The Value of US Vintage Cars

In our last blog we discovered the true definition of a ‘vintage’ car and what sets it apart from a ‘classic’. In this piece we’ll be looking into the landmark cars of the vintage era with particular reference to US cars, which held over 90% of world market share at that time. Did you know that such a car can fetch in the £100,000s? This article aims to find out why.

The Vintage Era

The vintage era, largely agreed as dating between 1919-1931, was a turning point in automotive history. Largely dominated by the main US producers of General Motors and Ford (see graph below), it saw the production-line method of manufacture really take off – so much so that by 1931, 6 million cars were being made per year, across the globe. That’s more than double the figure of 1920.

Key Players

As mentioned above, the key players of the vintage era were GM (owner of then market leaders Chevrolet and Buick), and behemoths Ford. Such was the demand for vehicles of that period, that in 1923 Ford produced 1,831,128 cars, a production figure they didn’t supersede again until 1965. These really were the boom years of motoring, featuring:


  • Model T (1908-1927) – over 15,000,000 produced
    due to the smoothness and effectiveness of the production line, the average cost of a Ford in the 1920s was $395.00 – roughly equivalent to £4,000 in today’s money.


  • Series 490 (1915-1922) – 7.8 million produced
  • Superior (1923-1926) – 2 million produced

Other notable US models

  • Buick Roadster
  • Plymouth Model Q
  • Dodge Model 30
  • Lincoln Tourer

Valuing American Vintage

Despite the vast numbers of manufacture for cars like the Ford Model T, nowhere near as many have survived through to 2013. Added to that, those that have survived are not all necessarily in perfect condition. Those that are will fetch between £6-16,000, significantly more than their [comparative] original price.

What should be pointed out though, is that although 1000s of certain models were made, there were a number of different sub-types within those that could be much rarer. An example would be this 1925 Lincoln Seven-Passenger Sport Touring:

While 1000s of Lincolns were made, only 324 were built in this body style. This particular example was restored in 2004, and sold at auction in 2012 for £50,000. As a rule, the older the car, and the greater the condition, the more value one might expect from it. Vintage vehicles of impeccable condition will inevitably become rarer and as such the price will appreciate, unlike most cars. As a result, they are a decent investment and can even be used as collaterals for loans.

For more information on the value of your vintage car, contact a member of the borro team on 0808 163 9537.

Next Week…

Although the US led the market in terms of production numbers, we will conclude our vintage section of the car blog next week with a look at European car manufacture of the 1920s, in particular the UK. This was a defining age for Britain’s motoring industry, featuring the Morris and Austin brands, to name but a few.

Until next time, Ed Hallinan and the borro team.

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