Value of vintage SUVs is on the rise


They may not attract the same number of catcalls or envious stares as a classic Corvette or Jaguar, but the market for vintage SUVs is heating up.

Since 2008, the classic SUV segment has grown by 65 percent, according to Hagerty Insurance, which maintains a database of classic car values. This growth reflects the number of older SUVs that owners are driving and insuring like they would a classic car rather than one driven daily.

This compares to the regular classic car market, which has grown only 37 percent during the same period, according to Hagerty.


PHOTOS: Vintage SUVs with fastest-growing values

The vehicles in this mix include the Toyota Land Cruiser, Land Rover Series II and III, Jeep CJ and Grand Wagoneer, Ford Bronco, International Scout and Chevy Blazer.

“We’re seeing a shift in perception of what makes a vehicle cool,” said McKeel Hagerty, the insurer’s founder and chief executive. “Vintage SUVs are becoming more and more collectable, and it appears that trend will continue.”

This has led to an increase in the vehicles turning up in classic car auctions. Over the last five years, the number of SUVs offered at auction has soared 150 percent, Hagerty said. The value of those vehicles has risen 31 percent.

Nothing is more popular than the Toyota Land Cruiser, a versatile off-roading icon known in remote pockets of the world for its ruggedness. Though this model is still in production today, Hagerty said it tracks the more classic version, built from 1960 to 1984.

The most common variants were the two-door FJ40, the longer wheelbase FJ45 and the closed-cab FJ55 that closest resembles modern-day SUVs.

The average value of a vintage Land Cruiser is around $31,000 today. That’s up 35 percent from 2008. The FJ40 has a particularly robust following, with two restored models selling for $77,000 and $88,000 at Arizona classic car auctions in January.

The more humble Ford Bronco, built from 1966-77, is also getting plenty of attention from collectors. The value of these SUVs is up 61 percent from 2008, to an average of $25,250. A particularly clean example from 1976 sold for $41,250 at a Barrett-Jackson auction in West Palm Beach in April.

No discussion of classic SUVs is complete without mention of Land Rover. Series II and IIa models built from 1958-71 also rank high on Hagerty’s list of most valuable vintage SUVs. These models are considered by many to be the most rugged ever built, according to Hagerty. The current average value is $26,500.

Meanwhile, the IIa’s successor -- the Series III -- is also becoming more popular, with the market growing 50 percent since 2008.

Other classic SUVs making Hagerty’s list are the first generation of Chevrolet’s K-5 Blazer, built from 1969-72; the Jeep CJ-5 and longer wheelbase CJ-7, built from 1954-83 and 1976-86, respectively; the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, built from 1963-91; and the International Scout, built from 1961-80.


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