American Car Collecting Is Hilariously Basic

Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP
Photo: Ron Edmonds/AP

Classic car sales website Hemmings has used its immense archives to show us all which classic cars are most popular in which state, and the results are hilarious. We American classic car buyers are basic as hell, there’s no way around it.

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Hemmings, the “World’s Largest Collector Car Marketplace” has dug through its classifieds from 2010 and newer to find out which classic cars are most commonly listed in each state. And before you continue reading, go ahead and guess which car came out on top in almost every state.

Surely you figured it out: it’s the Chevrolet Corvette. No, this isn’t remotely interesting.

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Literally 40 out of 50 states had Chevrolet Corvette as their most commonly listed classic car, while six states most commonly listed the Ford Mustang for sale, and four states—Texas, Wyoming, Alabama and Washington—most commonly listed the Ford Thunderbird, MG TD, Chevy Bel Air, Porsche 911, respectively.

Eighty percent of U.S. states had Corvettes as the most commonly listed car; because of how boring that is, Hemmings tried to get a bit more value out of their exercise by leaving the Corvette and Mustang out of the study. The results:

Chevrolet Camaros. Everywhere. Across both the midwest and the east coast.

So to try to try to make their article a bit more interesting than just “Americans basically just buy and sell Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs,” Hemmings decided to exclude dealer sales from their study. Their reasoning, here, is that dealers tend to stock up on the popular models.

Hemmings explains why, saying:

It makes sense for them from a business standpoint – margins and likelihood of sales are higher with established makes and models – to the extreme of single-model specialists that advertise in Hemmings.

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With only private sellers included in the study, the results were, Once again:

Chevrolet Corvette all across the map.

So like the previous results that included dealer sales, Hemmings ditched the Corvettes and Mustangs and found:

Ford Thunderbirds and Chevy Camaros pretty much everywhere.

At that point, Hemmings gave up trying to make it seem like American classic car sales are at all interesting, saying:

That’s probably the most diverse and representative result we’re gonna get without whipping up some advanced algorithms and making some more judgement calls on which models to include.

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The classic car site says its methodology to use “number of cars listed” made sense, because “it by default indicated that the cars already existed in those states, signifying that collectors in those states deliberately selected those cars.”

And while they admit their method isn’t perfect, it does make the American collector car crowd seem hilariously predictable. Well, except for the classic car fans in Wyoming. They’re apparently huge fans of MG TDs. Which is awesome.

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Go on and head over to Hemmings to see the entire article, with its colorful maps of the U.S. (but not that colorful, because American classic car buyers are basic).

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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DISCUSSION

cmurr
Doctor-G-and-the-wagen

I get that the US market can be surprisingly shallow for collector cars, but really now. You’d think the E30, NSX, Viper, Z-cars, or even some old school SUVs would show up in there somewhere. It’s not like I’m asking for some weird Eastern Soviet Bloc sports car made out of Styrofoam and powered by a 2-cylinder engine with a goat bladder as the fuel tank.

Old people with collector car money need to stop being THAT predictable.