My Car Quest

October 2, 2014

Is The “Sports Car Market Pocket Price Guide” Accurate, Useful Or Worthless?

by Mike

Are classic car price guides accurate? Are they useful even if they may not be accurate? Or are they not worth the cost?

I subscribe to both the “Haggerty Price Guide” (formerly “The Cars That Matter Price Guide”) and the “Sports Car Market Pocket Price Guide” (SCM Guide) which is the one I will discuss today.

The SCM Guide has other useful information in addition to the price numbers. They provide the number of each model produced which can be helpful in determining the future collectability.

The SCM Guide also provides their judgement on “Investment Grade” which is a grade from A to F with A being the top quality investment cars with “the attributes of style, performance, historical significance, rarity and competition history”, and F being “Cars with few if any redeeming characteristics…”. The Grade B, C and D are in between these two.

They also provide a forecast rating for each model which ranges from five stars to one star. Five stars is defined as “Value likely to increase much more that the market at large, perhaps as much as 25% in the next 12 months”.

The one star is defined as “Often a recent production car that is still depreciating heavily, or a vintage car whose maintenance costs far outweigh its market value and appeal…”. The other ratings are in between these two. They also show a percent change from the last issue. The “Buy-Sell” price range is based on a condition 2 car (the SCM Guide does not define a condition 2 car).

I find all of this information very useful even if some of it is subjective and solely the opinion of the SCM editors. I am sure that one persons Investment Grade “B” car is another persons “A” car or “C” car.

The data presented here is from the latest issue of the SCM Guide dated Summer-Fall 2013. And I am reporting data from the Sports Car Market Auction Database (going back to 2011) which is available to Sports Car Market Platinum subscribers and shows the auction sales of actual cars on the date shown. I also will report some data from my own search of cars for sale which may have been written about in my Car of the Day Posts.

I have selected four cars to review: the Maserati Bora, the Maserati Ghibli SS Coupe, the Iso Grifo and the Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada.

For you regular readers of My Car Quest my car selection should not be a surprise.

Here we go.

Maserati Bora

Maserati Bora

Maserati Bora

SCM Guide Price Range: $43,000 to $68,000

SCM Auction Database:

May 2013-$77,000; Aug. 2011-$43,460; Aug. 2011-$98,050; Aug. 2011-$60,500.

I recently wrote about a Bora for sale on eBay with a buy it now price of $99,000.

In December 2012 another Bora was for sale at a price of $108,500.

Maserati Bora

Maserati Bora

Clearly the sellers of these last two cars did not read the SCM Guide with their asking price way above the SCM Guide price. And two out of the four cars in the SCM Auction Database are well over the SCM Guide price.

Maserati Ghibli SS Coupe

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

SCM Guide Price Range: $95,000 to $130,000

SCM Auction Database:

Jan. 2013-$137,500; Jan. 2013-$162,250; March 2013-$151,250

Maserati Ghibli

Maserati Ghibli

All three of the Maserati Ghibli SS Coupes in the SCM Auction Database this year were sold above the top of the SCM Guide price.

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifo

SCM Guide Price Range: $210,000 to $300,000

SCM Auction Database:

Jan. 2012-$352,000

This Iso Grifo is for sale at a price of $303,000. This Iso Grifo was for sale several months ago at a price of $490,500.

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifo

Iso Grifos for sale are rare so the market data is slim but there are sellers and at least one buyer who think the top end of the price range is well above $300,000.

I own an Iso Grifo and I know several Grifo owners and I do not know anyone who would sell a condition 2 Grifo for $300,000, or less.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

SCM Guide Price Range: $395,000-$530,000

SCM Auction Database:

Feb. 2012-$462,510; May 2011-$570,800

There are very few Bizzarrini GT 5300s that come up for sale and good ones for sale are extremely rare. One of the two cars in the SCM Auction Database sold two years ago for well over the top of the SCM Guide.

SCM had this to say about the Bizzarrini that sold in February 2012 for $462,510,

Originally blue with red leather, it was redone in Ferrari-style red and black. Extensively used and raced. Paint cracked. Rubber dry and gone in places. Chrome redone but rusted through. Rear glass scratched. Last oil change was in 1991, apparently. Interior just OK with steering wheel missing pieces. Engine bay of a driver. The perfect example of “stored wet,” as they say. Will require recommissioning before being put back on the road or track.

This is clearly not a condition 2 car yet it sold for $462,510 more than one year ago and the new owner has likely spent a bundle more getting this Bizzarrini back into shape.

How much would it cost to turn this Bizzarrini into a condition 2 car? Far more than the $530,000 stated by the SCM Guide once the restoration costs are added to the purchase price.

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada

I am aware of another Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada that sold a few months ago for $400,000 and it was in non-operating condition and needed just about everything done to it. The engine had not been turned over in years and there was extensive electrolysis.

The new owner will spend much more than $530,000 to turn this Bizzarrini into a condition 2 car adding the purchase price to the restoration cost.

I own a Bizzarrini GT 5300 Strada and I don’t know a Bizzarrini owner who would sell a condition 2 Bizzarrini GT 5300 for $530,000 or less.

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Summary

Keeping a classic car price guide up to date and accurate is a difficult task. The SCM Guide is quoting prices that are lower than reality, even lower than the data published in their own Auction Database of actual sales prices, at least for the models discussed here.

The SCM Guide states that their prices are for a condition 2 car, yet they do not define what a condition 2 car is. In any event the price ranges they publish are very wide for cars all in the same condition (condition2) – more than 40% for the cars discussed here. Assuming that Steve McQueen did not own any of the cars in question how can cars of the same model and in the same condition vary by more than 40% in value?

Sports Car Market should try harder to be accurate – after all they are selling this information and inaccurate data does a disservice to both buyers and sellers of classic cars.

I give the “Sports Car Market Pocket Price Guide” a “D” rating on my scale of A to F for accuracy of reporting classic car values.

My review of the “Hagerty Price Guide” is here.

SCM Pocket Price Guide

SCM Pocket Price Guide Cover

Comments

  1. brianwilliams335 says:

    Good analysis. I agree with your grade of ” D”. I came to the same conclusion after looking at valuations of various cars. Particularly, the valuation given the Porsche 912 caught my eye.
    Perhaps the SCM editors were distracted by the almost explosive recent upswing in many vintage Ferrari values.

  2. I guess it depends on what you use the guide for. If you want past history it gives a weak snapshot of what happened. For car purchase I would say it’s weak. The guide is only as good as the information collected and updated. I know for a fact that that other guides are proactive on collecting data rather than just pulling data from past auctions. IMO for a guide to be good it should be updated on a frequent basis regardless of the auctions. There are enough data sources these days to do this.

  3. ncgrifo says:

    The SCM price guide, when referring to the Grifo, is still using pricing variables from 25 years ago such as “add $7,000 for 427 V8; $2,500 for long-nose model. Deduct $2,500 for 351 V8.” Not only is this outdated, but in the current market it’s absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing for them. Despite my best efforts, they won’t fix it.

  4. Robert Altieri says:

    Bravo! Well said. I have been saying this for years. They know absolutely nothing about these cars or thier value. Because all they are interested in are over inflated Ferraris and Porsches.

  5. Sports Car magazine has ” jumped the shark”

  6. Classic Maserati’s have increased significantly recently, I refused an offer of over $200.000 AU for my rhd Bora this month. I think that being rhd makes this a very rare car with a lot of potential.

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