Using Auction House Data to Evaluate Classic Cars

Posted on Oct 23, 2021
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The used-car market has recently seen record breaking sales. According to the Manheim U.S. Used Vehicle Value Index data, used-car prices rose 5.3 percent in September 2021 and 27.1 percent from a year earlier.

Is this inflation also present in the classic car market?

If you want to know your cars value you would use something like Kelly Blue book (KBB); an online tool that appraises cars based on many factors. However, KBB does not cover cars older than 1992.

Identifying this gap, I set out to web scrape auction data from the largest auction house in North America. The group sells thousands of cars a year that are typically older than 30 years. From the data scraped, features included: year, make, model, origin, auction date, auction location, and if it sold or not. I got data on nearly 13,000 cars from auctions ranging from 2016 to 2021.

My first goal was to group the data by manufacturer. The luxury sports car maker Porsche, had a large volume in sales every year, so I picked them first. To accurately assess a cars value I had to target a specific year and model.

Porsche Data

I chose a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7 Touring. The deviation between prices was great, those on the high end going for $750K and the low for $400K. The variation in price made it hard to say how accurate my predictions would be.

Using Auction House Data to evaluate Classic Cars

Austin Mini Cooper Data

Next, I chose an Austin Mini Cooper. These had lower deviations, ranging from $5K to $40K. After analyzing more cars I came to the conclusion that the more affordable saw less variation and so were easier to predict.

Using Auction House Data to evaluate Classic Cars

Data on The Origin of the Cars

Going further, I got the average selling price of car by what country they were made in. In the graph below, we can see all groups have had a large rebound from 2020, similar to the consumer used-market market.

Using Auction House Data to evaluate Classic Cars

After running analysis on more cars I concluded that for this to be accurate it would need much more data. Further, I would need to implement the code into an app (like Shiny) to setup a full user side experience. The accurate valuation of classic cars is possible but would take much more data and many more data features to distinguish a cars value.

Collecting this dataset was the first step in creating such a tool.

About Author

Tony Pennoyer

Data Scientist who brings a unique creative and analytical approach to the table. Interested in data story telling and creating actionable insights through data analysis.
View all posts by Tony Pennoyer >

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