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Nerd cars capture special market. (Property/Casualty: Marketplace).

Nerd cars-such as the AMC Pacer featured in the movie "Wayne's World"-are becoming hot collector items and in need of classic car insurance. According to Hagerty Insurance, cars such as the AMC Pacer and Gremlin have grabbed the imagination of a new generation who find the 1970s nerd mobiles not only fun and endearing, but evocative of "retro" automotive chic. Collectors are restoring cars such as the Ford Maverick to their former glory, recreating the "Grabber" model in intense '70s colors.

Hagerty Insurance, through its Hagerty Protection Network, has reviewed recent collecting trends, auction results and insurance applications, and broadened its definition of "collectible car" to include many examples of automotive kitsch that have been embraced by hobbyists and serious collectors.

"Agents should be aware that over the last few years, the car collecting tastes of Americans have changed yet again," said McKeel Hagerty, president of Hagerty Insurance. "As the collector car market expands, so does the definition of what constitutes a classic car. If a vehicle matches our parameters, we'll insure it whether it's a stable of Ford Pintos or a carriage house full of Ferraris."

One of the defining qualifications of a collector car is appreciation, reports Hagerty. Collector cars tend to hold their value and in many cases appreciate over their original purchase price, as opposed to traditional cars that depreciate over the years of ownership.

Another factor in determining collector status is frequency of use. A collectible car is not driven daily, but rather used on weekends or for special events.

Other criteria that must be considered for collector car insurance include:

* The vehicle must have a minimum estimated book value of $5,000 according to the National Automobile Dealers Association or OCW Price Guide.

* The car should be in excellent condition, either impeccably maintained or restored to its original appearance and condition.

* The vehicle must be stored in a locked garage.

"Today these vehicles from the 1970s that were formerly abandoned in junkyards are being rescued and restored," said Hagerty. "It's no longer just traditional antiques, classics, exotics and historic cars that people are buying. Nerd cars are making a comeback!' Nerd Cars

RELATED ARTICLE: Nerd Cars

* AMC Gremlin: A car that was offered with an optional Levi's interior.

* AMC Pacer: The car masquerading as a goldfish bowl, its unique bulbous glass rear end was a styling cue that was hard to miss.

* Chevrolet Kingswood Estate Wagon: The 1971 model is one of the largest, longest and heaviest cars on the road.

* Chevrolet Nova: Could be had in just about every configuration-from a stripper 2-door coupe to a big block V8 with 400+ horsepower.

* Chevrolet Vega: The 1971 Vega 2300 was a neat two-door Kammback wagon.

* Ford Maverick: Available in 2-door and 4door models, with V6 orV8 engines.

* Ford Pinto: The smallest pony car had a special "MPG" version to address the fuel crisis.

* Plymouth Duster: The Duster coupe drove Plymouth headlong into the decade with its many variations on the theme.

* Volkswagen "Thing": The 1970s' smaller, cuddlier version of today's Hummer.

Source: Hagerty Insurance
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Comment:Nerd cars capture special market. (Property/Casualty: Marketplace).
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2003
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