Old SUVs fetch big money as classics

That old SUV cluttering up your garage may be worth some serious money.

You know the one: the International Travelall under a tarp that once toted many a Boy Scout troop, or the Toyota Land Cruiser with the rusting winch on the front bumper. We suspect many old SUVs are just sitting around lots these days, driven little because of the high price of gas.

But there is cash waiting for their owners. Reason: Auction watchers say that old SUVs are becoming classic-car collector items.

At the big January auctions in Scottsdale, Ariz., 11 vintage Toyota FJ Cruisers went on the block. One, a 1981 mustard-yellow FJ-40, went for an eye popping $88,000, according Hagerty Insurance, which tracks auction prices.

How prices have gone up on vintage:

-Ford Broncos. Up 61%, from $15,700 in 2008 to $25,250 in 2012.

–Toyota Land Cruisers. up 35%, from $23,000 in 2008 to $31,000 in 2012.

–Jeeps. up 21%, from $12,700 in 2008 to $15,450 in 2012.

–Chevy Blazers: up 18%, from $12,250 in 2008 to $14,400 in 2012.

“With so many young collectors opting for modern SUVs as their daily drivers, we’re seeing a shift in perception of what makes a vehicle cool,” says McKeel Hagerty, CEO of Hagerty, an insurance agency for classic vehicles. “Broncos, Land Rovers and other similar vehicles from the ’60s and ’70s were, for the most part, once seen as utilitarian. But vintage SUVs are becoming more and more collectible.”

Because the trend is just starting, he says it’s a good time to get in on the front end of the trend.

So, maybe that faded Ford Explorer (Eddie Bauer Edition, of course) really deserves a wax job after all these years.

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