For the hardcore enthusiast, the question is as revealing as a Myers-Briggs personality test: What car was posted on your bedroom wall when you were growing up?
More relevant to the classic car market, the answer can portend the next great object of desire — and subsequently, the next rapidly appreciating asset. The paradigm goes something like this: Kid idolizes car on poster… car on poster haunts kid for years… grown kid can finally afford car on poster… grown kid buys car. Not only does the poster phenomenon capture the zeitgeist of a certain era (think: “Justification For Higher Education”), it taps into the collective subconscious of car fanatics who simply can’t forget their first automotive love.
“I think there’s a general inertia with some of the bigger cars,” Harley Cluxton IV suggests, “where guys get switched on to that thing they’ve always appreciated and say, ‘You know what? Those still look right— or they look right again.’ And it hits them in that very subjective, emotional way that they want to get one.” Cluxton should know: His father, Harley Cluxton III, was the youngest exclusively authorized Ferrari dealer in the US, and the founder of Grand Touring Cars, Inc.
Cluxton the third co-founded the Hammer Price app, which offers real-time reporting of auction prices for many of the desirable cars that appeared on posters (disclosure: Hammer Price is owned by duPont Registry’s parent company, Motorsport Network). He’s also no stranger to exotic cars himself, having enjoyed plenty of exposure to the Ferrari F40 he enjoyed on his childhood wall – his father owned three of the winged legends.
Cluxton’s data supports the theory that Desire + Time = Buckets of cash. For instance, tracking the auction prices for the Porsche Carrera GT since 2015 reveals an exponential climb in values, from the high six-figures to the most recent sale at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale, where a 1,547-mile example traded hands for $1,980,000. According to Cluxton, enthusiast buzz plays into the nostalgia equation. “It’s got that race car motor and it’s the last analog supercar from Porsche… it makes the 930’s widowmaker moniker pale in comparison,” he quips with a chuckle. He tracks similar trends for the Ferrari F40, Lamborghini Diablo, and McLaren F1— though he adds that recent price hikes have also been linked to pandemic-related spending sprees.
Sergio, a Los Angeles collector who prefers to be referenced by his first name, owns a wish list of ‘80s and ‘90s-era supercars that include two Lamborghini Countaches and a Diablo SV, a Ferrari 512 TR and 512 BBi, and others. Sergio attributes his early fondness for cars to a shared passion with his father, as well as film and TV properties like Miami Vice, The Cannonball Run, and Knight Rider.
He says the experience of living with his dream cars can be a mixed bag — for instance, he reveals that “… Countaches are a let-down. Mechanically, the engines and transmissions are good, but everything else seems to have issues.” Regardless, Sergio says he owns the cars to drive, not just admire; one of his Countaches was the lowest mileage 1989 model he knew of, with “something like 1,700 kilometers on the odometer.” He says he just broke 6,000 kilometers on the clock. But in their best forms, Sergio says his dream cars can be absolute dreamboats. “I could daily the 512 BBi— it’s not too stiff, the engine hums, it’s a wonderful car. And the 512 TR is my favorite. It’s the one that they would have to pull out of my cold, dead hands,” he adds with a knowing smile, suggesting that sometimes poster cars are even better in real life.
This article appeared in our April 2022 issue.