Australia’s Most Collectible Cars Are Rapidly Falling In Price

Recent auction results have been very telling.

Australia’s Most Collectible Cars Are Rapidly Falling In Price

After a solid three years of super-high second-hand car prices – as well as intense speculation over truly collectible vehicles – it seems that the market is starting to finally correct itself, at least at the pointy end.

Pouring over car classifieds can be fun, boring and frustrating in equal measures for revheads – but they’re often not particularly indicative of what cars are actually selling for in Australia. From my own personal experience, every car I’ve ever bought, I found on Carsales, and every car I’ve ever bought, I’ve paid well below what they were listed for.

That’s why auction results are sometimes a better indicator of the state of the car market, especially where collectible cars are concerned. To get to the point: Shannons’ 2023 summer classic car auction, which is a great litmus test for the Australian car market, has just wrapped up – and some of its results are rather surprising.

In short – we’ve seen some cars that 3, 5 or even 10 years ago would have easily sold for way above estimate selling for way under estimate, which suggests that some of the heat might be coming out of the collectible car market (finally).

Take the auction headliner: a genuine 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO Phase III in Vermillion Fire with 73,000 original miles, offered without reserve. As a prime example of one of the most coveted Aussie muscle cars of all time, you would expect it to go for over $1 million – but it ended up ‘only’ netting $451,000.

A 1971 Ford Falcon XY GTHO Phase III in orange.
At almost half a million big ones, this GTHO wasn’t cheap – but we’re surprised it didn’t go for much, much more. Image: Shannons

Other classic cars also fetched surprisingly low prices, such as a grandpa-spec 1960 Ford Falcon XK that went for $11,500 and an (admittedly somewhat oxidised) 1969 Land Rover Series II A troop carrier that only netted a paltry $11,000.

It wasn’t just classic cars that disappointed somewhat at Shannons’ auction. JDM favourites, namely two Nissan Skyline GT-Rs – typically some of the hottest fodder for car collectors Down Under – also significantly underperformed.

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First of all, there was an R32 GT-R (a.k.a. a “Godzilla”) with 88,000kms on the clock that sold for $53,000, which was significantly below its estimate of $80,000 to $100,000. Over the last three years, you’d be lucky to pick up an R32 for $100k, WhichCar relates – but looks as if things are changing.

More interestingly, there was an R34 GT-R M·spec Nür (the most luxurious high-performance variant of the coveted R34) with 96,426km on the clock that actually went unsold and without any bids. The starting bid was $280,000 with an estimate of $400,000 to $440,000… And yet there wasn’t even a single bite. How ominous.

An R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R M·spec Nür in pale gold.
The R34 GT-R M·spec Nür is arguably the most desirable spec of the most desirable Japanese sports car ever made. Image: Nissan

That’s surprising, considering that during the peak of the pandemic in September 2020, an M·spec Nür sold at auction for over $400,000, as Drive reports.

Of course, we don’t want to read too much into these auction results – but they could be a hint at further market corrections to come, which for some revheads, might be really good news (or shocking news, if you’ve recently picked up a rare ride).

Good luck, punters.