2009 Corvette Market Analysis: How Low Can We Go?

2009 Corvette Market Analysis: How Low Can We Go?
The 1995 ZR1 was 1 of 5 Corvette Models showing No-Change in Value in 2009

In previous years, we were able to break up our annual market analysis into two top 10 lists of Corvettes that were appreciating and those that were depreciating. But 2009 wasn’t kind to Corvette values and the days of double-digit growth appear to have gone by the wayside for the foreseeable future. Our Corvette Values expert Bob Kroupa of VETTE-N-VESTMENTS takes us through the numbers, so grab a tissue and gird your loins before clicking the “more” button because it ain’t pretty.

The 2009 “Corvette” calendar year was quite unusual; it was one like we have never encountered in the 30 years of publishing our Corvette Market Letter. The turmoil in the US economy had far-reaching implications that impacted both the Corvette resale market and new Corvette production.

As we look back at past annual reports, there have been many years when our ‘Top Ten’ Appreciation Chart showed double digit growth.

Last year there was a signal that all was not well when we reported only one Corvette model in the double digit appreciation column, and that at only 10%. That one model was the previously neglected 1976 T-Top. The other models showing appreciation in 2008 ranged from seven to nine percent growth. As expected, dominating the appreciation chart were the mid-years with six positions on the chart that identified twelve Corvettes.

Even with that early warning, this year’s 2009 Appreciation Chart results were unexpected. For the first time in 30 years of Corvette price tracking, there were NO Corvettes in the appreciation column.

The best we found were five Corvettes that registered a NO CHANGE when their 2009 average resale prices were compared to those of a year ago. The other four registered a -2% in average price, thus the “2009 Top Ten Appreciation Chart” only shows nine Corvette models. There were several others that reflected a -3%, but they have not been added to the chart.

Top Appreciation Models – 2009
Year Make % Change Average Price
1958 Roadster NC $54,500
1982 Collectors Edt NC $16,500
1986 Roadster NC $11,000
1995 ZR1 NC $34,500
1998 Pace Car NC $23,500
1961 Roadster -2% $44,000
1963 Coupe -2% $53,500
1978 Pace Car -2% $20,300
1996 CE Roadster -2% $19,500

The 1958 Roadster seems to be perennially included in the Appreciation Chart over the years. We are sure its unique louvered hood, dual chrome trunk stripes and first year dual headlamps help make this a high demand resale Corvette.

Note the appearance of Special Edition Corvettes that include the last of the C4 ZR1’s, the 1995 model. For the first time, we have a C5 making the list, the 1998 Pace Car as well as the 1996 Collector Edition Roadster, another C4 model

These special editions are unique to their respective model years, some reflecting limited production numbers as well as registering low mileage on individual units. This is also the first year where all of the first five Corvette generations appear on the chart, C1-C5!

The 1986 Roadster made a rare appearance on the Appreciation Chart, primarily due to the sale prices of those painted Yellow, the actual 1986 Pace Car. However, you may recall that all 1986 Roadster were designated as Pace Cars with a console plaque. In addition, all of the 1986 Roadsters included Pace Car decals for dealer or customer installation.

The 1961 Roadster was listed as the entry level of the first generation Corvettes at $44,000. It also had a full array of optional motors to ‘run up’ the high prices on these models.

The 1963 Coupe, a repeat from last year’s chart, continued with buyer popularity due to its unique rear split-window styling. It is also designated as one of the true Collector Corvettes commanding top dollar compared to the other Coupes in the mid-year class. When we look at one year, two year and five year appreciation, this model exceeds the other Coupes by a large margin.

Top Depreciation Models – 2009
Year Make % Change Average Price
1953 Roadster -40% $175,000
2006 Z06 -20% $44,000
2007 Z06 -19% $48,000
2003 50th Anv Roadster -18% $25,500
2004 Roadster -18% $25,000
2003 50th Anv Coupe -17% $22,500
2008 427 Edt Z06 -17% $63,000
2003 Roadster -15% $23,500
2003 Z06 -15% $23,000
2006 Coupe -15% $29,000

The Depreciation Chart shows, on a comparative basis, that not much has changed from the last year where the percentage change showed a range of -16% to -20%. Most of these were C5 and C6 Corvettes. This should not be a surprise to anyone as the late models always reflect long and slow negative depreciation for at least 10 years.

The BIG surprise on this year’s Depreciation Chart was the 1953 Roadster. During the last several years we noted an unusual run-up in pricing for this rare collectable model. However, in today’s market, most buyers are not looking for a Corvette that will be displayed in their collection with no special features other than vintage age and a low production number. At a glance, there is not much difference between a 1953 and a 1954 Roadster model. With the average price of a 1954 Roadster at $56,900, it is difficult to justify the difference in resale price at $118,000!

The Depreciation Chart shows six of the ten Corvettes as being a Special Edition or high performance Corvette, quite a difference from the Special Editions on the Appreciation Chart. At this time it is too early to identify the C5 and C6 Corvettes as ‘collectable’, however this may change in future years.

The original base prices of these models were priced at premium rates, but are only selling at modest prices over the standard models. In addition, the new models diminish the premium paid for the Corvettes identified on this chart. For example, the 2003 50th Anniversary Roadster had a base price of $55,370 compared to a 2010 Grand Sport Roadster with enhanced HP and handling that sells for $59,530.

In Today’s economic climate, there does not seem to be a willingness on the part of Corvette buyers to pay the premium that was added to the late model high performance Corvettes when new on the market.

One example of this phenomenon can be seen with the 2006 Z06 with its original base price of $65,800 and the standard Coupe at $44,600. Today the Z06 sells for an average price of $44,000 and the Coupe at $29,000.

The 2010 Corvette Price Guide

2010 Corvette Price GuideThe free online version features the average prices of over 130 different Corvette models spanning 1953-2010. The printed version, which contains High/Low and Average prices as well as appreciation/depreciation percentages is available for $15 and can be purchased through the VetteFinders.com online store. Shipping is free.

Bob Kroupa of VETTE-N-VESTMENTS, is the data provider for the annual guide and publisher of the monthly Corvette Market Letter.

Data Provided by VETTE-N-VESTMENTS

2010 Corvette Price Guide is Now Available
Appreciating Corvettes: Top 10 Price Gainers of 2008
Depreciating Corvettes: Top 10 Price Declines of 2008