In her 64 years, Barbie has sat at the wheel of some incredible cars.
And as the much-anticipated new movie hits cinema screens across Britain today, classic car valuations boffins have revealed that the doll is more than just a pretty face – she’s also an astute vehicle investor.
Having crunched the numbers on a selection of her dream rides spanning back to her creation in 1959, experts at Hagerty say Barbie’s collection in real life has risen in value by over a third in the last five years.
Today, the total value of 15 of Barbie’s vehicles would be worth almost $16million (£12.5million) – though a big chunk of that amount is down to one car in particular that you likely had no idea she once boasted in her fleet…
Barbie’s keen eye for great cars: Classic vehicle valuations experts say the doll would make an astute motor investor having owned some great models over her 64 years. Here’s how much her stash of cars would be worth today in the real world
The new Barbie movie hits screens today with Margot Robbie (pictured) taking a starring role alongside Ryan Gosling as Ken
Hagerty Automotive Intelligence, which tracks the values of classic cars in the US, says the real-world collection amassed by the Mattel figure over her lifetime would be a thing of collectors’ dreams.
That’s because the total value of her most iconic cars have rocketed as of late. In fact, Hagerty estimates they’ve increased on average by 35 per cent since 2018.
Here’s a rundown of 15 models Barbie has owned, how much they would set you back if you wanted to invest in the real thing today and their level of appreciation – or depreciation – in the last half decade…
What would Barbie’s car collection be worth in the real world today?
In each instance, Hagerty has valued the cars based on ‘excellent’ condition examples – meaning vehicles that have been well cared for, are almost completely original and have relatively low mileage.
One of the earliest motors Barbie has been sold with in her glittering 64 year past as a surgeon, pilot, firefighter, Olympic athlete, flight attendant, computer engineer, video game developer, Mars explorer, and CEO is a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible – the big-finned classic that’s synonymous with fifties America, leather jackets, slick-back hair and juke boxes.
According to the Hagerty Price Guide, an excellent example is now worth $111,257 (£86,500), which is up 12 per cent since 2018.
The earliest model in Barbie’s collection is a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible with opening doors and hood
The real thing today is worth over $110,000, with values appreciating by 12% since 2018
But the big Chevy wasn’t Barbie’s first motor.
That was a 1962 Austin Healey 3000 MkII roadster, which today would set a collector back an average of $69,825 (£54,300).
Yet Barbie’s first set of wheels is also the only one in this list to have depreciated in the last five years, falling by 1 per cent since 2018, Hagerty says.
Mattel, the American multinational toy maker behind the doll’s franchise, traditionally preferred putting Barbie behind the wheel of US models, particularly Chevrolets. But the first car sold with Barbie was British – the Austin Healey 3000 Mk2 roadster pictured
A 1962 Austin Healey 3000 MkII roadster (like the one pictured here) today would set a collector back an average of $69,825 (£54,300). Values have dropped in the last 5 years, but only by 1%, says Hagerty
But the figurine’s love for Corvettes will soon have Barbie’s car haul back in the green.
The sports car favourite in the US is also the most consistent model in Barbie’s six-decade collection.
It started with her pink-on-white 1956 model – which is the car that will feature most prominently in the new movie starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and Ryan Gosling as Ken.
Hot Wheels has even reproduced the ’56 ‘vette as a collectible diecast for the 2023 movie.
Today, a Corvette of this period is worth $93,933 (£73,100) in excellent condition, which is an increase of nine per cent in the last half decade, Hagerty estimates.
Other early ‘vettes in Barbie’s fleet include a 1976 model and an ’85 variant. Respectively, the real versions of these are selling in excellent condition for $20,400 (£15,800) and $16,600 (£12,900) today – and these prices are up 47 and 38 per cent compared to five years ago, claims Hagerty’s US team of number crunchers.
The 1956 model was Barbie’s first of many Corvettes and is the one that will feature in the new movie starring Margot Robbie
Hot Wheels has even produced a diecast version of the classic Barbie Corvette in time for the movie hitting cinema screens across the globe this weekend
LEFT: Other ‘vettes in Barbie’s fleet include this 1976 convertible finished in hot pink with a suitcase carrier on the rear deck. RIGHT: In excellent condition, a real-world ’76 Corvette is worth $20,400 (£15,800) having appreciated by 47% in the last 5 years
While Barbie has largely stayed local in terms of favouring drop-top sports cars from the American market, she has often flirted with models from Europe.
She took to the driver’s seat of a 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL – an appreciating classic that is now changing hands for an average ‘excellent condition’ figure of $146,000 (£113,600), a rise of three per cent on 2018 values.
And by 1981, acid-washed Barbie was available at the wheel of the soft-top VW ‘Jazzie’ Rabbit [or Golf, as us Britons know it] Cabriolet – hers featuring fun bumper stickers that read, ‘High School is cool’ and ‘I Heart Cool Dudes’.
In the real world, a similar-age VW Cabrio in the US is currently valued on average at $8,000 (£6,200).
While Barbie has largely stayed local in terms of favouring drop-top sports cars, she has often flirted with models from the European market, like the VW Rabbit (or Golf in Europe and the UK) Cabriolet, pictured left. RIGHT: Hagerty says the real thing is worth around $8,000 (£6,200) today
Not to be outdone by Magnum P.I., Barbie went Italian in 1986 with a Ferrari 328 GTS. Barbie fans could get their hands on the sports car in either red or white paint, both with a tan interior
This would have been the first manual-gearbox motor the American doll would have taken on, and values of these appreciating Ferraris in real life see average ‘excellent’ examples reaching $170,000 (£132,000), which is up 104 per cent since 2018
Not to be outdone by Magnum P.I., Barbie went Italian in 1986 with a Ferrari 328 GTS.
Barbie fans could get their hands on the sports car in either red paint or white, both with a tan interior and this would have been the first manual gearbox the American doll would have taken on.
Values of these appreciating Ferraris in real life see average ‘excellent’ examples reaching $170,000 (£132,000), which is up 104 per cent since 2018.
Away from the tarmac. the off-road adventurer in Barbie wanted nothing else but a ’90s-era Jeep.
The earliest saw Barbie rocking a pink remote-controlled Wrangler TJ. A full-scale example in the US would set collectors back around $23,200 (£18,000).
LEFT: Staying close to home, other nineties US motors came in the shape of a 1994 Corvette, obviously in hot pink! RIGHT: Today, Hagerty values one of these cars at $25,000 (£19,500) in excellent condition, which is up 25% since 2018
Staying close to home, other nineties US motors came in the shape of a 1994 Corvette, which today Hagerty values at $25,000 (£19,500) in excellent condition, which is up 25 per cent since 2018.
But Barbie’s journey through the nineties saw her switch attention back to the European market and sparked the sale of a British favourite, Jaguar.
The figure’s Jag of choice came in 1994 in the shape of an XJS convertible with burl-wood interior trim stickers, white leather, an automatic transmission and radio. Today, a car like that is ringing in at around $31,900 (£25,000) in the US.
Barbie’s journey through the nineties saw her return to a British favourite, Jaguar, and a ‘dazzling glittery pink’ XJS convertible
Today, a Jaguar XJS Convertible of similar ilk would – in America – ring in at around $31,900 (£25,000), says Hagerty
Barbie switched allegiances to Porsche in the early nineties with this 964-generation 911 Cabriolet. It even had working headlights
Want a 964 911 Cabriolet today? Expect to pay around $63,000 ($50,000) for an excellent-condition example, says Hagerty
With the British sports car maker embroiled in an arms race with Porsche, Barbie opted to switch allegiances in the late nineties.
Having first taken to the controls of a 964-generation 911 cabriolet with working headlights, she later moved on to a red-on-tan Boxster with a motorised, retractable roof.
Today, the average US value for the 911 today is $63,000 (£50,000), which is up 37 per cent on average against five years ago, Hagerty states.
Ford’s legendary pony car, the Mustang, has also been a favourite of Barbie’s through the years, with fans fondly remembering her cherry red 1994 example.
And at the turn of the Millennium, Ford got another slice of the pie when it sold Barbie a 2003 Mustang GT convertible.
In fact, she got special treatment and received her before anyone else.
Barbie’s ‘stang was a prototype for the fifth-generation drop-top that came another two years later – and today is valued at $18,000 (£14,000) having appreciated 24 per cent since 2018.
Ford’s legendary pony car, the Mustang, has also been a favourite of Barbie’s through the years, having previously had a 1994 example (pictured left). Ford got another slice of the pie when it sold Barbie a 2003 Mustang GT convertible (pictured right). In fact, she got it before anyone else in America. Hers was a prototype for the fifth-generation drop-top came two years later
An early 2000s Mustang GT Convertible today is valued at $18,000 (£14,000) in the US having appreciated by 24% since 2018
Other noughties cars Hagerty has taken into account is the doll’s 2000 ‘new’ VW Beetle Cabriolet, which is worth £8,400 (£6,500) in the US in 2023 – up in value by 20% in the last five years
LEFT: A 2001 remote control Corvette appeared in Barbie pink shortly after, which would translate to $32,100 (£25,000) for the real thing if you went looking for an excellent condition example on the classic market today RIGHT: Barbie also took a test drive in a different Chevy that year, the SSR. Worth $32,400 (£25,200) – up 23 per cent in half a decade – it is another appreciating modern classic in her automotive arsenal
Other noughties cars Hagerty has taken into account is the doll’s collection is the 2000 ‘new’ Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, which is worth £8,400 (£6,500) in the US in 2023 – up in value by 20 per cent in the last five years.
Shortly after, Mettel got adventurous with its four-wheeled accessories for the doll.
In 2001 she was afforded a remote control Corvette. The model on which it is based would translate to $32,100 (£25,000) for the real thing if you went looking for an excellent condition example on the classic market today – up 43 per cent since 2018.
Barbie also took a test drive in a different Chevy that year, the SSR. Available in yellow or blue, it also came with its own CD player in the back!
With a 2004 SSR in the real world worth around $32,400 (£25,200) in excellent condition – up 23 per cent in half a decade – it is another appreciating modern classic in her automotive arsenal.
However, by far the most valuable of all Barbie cars over the years came in 2004.
But it’s not a volume-selling accessory you could find on the shelves of toy shops.
By far Barbie’s most expensive car of all time is this one-off Ferrari F1 machine that was offered for sale at the 2004 International Barbie Doll Collections Convention in Chicago
There’s little for Hagerty to put a value on this unique Barbie car other than the closest equivalent in the real world, which was a 2003 chassis sold by RM Sotheby’s last year for CHF16.4million
It was a Ferrari F1 machine that was exclusively offered for sale at the 2004 International Barbie Doll Collections Convention in Chicago.
A one-off creation based on a 1/6-scale remote control car, though with the electronics and motor removed, this is certainly the fastest vehicle in Barbie’s life-long fleet that would be fast enough to rip the blonde locks from the glue on her plastic head.
There’s little for Hagerty to put a real-world value on this unique Barbie car other than the closest equivalent that changed hands recently – a 2003 Scuderia Ferrari F1 chassis sold by RM Sotheby’s last year.
It was one of the cars used to spearhead Michael Schumacher to his sixth world title.
It sold for 14.6million Swiss Francs in November 2022, which is why the classic car valuers think a 2004 version would be worth around $15million (£11.7million) today.
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