What It’s Really Like to Buy a Car From Hagerty Marketplace

Photography: Mike Maravilla

  • Hagerty is best known for its collector vehicle insurance, but it has expanded its portfolio to include valuation tools, entertainment, community, and an enthusiast marketplace.
  • Car auctions have been around for decades, but the online game is a relatively fresh and unknown entity to average enthusiasts.
  • Hagerty Marketplace came onto the scene in 2022, while other platforms had already established themselves as viable players in the burgeoning collector car market.
  • While top-dollar earning honors have been achieved on seniority destinations, like Bring a Trailer, Hagerty Marketplace’s infancy makes it a viable platform for younger enthusiasts to catch a bargain.
  • Hagerty Marketplace helped make one of our editor’s transaxle dreams a reality, listing a Porsche 968 that will become a long-term, budget-friendly project.

Like an uncommitted 23-year-old on New Year’s Eve, the enthusiast car market is chock full of anxious buyers looking to desperately add a dream car to their garage. Ever since COVID, the FOMO has been at an all-time high for the machines of yesteryear; we’ve accepted that the analog poster cars we loved will never come back and our window to experience them — between the vehicle’s dwindling availability and our accompanying physical ability — the time is now.

As a result, the time has been ripe for the online auction sphere to blossom. Unlike conventional, in-person collector car auctions like Barrett-Jackson, the modern approach has helped put thousands of interesting, rare, odd, and exotic vehicles front and center for us enthusiasts to fight over until the digital hammer drops. The shift has also helped younger audiences embrace and covet these machines at a crucial time when general interest in cars is declining. All good things, then, until you realize that all of the FOMO and attention on cool old stuff has priced your attainable dream car well out of the realm of reality.

THE PORSCHE CRAZE

The Porsche brand has experienced a meteoric rise in value over the last decade, leaving enthusiasts like me who put off air-cooled 911 ownership as a “one-day” expense thinking that that day has already passed. As a result, I’ve made due by filling my workspace with things that I’d seldom own in a 1:1 scale. Eager hopefuls just like me have shifted their interests to other models that had long been ignored (like the 912 and 914), desperate to grab at anything with a Porsche crest.

Today, going to a show like Luftgekühlt might as well be an art gallery of untouchable art. Nearly every model from Porsche’s library is anywhere from 30-500% more expensive than they were before, even the ones from Stuttgart’s least appreciated chapter — the transaxle era — have recently attracted attention.

THE PORSCHE 968

Mention the 968 and most enthusiasts will think that you simply mistyped 986, the three-digit internal designation for the first-gen Boxster. But in reality, the 968 represents the swan song of Porsche’s transaxle program. As an evolutionary exercise, there are familiar tones of 944. Still, a radically revised exterior and significant performance boost (compared to its nearest NA 944 rival) are upsides that make the 968 stand out from its siblings. The 968’s rarity certainly contributes to its lack of mainstream acknowledgment: only 12,780 were produced compared to over 170,000 944s.

My dad’s co-worker had one in the early 2000s and that remained one of the only examples I’d seen in person until recent memory. It was markedly different than looking at a “conventional” 911, but thanks to its restyle, it was also vaguely familiar. The experience left a significant impression and I vowed that “one day” I would own one. Fast forward twenty years and, much to my disappointment, the world caught on to the 968’s charm. “968s began appreciating in 2015, along with just about everything with a Porsche badge,” said Hagerty Automotive. “Since 2016, #2 [968] values are up 139% for coupes—the fastest appreciation for all Porsche coupes. We think there’s still room for growth.” I quickly had to decide how much I’d be willing to wager to manifest my childhood intentions.

THE CHEAT CODE

Hagerty may still be most notably recognized for its classic car insurance, but that tide is changing for what the brand represents to modern enthusiasts. They are one of the newest players in the online auction game. It ushered in what they call Hagerty Marketplace in 2022 to compete with some of the more established players. While top-dollar earning honors have been achieved for sellers on seniority destinations, like Bring a Trailer, Hagerty Marketplace’s infancy makes it a viable platform for buyers to catch a bargain.

As a relative newcomer to the auction space, Hagerty had the benefit of examining the market to build a platform that felt familiar to consumers but worked well within its established styling regimen. In terms of user experience, Hagerty Marketplace quickly became one of my favorites to browse. I should mention that the Marketplace is nested amongst all of the brand’s other offerings; you go to hagerty.com and can find everything underneath the company’s umbrella. I like this a lot because it does two things: 1.) makes it easy to understand how intertwined Hagerty has become to the automotive culture and 2.) removes hurdles for a consumer to ingest content, measure the car market with its valuation tools, and shop guaranteed value insurance policies that help protect enthusiasts’ investments.

SELLING AND BIDDING

It’s a good time to be a seller on Hagerty Marketplace. Aside from leveraging the company’s vast enthusiast reach, there are two compelling 60-day auction options: one that carries a $99 auction listing fee or, for a small percentage, another that offers consignment with Hagerty’s seasoned specialist team. Hagerty Marketplace built this dedicated specialist team to help vet every car. They work one-on-one with sellers to facilitate capturing photos and video, pre-purchase inspections, and use Hagerty Valuation Tools to determine pricing and set reserves. Once the timer hits zero, post-sale logistics (transfer of ownership and payment amongst others) are handled, too. But crucially, we are here to talk about what it’s like to buy.

I’ve been hunting for a transaxle Porsche for the better part of five years. I spoke to a couple of friends from Autoarts and CheckeditOut at Rennsport about finding a suitable example and they both pointed me to one specific car that they knew was available. A few days after RR7 concluded, my phone buzzed with a link to Hagerty Marketplace. I clicked it and, much to my dismay, the same car that we’d talked about was now on the auction floor.

Despite being thrown into a competitive pool of other Porsche enthusiasts, I was armed with Hagerty Marketplace’s media library of photos of video, valuation report, CARFAX, and history files to support the car’s quality. As a result, I felt even more confident that the juice would be worth the squeeze. I placed a bid, hoped for the best, and ultimately won.

WINNER, WINNER

I’ll be honest, my first reaction after I won was panic. I wanted the car, of course, but I wasn’t totally sure what I needed to do to truly make the car mine. My response proved erroneous. About an hour after winning the auction, I received an email that answered almost every question I had about what would happen next: how to send payment, how soon I’d receive the title, and even some vetted transport companies that could help me get the car home. Any additional questions I had were effectively fielded by the car’s listing agent, Kevin Kovac and if he didn’t have the answer, he worked tirelessly to get me the clarity I needed every step of the way. Hagerty Marketplace’s care here was hugely important to me and set a positive tone for my budding relationship with this new 968. If it had been any different, I can honestly say my intentions for the car would be almost immediately different.

A TRUE REPRESENTATION

I didn’t have a chance to see the car in person until a few weeks ago. Rather than ship the car to me in Pennsylvania straight away, my 968 made a detour to a well-known and enthusiast-trusted Porsche shop in Chicago called Midwest Performance Cars. Knowing that I’d purchased a 32-year-old car, I wanted MPC to give it a scrutinizing once-over. Having a shop like MPC work its magic gave me extra peace of mind before the project got going. I arrived at Midwest Performance Cars to find my car safely stowed and waiting for a slew of OEM parts to arrive from Germany.

After getting a quick tour of MPC’s Chicago location (more on this later), I got a chance to inspect the 968 to measure its real-world condition against Hagerty Marketplace’s online representation.

Fortunately, I don’t have any big surprises to report. The listing’s imperfections (slow power steering leak, transaxle shaft leak, and swirled paint) were known entities and MPC’s expert eye found a few mechanical issues that were bound to be a part of vintage car ownership that I plan to address as part of this initial maintenance sweep. Blown speakers weren’t a part of the listing either, but even if they were in good nick, I’d wager they’d need to be replaced anyway. Nevertheless, I can say that Hagerty Marketplace did an impressive job of capturing the car in its honest form.

WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?

A 230k GT3RS or half-a-million-dollar Ferrari aren’t commonplace on Hagerty Marketplace (at least not yet). But it’s refreshing because 99% of all automotive fans, even the die-hard ones, aren’t shopping in that stratosphere. Instead, Hagerty Marketplace’s focus is firmly planted on giving realistic enthusiast cars — a majority of which fall between $10,000 and $80,000 — a chance to shine. But don’t confuse this focus with mediocre inventory. Hagerty Marketplace has auctioned more than its fair share of truly expensive gems, including a $800,000 Ford GT, a $230,000 Impala, and a gorgeous $123,000 280SL. The classifieds section, where prices are fixed, is chock full of even more automotive royalty.

While it’s admittedly nice to admire and dream of living a life at the upper crust, I’m really happy to see that Hagerty Marketplace is a destination for every car enthusiast along the spectrum. In that way, it’s a living and breathing extension of what Hagerty has represented for the community, especially after its expansion beyond insurance. To answer the question, I would, without hesitation, add another dream car to my garage from Hagerty. Thank you, Hagerty Marketplace. And a special thank you to Kevin Kovac for everything you’ve helped with beyond the auction itself. My first-ever online bidding experience couldn’t have gone smoother. I’ll cross my fingers that my old 987.2 Boxster Spyder comes your way next. In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates on my new (to me) 968.


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