By Jeff Walker, Chubb Collector Car Insurance
It’s no secret that classic car values generally have been on the rise for the past decade or more. Depending on the type of vehicle you like, appreciation can exceed 50% within a relatively short time.
It’s starting to become less of a secret that the popularity and values of classic motorcycles have been on the rise for some time. To get an idea of how much money can be found in the classic motorcycle world, the “Captain America” Harley-Davidson Panhead, which Peter Fonda rode in the movie Easy Rider, fetched $1.6 million by auctioneer Profiles in History in October 2014. This appears to be the most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction.
Yes, the bike has movie provenance and the brand itself is legendary in its own way, but other bikes also are grabbing large numbers. Winchester Repeating Arms, the company that still manufactures rifles, produced a few motorcycles in the early 1900s. Any remaining examples of this marque bike can fetch mid-six-digit prices with the right crowd.
The market upswing isn’t limited to just movie bikes and obscure makes. BMW, Triumph, Honda, Vincent, Ducati and many other well-known classic bike manufacturers are seeing an increase in interest. Most important, it’s become evident in the motorcycle world that original, clean, non-modified examples of classic bikes need to be preserved, since many bikes were raced, neglected, or just forgotten.
I credit the growing rise in the market to a few factors. First, motorcycles always have been about pure fun, adventure and freedom. Some may have used a bike as regular transportation, but the cool factor is ever-present. Second, many enthusiasts purchased their first bike during what I would call their “golden years.” Then, life takes over, bike gets sold, kids get raised, and the desire to “have that bike again” comes back – just like with cars, the nostalgia factor is strong. Last, as I mentioned before, many bikes were simply not maintained, so good examples of old bikes are rare, creating a limited market and thus, driving up prices.
I often quip that you can fit four motorcycles in the space of one car, which makes for a more diversified collection. If you’re looking for both diversity and fun, then you might consider investing in a classic motorcycle or a few. And just like with a car, damage may happen, so you’ll want to protect your investment by properly insuring it. Collector car insurance providers such as Chubb often can provide a reasonably priced quote on “agreed value” coverage, which locks in the amount of coverage should the unthinkable occur to your precious possession.
[Source: Jeff Walker; photo: Dirk de Jager]