As we say “Bye Felicia” to the rollercoaster ride that was 2022, it’s time to take one more look back at all the cars, the price tags, and the votes that made up Nice Price or No Dice over the past twelve months.
Amazingly, this is our sixth wrap-up recapping our weekday contest of cars, crazy prices, and frequently flowery ads. It was a weird year as we watched prices on both new and used cars spiked due to issues with the supply chain, pent-up demand from the pandemic, and people selling pretty much anything just all generally being a bunch of money-grubbing Scrooge McDucks.
None of that was a worry for us, however. After all, we weren’t actually seeking to buy any of the vehicles that came under our auspicious gaze, we only sought to pass judgment — and frequent derision — on their prices. That’s something I think we all enjoy and I’d like to extend heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you for coming around each weekday morning and participating in both comments and votes. You make this all worth doing.
Okay, before we jump into the numbers let’s go over the rules I set for compiling all the year’s data. It’s fundamentally the same as last year, but I figure few of us wouldn’t mind the refresher. I know I would.
When I calculated things like country of origin, I did so based on the manufacturer’s country, not the car’s. That means a Volkswagen built in Mexico would still be classified as a German car. I also took some liberties with the years on replica cars, estimating the target year rather than the build year so things like a Jag SS replica built in the ’80s get slotted into the ’40s rather than the ’80s. Also, this takes me a while to compile so while it’s data from most of the year, I’ve had to exclude the last two weeks. We’ll pick those up next year. Finally, all Canadian price tags have been converted to freedom bucks for simplicities sake.
Okay, now on to the fun!
I’d like to point out the inclusiveness of the chart above. In the past year, we had contenders from all around the globe with the only notable holdouts being Australia and Antarctica.
Since we cull most of our candidates from the local classifieds here in the U.S. of A., we naturally leaned heavily on the home team, with American-sourced cars and trucks taking the mantle for the most contenders.
Perhaps not unexpectedly, both Germany and Japan stepped up as heavy hitters as well. Each of those countries has long offered a deep bench of fun and interesting cars. Rounding out the repeat offenders were England, Italy, and Sweden. No surprise there. Perhaps a bit more unexpected were the year’s one-and-dones; Brazil, France, India, Mexico, Soth Korea, and the former Yugoslavia.
Do you have a favorite decade? Maybe the Disco ‘70s? Or, perhaps you’re a millennial who only has eyes for the new millennium? Whatever your decade dotage, it’s not surprising to see that most of this year’s candidates came from the 1990s and early 2000s. After all, that’s the sweet spot for used cars and trucks at the moment.
As we trend backward in time, we see fewer cars available and hence making less of an impact on our contest. The most recent decade (2010 — present) was less represented too, but that’s probably because so many of us are averse to that “new car smell.”
While it would be nice if people were giving away used cars willy-nilly, that prospect would make our shenanigans a lot more pointless. Fortunately, people still like getting money for their stuff—seemingly more so than ever—and that means we looked at a lot of price tags this year.
Those all totaled up to a heady $4,159,838 in cars trucks and other ephemera. That’s a sizable jump from the $3,363,306 and change last year, meaning either prices have been spiking significantly or that we all just started having fancier taste in our imaginary purchases.
For the year, that total averages out to a not-so-crazy $16,639.36 per candidate. According to NADA, the average sale price for a dealer-offered used car in 2022 was $31,025, which represents more than a 30 percent jump from 2021. Most of our candidates were sourced from private sellers so we were well below that average.
Delving a little more deeply into the numbers, our cheapest candidate was the 1993 Mercedes-Benz 400E we looked at in January for which was asked a mere $1,000. The uber-cheap price was the result of an engine misfire, the origin of which went undiagnosed in the ad. Unsurprisingly at that low price, 88 percent of you were willing to roll up your sleeves and jump under the hood, awarding the broken Benz with a Nice Price win.
On the extreme other end of the price spectrum, the most expensive car we considered was last month’s 1958 Facel Vega Excellence. That classic behemoth was put on the market at $185,000. Appropriately enough, the ad was listed on the semi-snooty Hemmings Classifieds. Considering the 53 percent No Dice loss it suffered, it’s perhaps unsurprising for it to still be there.
As we all know, the most popular vehicles on the market these days are compact crossovers. And yes, they do all look alike. Admittedly, we did look at a few of those this past year, but I’m guessing that our collective tastes are a bit broader than those of the general public. That’s pretty much the reason you’re here right now—your greater interest in all-things-cars rather than just get-me-there rides.
Most of our candidates come from suggestions from you and I have to say that it warms the cockles of my heart (and who doesn’t love a warm heart cockle?) to see that once again your recommendations leaned heavily on sports cars. Combined with coupes, those made up over 40 percent of our cars this year. On a less happy note, wagons were outpaced by SUVs. We’ll have to try harder in 2023.
This year we looked at vehicles from more than 33 different makers. Some of them were mainstream, while others were far less well-known. One thing we all know is that we all have some favorites. Let’s see how yours faired in our list.
As you can see, this year’s big winner was Ford, coming in with 23 contenders. BMW was right on its tail with 21 while country-mate Mercedes-Benz rounded out the top three with 17 contenders.
Ford also took the top prize in the less brag-worthy category of greatest divergence in losses over wins. The only manufacturer to see wins outweigh losses? Mercedes-Benz.
The voting is the reason we’re all here. Well, that and the one time our respective parents’ decided to get randy. This past year you all did it (voting, I mean) 764,495 times. Out of those, you went Nice Price 95 times, threw down one 50/50 tie, and No Diced the remaining 151.
Out of those, our biggest win with a 90.9 percent thumb’s up vote was the 1972 Opel GT we looked at in July. At $7,500, that proved an extremely popular choice.
Our biggest loser for the year was another sports car, albeit one that was way more expensive and far less mobile than the winning Opel. That was the 1968 Ferrari 365GTB/4 replica roller that was one of September’s candidates. Its condition and $39,999 price came together in a perfect storm of distaste, which manifested in a monumental 98.8 percent No Dice loss. Unsurprisingly, it’s still on the market today.
The narrowest win was earned by the $3,995 2002 Lincoln Blackwood we looked at in May which squeaked by with a 50.1 Nice Price vote. The closest loss was the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 SRT that we considered in August and which asked $26,888. That earned the same 50.1 percent vote, but on the losing side of the coin. The tie? That was the 1923 Ford Bucket T we judged in May. At $23,500, it ended up in that divisive 50/50 vote.
We denote the most popular car by being the one to garner the most votes of all resulting in a Nice Price win. Over the course of the previous two years, that honor was held by Porsche. Unfortunately for the Stuttgart brand, a three-peat just wasn’t in the cards.
Instead, the most popular car this year was Bavarian-born and bred. The honor goes to the 2007 BMW 550i that we looked at all the way back in January.
Not only did that E60 present beautifully, but it came with a six-speed stick and a modest $7,400 asking price. That spurred both the voting and an 87.8 percent Nice Price win.
Now, we won’t call it a win, per se more likely infamy, but at 223 posts, the 1989 Dodge Caravan from January did manage to garner the most comments. That minivan did have a rare combo of a turbo four and a five-speed stick, but at $18,225, its price proved to much to swallow. It also came up with a close to the record 90 percent No Dice loss.
Holy crap, that was a long post! Of course, we had to cover a lot of ground — and nearly a full year. I hope you found it as worthwhile to read as I did grueling to compile.
Before we put a fork in this post, however, I want to reiterate to each and every one of you how much it means to me that you come here every day to be part of NPOND. I know I say this every year, but it’s true—I greatly appreciate all of you and the contributions you make to the fun we have together. I hope it’s just as rewarding to you.
Okay, I’ll close out now, so we can all go and get done what needs to be done before we can ring in 2023. Hopefully, we’ll all be back for more fun in the new year. Be safe, and cheers to you, Jalops, one and all!