty or a hundred '69s. Same with most smaller, local events. I'll be the only second gen, and there will be twenty or thirty first gens.
Is it rare? No. They're out there and there's plenty of them, but when compared to the number of surviving or restored first gens or Novas or Chevelles or Mustangs, it is comparably rare.
My S8, again, is it rare? One of 300 Final Edition cars, and one of 100 built in this color combination globally. Maybe one of eighty still in existence. The D2 Audi isn't rare, but compared to other Audi offerings of its time, it is. B5 S4s, Mk1 Audi TTs, etc., all exist in much higher numbers. Being rare didn't help its value either, an $88,000 sticker price, I picked it up nearly mint for $9,500 (which is a damned good value for the buyer, I've rarely been in a more comfortable highway cruiser, and I've ridden in some pretty nice stuff, think Bentley and the like).
From another site:
I've always heard that the three things that determine a collectable's value are Rarity, Condition and Desirability (the old three-legged-stool thing).
Of course, the most dynamic of the three is desireability (demand). As discussed 57 Chevy's are by no stretch, rare, but even in average condition, and even sedans (which back in the Fifties we thought were truly uncool) still seem to command a premium.
The Mark II stool's desirability leg is a bit short.
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I get to quote myself from when I used to be employed by this site. Spiffy. This is what dividing by zero feels like, or falling through the last layer of the Inception dream into limbo.
To hear Plato tell it, somewhere above us in the realm of forms and ideas there is one, and only one, perfect automobile, of which the lemon you're driving in the physical world is merely a crude imitation (you've probably suspected something along those lines already). Plato, obviously, has never thumbed through his local Auto Trader. Wading into the deadly morass of adjectives and promises in those rags can be daunting, so we at Motive have assembled a collection of the most egregious turns of phrase you're likely to encounter. If you're just beginning to look for a car, a red flag should run up your mental pole whenever you encounter anything on our list. If you're selling a car, consider the following a primer on how to unload your old heap.
The 1958 Ferrari 412S? That's rare. That base-model Kia Rio sitting unloved in the back corner of a dealer's lot? That's also rare, but in an entirely different way. Problems begin cropping up when sellers begin confusing, as they often do, "rare" with "desirable." That pea-green Country Squire wagon with woodgrain paneling and a green cloth interior is indeed rare. It is not, unless you are in possession of a Kermit fetish, desirable.
I love seeing unrestored classic cars in great condition. Of course i admire all the time it takes to get a car in concourse of elegance condition,but it is not "original" anymore. I guess that might sound silly but it`s just me.
89 W201 2.5-16v - 80 Corrolla KE70 wagon - 77 Caprice Coupe.
I normally spend ~30 hours a week driving. Anything that I usually see once a month or less during the summer is something I would consider rare. I don't even care how many of them were made, its about how many are still on the street today. I wouldn't consider something rare just because it has an uncommon paint color or trim level. It might make them cool, but not rare.
I would differentiate between rare, and super rare. Those are the cars you get excited to see at all.
To me, a car can not be rare if it is still in production, or has a hard to find trim level. Rare cars are cars with single digit production numbers that where made 50 years ago. The 20th edition GTI is a prime example. Its one of my favorite cars and they are very nice but they are not "rare". Sought after, yes, but not rare.
As in it "scarce" me to think of how you would replace some of the parts if you got rear ended in your coupe quattro?How about the word "scarce"?
'11 TTS Coupe
'08 A4 Avant 2.0t S-line Titanium
'01 A4 Avant 1.8t S-line (Sold)
'90 Coupe Quattro 20v (Sold)
'95 "Getta" VR6 (Sold)
Meh, rare is a relative term. You can't define it on its own, it's always relative. An Accord is not rare compared to any car. An S2000 is rare compared to an Accord. A 427 Cobra is rare compared to an S2000. A Bugatti Royale is rare compared to a Cobra. A MKII is rare compare to a Royale.
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89 W201 2.5-16v - 80 Corrolla KE70 wagon - 77 Caprice Coupe.
People mixup the words rare and uncommon when talking about cars.
Without talking about cars where there has been a deliberate limit on production, cars like the Bugatti Royale, Porsche 930SE and Ford GT40 are rare because not many people bought them. A fully optioned Honda Accord with leather and stick shift isn't rare, it's merely uncommon. And even then it depends on the area, my Citroen is common around my area, yet in other areas they are non existent. Does this make it rare? Not by a long shot.