LOS ANGELES – The collector car market, which slumped with the economy, is coming back along with the rest of the auto industry.

But don’t expect to pick up a classic Tucker or Duesenberg without ponying up money like a Facebook executive. Many of these cars are selling for well over $1 million.

By one measure, the value of collectible cars has surged 33 percent since the depth of the recession in 2009.

The Hagerty collector car blue-chip index — a Dow-like gauge that averages the values of 25 of the most sought-after collectible automobiles of the postwar era — climbed to $1.25 million from $940,000 in September 2009.

La Jolla resident Chuck Spielman has been watching the market, waiting for the best time to sell a 1930 Duesenberg so that he can purchase other cars for his collection.

After waiting out the recession, he sold the Duesenberg at auction for $2.6 million this year and completed a handshake deal to acquire another Duesenberg in a private transaction.

Spielman wouldn’t say how much he paid for the Duesenberg he purchased five years ago but said he made money on the sale.

Spielman, a real estate investor, said he noticed the collector car market begin to turn up about two years ago, and he believes the rally was fueled by people who had money but had developed “distrust with the stock market and the real estate market. They began to see collector cars as a hard asset.”

However, the buyers behind the gains were not speculators but rather “hobbyists with disposable income,” Spielman said.

“These are people looking to fulfill dreams that they couldn’t when they were 18 years old,” he said.

More than a dozen collector cars have sold at auction this year for $2 million or more, including a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing that went for $4.6 million in January and a 1948 Tucker Torpedo that was purchased for $2.9 million.