Not the typical argument of “why are classic cars so expensive?”(ugh) but instead : Why were classic cars so much cheaper when new than contemporary cars when accounting for inflation? Or vice versa?

The truth is just as stupid as it sounds, I was watching smokey and the bandit clips on youtube. I am sorry, I know I am a cliche. Forgive me, I will shut up about the car I haven’t driven in two years. The contest had me thinking: Reynolds makes a deal to do the challenge for $80k. What is that in today’s money? $288,000. Enough in the movie to buy a new Peterbilt. several websites have told me that you can get a new truck for about $150k today.

Inversely, Reynolds’ ‘77 T/A was similarly priced to mine...~7-$9k new (wow) for a loaded special edition which equates to around $25,000 in today’s funbucks. Imagine getting...say a mustang GT platinum for that money. Instead, you might be able to buy a decent Toyota Camry. Mind you- the Trans Am was an old model by then, however it was comparable to the 280zx turbo which was high tech at the time, starting at about $1000 more. That would be about $32k today, which seems more reasonable. However, the zx turbo was about the highest performance and luxury everyman car you could get that year. Performance wise, these two blew everything else out of the water.

This for the price of this:


Interestingly, a lamborghini Miura was $20k new in the sixties. That equates to getting one today for $120k. Compared to even a Huracan, at around $250k. I remember an article on the FP that says that a porsche 911 has remained about the same despite inflation and new features.... comparing that with the power of the internet: a base porsche 911 in 79($22k) is the same as a base porsche 911 today... ~$80k. Looks like they were correct. The difference between these is weird.

These, going for millions of dollars today, could presumably be produced new for $120,000 if it wasn’t for the dang gubmint.

Now, obviously, new cars have many more features, tech, ect than cars of yesteryear. However, that doesn’t explain cars like the 911 which remained the same “price” in the same periods.


How does your classic car shape up ? More or less than a comparable car? Would you be able to buy a certain car in yesteryear that you realistically wouldn’t have been able to touch today? So many questions!