December 31, 2019

Steele’s Outlook on 2020

Taking a look back at 2019, it’s obvious that there is no shortage of car lovers out there pursuing this hobby- which we LOVE! (no surprise there) But, as a new generation of collectors emerges (Gen Xers and Millennials) the landscape is certainly changing. What drives this change? There are many different things but one is definitely nostalgia. People like to collect things from their childhood…. It gives them the warm and fuzzies.

So, what can we expect in the restoration market for 2020? While sale prices took a hit this year as collector car values continue to correct themselves from a bloated all-time high in 2015, the market is still booming. Based on another year of shows, sales, social media, website data and customer requests, here are our humble predictions:

80’s Vehicles are Gonna Rock

Think the C10 squarebody, the GM F and G-body platforms (can you say T-tops?)… we’re expecting the upward tick in interest for these vehicles and more 80’s treasures to only grow larger. According to our data even the 80’s Corvettes are growing in popularity.

I’ve also noticed that young people are sporting mullets again…… maybe some things are best left in the past?

Trucks are Here to Stay

Pickup trucks are hotter than ever and account for 18 out of the top 50 searched vehicles on our website in 2019! Specifically, the short bed trucks- dropped or jacked up, patina shop truck or a luxury build with 5 coats of paint- they’re all players in the game. In fact, the 1973-79 Ford F-Series trucks made the top spot in Hagerty’s top 25 hottest collector vehicles list this November.

At the 2019 SEMA show there were trucks EVERYWHERE including a 1962 C-10 (cleverly named E-10) in the Chevrolet booth that was fully electric! Trucks tend to be a more affordable way to get into the collector car hobby and they don’t disappoint.

SUV’s Please

If I have one, and only one, takeaway from this year’s SEMA Show, it was that the Ford Bronco is more popular than ever before.  But, that means the value is higher than ever before, too. While the Blazer and Jimmy are also popular, the Bronco is seeing the main stage on every stage from primo, top-tier builds to OE Showcases.  The International Harvester Scout is expected to be a big up and comer in 2020. This hidden gem hasn’t quite been sought after like the others so it’s still an affordable way to get your classic SUV fix as they are going to continue to be all the rage in 2020.

Vans, Vans and More Vans

From an over the top custom build to a weekend vacation on wheels to literally a ‘mobile’ home- there’s a van for everyone. They are a giant, blank canvas to turn into your own masterpiece and we get requests for new van parts almost daily (and yes, we’ve got more new van parts coming!). We don’t see the #VanLife trend slowing down at all this coming year.

Living in yours down by the river is completely optional.


Also, on the rise are imported cars of the 80’s and 90’s- this movement is HUGE. 16 of Hagerty’s top 25 hottest collector vehicles right now are imports and their popularity only continues to grow. You don’t typically think of these manufacturers when you’re talking about classics but they are very much a part of today’s collector market.

Restomod… within Reason

Another trend we noticed at the SEMA show is that people are taking a step back from the over the top, big money transformations and opting for a more original look but with modern comforts underneath. Taking a barn find and preserving it in its current state but maybe adding air conditioning, power steering and suspension to handle the upgraded horsepower. Not a 100-point restoration per se, but more of a preservation, refreshment, or update so to speak.

Much Fun to Be Had

All-in-all these up and coming vehicles are totally about FUN! Bouncing around off-road in an SUV, riding in the bed of a pickup truck, pimping a van out with crazy shag carpet and paint, zipping around in a little import and who can forget those 80’s T-tops? People are collecting cars that they love and that are fun to drive because they bring excitement and good times. That’s something we can definitely get behind.

Here at Steele we’re up on the trends because no matter what you choose to collect, we want to be there to help you restore the ride of your dreams.

Steele not only has all the products you need but all the knowledge you need to get the job done right, too. If you have questions about Rubber Parts or Weatherstripping on your Classic Car, Truck, Hot Rod or even your boat, trailer or RV, feel free to reach out to us! You can call us at 800-650-4482, contact us through our website or comment on this post and we’ll get you answers as quickly as possible. Check out our YouTube channel for our full library of how-to/installation videos.

Steele Rubber Products, located in Denver, NC, is a manufacturer and seller of high-quality rubber parts and weatherstripping products for classic and vintage automobiles, hot rods, RVs and Boats. Steele offers more than 12,000 parts for cars and trucks as well as a large line of universal weatherstripping and rubber parts to be used on any project. Established in 1958, Steele is a trusted name in the automotive restoration industry. 

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