According to an index of the 50 most valuable automobiles compiled by the Historic Automobile Group and cited by The Economist, the past decade has been a great time to invest in blue-chip classic cars. Since 2002, their value has risen by almost 450 percent, which is a much larger increase than that of the MSCI World index, an index of stocks in developed markets, which increased by a relatively paltry 147 percent during the same period.
A case in point, The Economist points out, is one of the most expensive, ultra-rare classic cars to be sold at auction this year at Pebble Beach: a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT 14-Louver Berlinetta that sold for $9.46 million. The gavel price was within the car's estimated price range of $9 million to $11 million. An even better case in point at Monterey Week this year was the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider that sold for $27.5 million, a record sum for a car sold in the US – the second-highest price paid for a car at auction ever. On top of that, it beat the high end of its presale estimate by over $10 million! The most expensive auction car ever remains Juan Manuel Fangio's Mercedes W196R F1 racer, which sold earlier this year for $29.65 million. Last year, a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K von Krieger Special Roadster was auctioned off for almost $12 million. In 2011, a 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa prototype sold for over $16 million. You get the picture.
But if you're not into making money on classic cars, then maybe you should start a collection of stamps, coins or violins, all of which have been increasing in value for the past decade. Or just go to work.