Carlisle Auctions, Spring 2023

Carlisle Auctions’ Spring 2023 event took place over two days this year, with the auction running on Thursday and Friday, April 20 and 21. This was a particularly fun event for me because of the number of lots in which I had great personal interest. Before we get to the particulars, though, a few words (as always) about this auction and the state of the hobby as we begin the car show season in the Northeast.

There is no doubt that transaction prices, in general, are up. The high-quality cars continue to be in demand and continue to bring good money. At the same time, for beginners, or bottom feeders, or anyone for whom a bargain price is a deal, there are still choices. Case in point: Thursday’s auction, which actually began about 15 minutes early (and caught me off-guard, as I was still outside), got off to a roaring start by anyone’s measure. Of the first 31 cars to cross the block, 26 of them sold (the 5 that did not meet reserve were an eclectic lot, and included a ’29 Nash, a ’62 Bonneville, a 2005 BMW 3-series, and most bizarrely, a ’66 Fiberfab). Now, of the 26 that did sell, 23 of them hammered for less than $10,000 each (I stress “hammered”, as all referenced sale prices are exclusive of an 8% buyer’s premium). Many of these early cars were true projects, but some were vehicles for which there isn’t great demand, like an ’87 Corvette ($6500), a 1996 RHD MG-F ($4250), and a 2008 Saturn Sky ($9000). In other words, something for everyone.

Once past this initial surge, things slowed down a bit, though, with many cars not meeting reserve. A rough guess is that the remainder of Thursday’s auction had around a 50% sell-through rate, not a great performance. As Friday’s auction started, one of the announcers stated “we had a good day yesterday, but frankly we’re hoping for a better day today”. Based on my notes from the first 70 or so cars to cross the block, Friday’s sell-through rate was up significantly to decent 67%. I also found it interesting that to my eye, the room was less crowded on Friday than it was on Thursday.

Compared to Mecum, and certainly compared to the “catalog” auctions run by RM, Sotheby’s and the like, Carlisle is still a mom-and-pop operation, with a large number of dealers in the audience. They are there to buy and to sell, and they’re expecting to pay wholesale. So you do see bargains, but you also see cars that don’t meet reserve. Over these past few days, I began to realize that in a situation like this, a published book value is not very meaningful. The audience isn’t dumb, and they will buy the car if they feel the price is fair. However, some sellers still have inflated concepts of the values of their own vehicles, and that is outside the control of the bidders. For a sale to occur, the reserve must be reasonable, and the bidders must see the worth. That is all that matters, and that is what it takes for a successful auction transaction.


Sold lots are listed first, and as always on Richard’s Car Blog, are listed in hammer price order, from low to high. Following this is a selection of interesting lots which did not meet reserve.


Lot T121, 1996 MG-F, green paint, grey interior. RHD, mid-engine 1.8L 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual, A/C.

SOLD FOR $4250

I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the metal before. Obviously is old enough to be legally imported under the “25-year-old” rule. Given how popular JDM RHD cars are, I would imagine that there are enough people out there willing to embrace the quirkiness of this one. You might have the only one at the next MG meet.


Lot T140, 1982 Buick Riviera, tan paint, vinyl roof, and leather upholstery. Five-digit odometer reads 53, 328. Engine is 307 V8, driving front wheels through an automatic transmission. Wire-wheel hub caps, whitewall tires. Buckets and center console, which I believe are rare in this generation Riviera. One of the cleanest cars at the auction. Only flaw of note is that plastic bumper filler pieces are warped, but they are not cracked.

SOLD FOR $8500.

While you may see this as a typical ‘80s-era GM luxo-barge, these have a following among Riviera fans. I’ve read some of the contemporary road tests where it has been claimed that they are actually nice driving and riding cars. This sale may have been one of the truly good deals of the auction.


Lot T171, 1987 Ford Mustang GT convertible, white paint, white top, red plaid cloth interior. Odometer (5-digit) reads 68,308, 5.0 V8, 5-speed manual. Looks great from afar as well as close up. No major flaws noted, could be original paint. Interior has held up well; obvious that car was not left outside with the top down. Biggest flaw noted was 2001 date codes on tires.

SOLD FOR $14,000

Fox-body Mustangs continue to be some of the best performance bargains out there. While a few bring bigger bucks, here is a great example of a very usaable driver with lots of life left in it. A friend texted me the day after this sale to report that the new owner had this car online for sale with an ask of $20k, and he was using the Carlisle auction photos!


Lot T194, 1951 Kaiser Club Coupe, 2-door sedan. Deluxe trim model, Continental flathead 6, 4-speed GM-sourced Hydramatic transmission, one high quality repaint in copper, copper colored interior is stated to be original to the car. Upholstery looks ok, but carpet in rear is worn. Headliner very deteriorated, especially where it meets the windshield and door tops. Five-digit odometer reads 44,021. Whitewall tires, full wheel covers, AM radio, clear vinyl cover on front bench seat.

SOLD FOR $14,500

I saw this online a week before the auction and was totally smitten. Seeing it in person did not disappoint. What a rare sight, and this “Club Coupe” is different from the 2-door sedan, as it features a shortened greenhouse and an extended deck lid. Styled by Howard “Dutch” Darrin, as all the ’51 Kaisers were, this must have stood out when new as much as it stands out today. I thought that this one might fly under the radar, but someone really wanted it and paid a price fair to both buyer and seller.


Lot F484, 1966 Ford Thunderbird convertible, emberglo paint, emberglo interior. Full wheel covers, whitewall tires, fender skirts. Sign says 390 V8 and 3-speed auto. I did not note if the car has A/C. Some flaws: paint damage on left side of convertible top cover, filler strip between rear bumper and body completely missing, upholstery damage on driver’s seat and driver’s door panel. Displayed with top down at all times. Online photos show a white convertible top.

SOLD FOR $15,000

The car was declared a “no sale” at $15,000, and 5 minutes after it left the block the auctioneer announced “we sold the Thunderbird”. Carlisle’s website confirms the $15,000 number. I am a sucker for emberglo, which was a one-year-only color for Ford. Even with the flaws, that wrap-around back seat is a killer look. Drive it and fix it as you go.


Lot F550, 1966 Ford Mustang hardtop, emberglo, emberglo/parchment pony interior. Mustang wheel covers, whitewall tires, dual exhaust. Odometer reads 51,753. Engine is “A code” 289 4-barrel, with 3-speed manual gearbox. Manual steering and brakes. Woodrim steering wheel missing a big chunk.

SOLD FOR $17,000

Was bid on the block to a $16,000 no-sale; website indicates sale price, so it sold after. One of the oddest combination of options I’ve seen on a Mustang. Basically, the A code engine is the only option. The interior trim code indicates “emberglo” but there is another trim code for “emberglo/parchment” so I suspect the pony interior was added after. Like the ’66 T-Bird, I really like this one-year-only color.


Lot T119, 1991 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4, 2-door coupe, turquoise, grey leather interior, 3.0L V6 mounted transversely, AWD, 5-speed manual, 6-digit odometer reads 034434, underhood shows aftermarket hoses and pipes, giving modded “boy racer” vibe, exterior undamaged but not clean, interior the same. Clutch pedal was one of the stiffest I have ever tried, my left leg would be worn out in 5 minutes of city driving.

SOLD FOR $23,250

This was the first big sale of the day, and the bidding action was frantic. I presume that some of the value was driven by the low mileage, but the entire car will need a serious detailing before it can be resold.


Lot 546.1, 1959 Cadillac Sedan de Ville, 4-door hardtop, dark blue, blue and grey interior. Full wheel covers, whitewall tires. Write-up claims California car, factory A/C, 57,000 miles.

SOLD FOR $38,000

Most cars which cross the block at Carlisle are up there for less than two minutes. The auctioneers are consistently able to run 30-35 cars an hour. Sometimes, though, they let the bidding linger, which is what happened with this Caddy. Bidding stalled at around $36,000, but they didn’t close the lot. Instead, I saw the owner up there, as he was pressured by a ringleader to lower his reserve. After about 4 minutes of this, he got a disgusted look on his face, and the auctioneer intoned “the reserve is off!” Two bids later, it hammered for $38k. The paint on this car was stunning. There is nothing more I can say about these fins that hasn’t already been said. Let’s hope the new owner has a large garage.




Lot T108, 1929 Nash Standard Six 4-door sedan, black, brown mohair interior, wooden wheels, blackwall tires, unmounted spare at rear, inline 6, manual gearbox. Body shows no obvious damage, black paint is ok, probably a repaint from many years ago. Interior might be original. Driver’s door shows both pot-metal handles for window winder and door release are broken. Like so many cars at the auction, car looks like no one bothered to clean or detail it for the auction.

HIGH BID: $8,000

This was one of several cars being sold on behalf of the AACA Museum, and as such, it is fair to presume that this car was donated to the Museum, but they decided to sell it rather than show it (a statement to the car’s condition). The other Museum donations sold. I am lacking an explanation as to why this high bid was not accepted.


Lot F402, 1982 Toyota Celica Supra, blue paint, blue interior, Toyota alloys with raised white letter tires. Inline six, 5-speed manual, 126,669 miles on odometer. Owner claims California car. Paint shows significant wear and fading on most horizontal surfaces.

HIGH BID $8500

The owner was really hawking this car, doing his best to distract viewers from the paint by pointing out the positives. It didn’t help its block performance. It’s a shame because the car looked decent other than the paint, which could only be remedied by a complete respray.


Lot F556, 1985 Ford Mustang GT hatchback, Canyon red, grey cloth interior. Carbureted 5.0L V8, 5-speed manual, Mustang alloy wheels with blackwall tires. Odometer reads 68,976. Sign claims one family-owned since new. Very clean car given age and mileage. Biggest drawback: no A/C.

HIGH BID: $14,000

I overheard the son of the owner as he was detailing the car talking about his dad’s thought process when ordering it: “He didn’t want A/C because it would have added weight and made the car slower”. Such was the thinking in 1985. I had my eye on this one as a potential purchase, but lack of A/C was a dealbreaker. I asked at the resale desk about the reserve: $18,000 which seems a bit high to me.


Lot T193, 1991 Mazda Miata, silver, black cloth interior, Mazda daisy alloys with blackwall tires, 1.6L inline 4, 5-speed manual, odometer reads just under 9,000 miles. Except for mileage, an otherwise unremarkable NA Miata.

HIGH BID: $16,000

It continues to amaze me how many early low-mileage Miatas were seemingly salted away, and are now coming out of the woodwork and in some cases, bringing the bucks. High bid had to have been close.


Lot T209.1, 1971 Jaguar E-Type 2+2 Coupe, silver, red interior, V12/automatic. Aftermarket Minilite-style wheels. Silver paint and red upholstery look decent, but entire looks of vehicle marred by Jaguar “leaper” hood ornament and completely unnecessary “V12” emblems behind quarter windows.

HIGH BID: $37,500

From a distance, this looked like a presentable Series III Coupe, even with the automatic, as many of them had. But the “custom touches” ruined the car for me, and likely for the bidders too. High bid was fair for equipment and condition (just imagine trying to repair those holes in the hood from that emblem!).


All photographs copyright © 2023 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.


RM Sotheby’s Auction, Hershey, PA, Oct. 2022

A fixture for many years as an element of the AACA Fall Hershey, PA car show, RM Sotheby’s Hershey auction is conducted at the Hershey Lodge, a few miles away from Hersheypark. There, they have ample room to erect several tents, and the vehicles can relatively easily be driven (or pushed) in and out of the building as each one’s turn comes up to cross the block.

In recent years, RM has specialized in offering American cars at Hershey, and a large percentage of those have been pre-war (before World War 2). Since concluding my week with the Glidden tour last month, I can’t seem to shake this exciting notion of pre-war machinery being used for touring purposes. I’ve also been keenly interested in taking some measure of the supply and demand (that is, selling prices) of these older vehicles.

Some in the hobby continue to cling to the notion that collectors’ interest in any particular era of cars directly correlates to the age of the collector. Put another way, there are those who believe that there is greatly diminished collector interest in vehicles over 70 years old, as those who would remember them as new vehicles from their youth are all but gone from this earth. (This is also why some believe that automobiles from the ‘50s and ‘60s have diminished in value, as the oldest of the Baby Boomers who remember them from their own youth have begun to pass.)

My own observations discount this theory. I’ve rambled on before about the possibility that collectors are starting to view cars from the earliest days of the automobile as similar to paintings and furniture, meaning that they are being collected as much for their intrinsic and historic value as they are for their value as driving machines.

This year’s RM auction was a two-day affair, as has been the custom. As I was in town for only one day, I was witness only to Day Two at the Hershey Lodge. The vehicles on the ground were all due to be auctioned that evening; it appeared that the Day One auction cars had already been moved elsewhere. Of the ten cars mentioned below which caught my attention, six are pre-war, and five of those six sold, some for hefty amounts. (Vehicles which were offered at No Reserve are noted below.) Full results from Hershey can be found at Prices shown below include buyer’s premium of 10%. I have sorted the lots this time in model year order (except for the Fiat which did not sell, covered at the end).


Lot 340, 1902 Oldsmobile Model R curved dash runabout

Black with red trim, black upholstery, wire wheels, blackwall tires. Website claims half-century with current owner’s family. Car was pushed into and out of the building for the auction.

SOLD for $38,500

I had incorrectly presumed that this was a re-creation, as every “curved dash” Olds I’ve ever come across has been such. If this is truly a 1902 automobile, then it’s 120 years old, and that alone is remarkable. Given its historical significance, I’d say that under $40,000 sounds like a bargain.

Lot 353, 1903 DeDion-Bouton

Yellow body and wheels, wood fenders, black upholstery. One year newer than the Olds, yet has a steering wheel as opposed to the Olds’ tiller. Car is smaller than it might appear in photos. Website claims that DeDion-Bouton was the world’s largest car manufacturer in 1900.

SOLD for $46,750 (no reserve sale)

“Only” 119 years old, but looks to be in great shape. What is it worth? On this day, it was worth just under $50,000. I’d fathom a guess that it would fetch more at a European auction.


Lot 385, 1914 Thomas K-6-90 Flyabout

Red paint, wheels, and upholstery, black folding top. Brass trim in and out, wicker basket out back. Dual unmounted tires on right side. Big car on 140-inch wheelbase. Website states that “6-90” in model name indicates 6-cylinder, 90 horsepower engine, also claims that car was rebuilt with custom coachwork in the 1980s.

SOLD for $594,000

Who says no one will pony up for a 1914 Whatever? Not I. Of course, Thomas is a brand with a significant early history. Six-hundred large bought this one, which, compared to modern supercars which sell in the 7-figure range, might make this one understandable. Everything’s relative.

Lot 352, 1921 Napier T75 Speedster

Green paint, yellow wire wheels, black upholstery. Swoopy open body with two rows of seats. Website states that this is one of only 120 cars built between 1919 and 1924.

SOLD for $52,250

I can’t say that I’ve ever heard of this brand before. In researching the car, it should come as no surprise that I have not. It’s a British marque which only built cars for six years, and only churned out 120 units at that. Like the DeDion-Bouton, I would imagine that the Brits would have paid more had it been auctioned across the pond.


Lot 408, 1934 Ford

Dark green body, black fenders, light green wire wheels, wide whitewall tires, tan interior. Rear-mounted spare tire. Website claims upgraded to 12V electrics, and same owner since 1984.

SOLD for $36,500 (no reserve sale)

A very attractive closed-body Ford which appears to have been restored close to its original appearance. This was the second-to-last car to cross the block on Thursday, which may have depressed the price a little.


Lot 364, 1956 Continental Mark II

Green metallic paint, full wheel covers, wide whitewall tires, green and white interior. Green steering wheel is a shade which clashes with the rest of the interior. Immaculate engine compartment. Difficult to find fault.

SOLD for $96,250

Compare this to the Mark II I spotted in the Hershey Car Corral just a few short miles away, and you begin to understand the difference in value based on the costs associated with doing a complete and correct restoration on one of these. Price paid was fair for the condition, but driving it will devalue it.

Lot 401, 1956 VW Beetle convertible

Brown paint (sign on car calls it “Sepia Silver”), VW wheel covers, whitewall tires, dark brown top, tan interior. An old Bug, as distinguished by the low-mounted front signal lights and small rear window. Website claims 23,666 miles shown are original.

SOLD for $71,500

This was one of those over-the-top restorations that looked better than new. I was around plenty of new Beetles in the ‘60s and ‘70s and none of them ever looked this sharp. In today’s market, there are plenty of deep-pocketed individuals willing to spend this kind of money for an example of the People’s Car.


Lot 384, 1959 Chrysler 300E convertible

White paint, wire wheels, wide whitewall tires, tan top, tan leather interior. Sign on car claims that of 140 built, this is 1 of only 27 which survive.

SOLD for $75,000

Some call the 300 Letter cars the original muscle cars. I disagree, because I think the definition of “muscle car” encompasses a smaller (intermediate) body with a big engine. Rather, these 300s are often called big brutes. By 1959, the Chrysler styling had gotten a little fussy, but there was a lot to like here. It’s difficult to refer to 75 grand as a good deal, but for the Mopar enthusiast, this was.



Lot 391, 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe

Blue metallic, M-B wheel covers, blackwall tires, light brown interior. 3.5L V8, automatic, factory sunroof. Sharp looking Benz with prominent grille, wraparound rear glass, vestigial fins.

SOLD for $88,000

A beautiful and rare Mercedes, for about the same amount of money as a mid-sized Mercedes-Benz SUV would cost new today. The difference is that this one will hold its value.


Lot 377, 1912 Fiat Type 56 Touring

Dark blue, blue wooden wheels, brass radiator and headlights, wood windshield surround, black leather interior. Website claims this car was built by American Fiat, a subsidiary of the Italian parent company, and was actually manufactured in Poughkeepsie, NY! The website further claims that the car was restored in the 1990s, including an upgrade to hydraulic brakes.

NOT SOLD (high bid not recorded; pre-sale estimate was $700,000 to $900,000)

Photographs cannot convey the impression that this vehicle had on me. It’s huge, and so full of small details that one could spend an hour just constantly circling it, taking it all in. I was smitten with it, maybe because it’s a Fiat, maybe because I’ve never seen such a large Fiat! Whatever one’s interest is in collector cars, this one could easily serve as a centerpiece, whether the collection’s focus is pre-war, American-built, or European-branded. I loved it, but even if I could afford it, it wouldn’t fit in my garage!

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.












Mecum Harrisburg Auction, July 2022

What constitutes a “bargain”? Is it always limited to an “on sale” price? Does a bargain happen when a seller is unsure of an item’s value and lets it go for a lowball offer? Is it possible that when an entire category (think housing) is deemed expensive that anything which sells below market, no matter its condition, is perceived as a bargain?

The definition of a bargain has been discussed a lot lately in the superheated collector car market. Starting sometime in 2020, soon after the Covid pandemic shutdown, prices of special interest cars skyrocketed. In some cases, certain cars saw their values double and triple compared to one or two years prior. Vehicles that were previously deemed uninteresting were bringing silly money, especially at online auctions. It has gotten to the point where some collectors have opined that “any running, driving collector car for under $15,000 is a ‘bargain’”.

There’s that word again. When I attended Day 1 of Mecum’s 2022 Harrisburg auction (their first time back in PA since before the pandemic), it was because I knew from past experience that any potential bargains happen early in the proceedings. My auction report below covers the sale of 11 cars which I found interesting, 10 of which sold on Wednesday, and one on Thursday. All the cars below sold between $5,000 and $22,000. Not all were bargains (looking at you, 2002). However, as I’ve heard myself repeatedly state, if you are looking for a collector car, have between $10k and $20k to spend, and most importantly are open-minded about make and model, there are indeed some bargains to be had.

Vehicles are listed in ascending sale price order. Listed sale price is the HAMMER price and does NOT include the 10% buyer’s premium.


Lot #W67, 1937 Pontiac 2-door sedan. Black paint, plaid seat covers over very worn tan upholstery. Red wheels with newer looking whitewall tires. Six cylinder, 3-speed. Much of the exterior glass is cracked and/or delaminated. No reserve sale.

SOLD for $5,000. We had a long talk with a bidder was fiddling with the car the entire time. (I thought at first he was the owner.) He claimed that the car was in good shape and that he was going to buy it, however, we saw a young man, perhaps in his early 20s, who was the winning bidder. Hope he has fun with it.

Lot #W132, 1991 Honda Civic Si, 2-door sedan, red, black interior. 108 HP 4-cylinder engine with 5-speed manual gearbox. Odometer shows 119,131 miles. Looks clean for its age and mileage, and more strikingly, appears unmodified. May have been painted at one point to a less than professional standard.

SOLD for $8,500. Miles are low for a 30-year-old Honda. Aside from sketchy repaint, there were no glaring faults. Let’s hope the new owner drives it and avoids any temptation to make mods, which thankfully all previous owners were able to do.



Lot #W36, 1971 BMW 2002 2-door sport sedan, dark blue, black vinyl interior, odometer shows 84k miles. Windshield label claims “in climate-controlled storage since 1987”, but must have lived a rough life prior to that. Extensive rust throughout body and engine compartment.

SOLD for $9,000. A shockingly high result, even in this overinflated age. I had pegged it at 5 grand max. I thought I heard the auctioneer state that it was sold to an online bidder, who may have thought the car looked good in photos.


Lot #W57, 1982 Chevrolet El Camino, two-tone tan and beige, tan interior. 350 V8, automatic, A/C. Sign states recent repaint. Little to fault cosmetically.

SOLD for $10,500. El Caminos will always have a following, although it’s the Chevelle-based ones from the 1960s and early ‘70s which generate the most interest. Still, given the popularity of pickup trucks of all sizes and ages, and the behemoths which pass for full-size trucks today, it’s easy to look at something so reasonably sized like this one from 1982 and understand the attraction.


Lot #T130, 1970 Lincoln Continental Mark III, pale green, dark green vinyl top, black interior. 460 V8, fully equipped with all the luxury features of 1970.

SOLD for $10,500. This sold on Thursday, so while we didn’t see this one cross the block, we got the sale result from Mecum’s website. The right people weren’t in the room. This was a #3+ condition car which sold for #4 money. I can only guess that the green colors held it back.



Lot #117, 1986 Jeep Comanche pickup truck, dark blue, tan interior, V6 and automatic. Sign claims 58k miles. Factory A/C, power steering and brakes, radio, and not much else.

SOLD for $13,500. Might seem like a lot for an ‘80s pickup truck, but given what Chevy and Ford versions are selling for, this price seems fair. Besides, if you like having something different, this is the ticket.


Lot #W106, 1960 Ford Thunderbird 2-door hardtop, bronze, white painted top, bronze interior, wire wheels, whitewall tires. Sign states “Special Edition”; not sure what that includes, but this car had factory air, super rare sliding sunroof, and porthole windows. No reserve sale.

SOLD for $18,000. Last year of the Squarebirds, of which I’m not a big fan. However, the color combo, condition, and perhaps most importantly, options on this one made for an appealing package. This might have been a bit of a bargain at this price.

Lot #W147, 1963 Buick Riviera, black on black. First year for GM’s first “personal luxury car” to compete with Ford’s Thunderbird. Appears done to correct original standards except for unattractive aftermarket wheels, but they should be an easy fix. Well-equipped from factory, except lacks A/C.

SOLD for $20,000. Imagine that it’s 1963, you have about $5,000 burning a hole in your pocket, and you’re in the market for a new car. Your choices include 3 new cars introduced this model year: the Riviera, the Corvette Sting Ray, and the Studebaker Avanti. Oh, and although it was introduced in 1961, let’s throw in the Jaguar XKE. If you needed yours to be a 4-seater, and you (correctly) had doubts about Studebaker’s longevity as a manufacturer, the Riv wins. It’s amazing these first-gen Rivieras aren’t worth more. This one sold a little under current market.

Lot #W107, 1965 VW Beetle 2-door sedan, red, grey/white interior. Appears freshly restored to decent standard. Sign claims upgraded from 6V to 12V electrics (necessary to power those LED headlights which were added). Cheeky little thing.

SOLD for $20,000. When I was a younger man and first started going to car shows, I swore that VW Beetles would never become collectible. I was very wrong. The world will never forget the Beetle.

Lot #W87, 1968 Mercury Cyclone GT (sign states Fastback, but car is notchback). Burgundy, black vinyl top, black interior, gold stripe, full wheel covers, whitewall tires. 302 V8, 4-speed manual, bucket seats and center console. Exterior and interior in good to very good condition, engine compartment could use a detailing.

SOLD for $20,500. As we have seen time and again, it’s the Fords that bring the bucks while similar Mercurys, which cost more when new, don’t perform as well. This was a rare model in a rare body style. The 4-speed was the big attraction. A sold deal for the FoMoCo fan looking for something a little different.

Lot #W146, 1929 Ford Model A roadster, green body, black top and fenders, yellow wire wheels with whitewall tires. Appears to be an older restoration. We spoke briefly with the owner who claimed that the car “runs well”.

SOLD for $22,000.  It’s unusual to see pre-war cars at a Mecum auction, but this was one of several that crossed the block, and that was just on Wednesday. Interest in these old sleds is far from dead, even though anyone who would have bought this new has long since gone to the great salvage yard in the sky.


All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.












Carlisle Spring Auction, April 2022

One of the principal reasons for attending the Spring Carlisle Auction this year (a two-day event, which ran on April 21 & 22, 2022) was to take the temperature of the collector car market. It’s no secret that special-interest car pricing has exploded since the Covid shutdown began in early 2020. It’s difficult to pin down the exact reasons, but there’s been some influence from new and late-model used vehicle pricing having jumped sky high. We also have collectors who have decided that there’s no time like the present to get the toys of their dreams, and are willing to break open their IRA piggy banks to fund such dreams.

Online auctions, led by Bring a Trailer (BaT), provide real-world results, not just asking prices. A general observation has been that many collector cars are selling for double or triple what they might have fetched several years ago. This in turn has brought back the age-old argument that “the collector car hobby is too expensive! Everything is priced completely out of my range!” And for the umpteenth time, I’m here to argue that this is simply not true, provided you’re open minded as to what you would consider as a ‘collector car’.

I cover 13 sales results below from last week’s Carlisle event. Although I wasn’t necessarily targeting the lower end of the price range, 11 of the 13 cars listed below sold for under $10,000. And these aren’t junk. They are mostly domestic product, with a German economy car and two British sporting roadsters included. Yes, a few of them are 4-door sedans, however, that body style is gaining respect in the hobby. Four of them are convertibles. There are 4-cylinder cars, 6-cylinder ones (including one supercharged) and many V8s. Again, open-mindedness gets you something fun, and most importantly, a foot into the hobby, meaning a car you can drive to a Cars & Coffee event, a Cruise Night, or on a tour with a car club.

Carlisle Auctions is primarily attended by dealers who are looking to pay wholesale so they can flip for a profit. For the individual collector, this event continues to present an opportunity to buy a first or a twenty-first collector car at a price that’s more than fair.

As always, Richard’s Car Blog sorts the auction results IN PRICE ORDER, to give the reader an idea of what types of vehicles sell in similar price ranges. The blog also strives to provide multiple photos of each car, capturing the front, rear, interior, and engine compartment whenever possible.


$3,000 – $5,000:

T215, 1996 Cadillac Eldorado, dark blue/green, taupe interior. Northstar V8, auto, factory alloys, blackwalls. Interior shows expected wear for age. Sign claims “low actual mileage” but miles not verified.

SOLD $3,000. The deal of the day or a never-ending money pit? This car sold midday on Thursday, and I didn’t check it out until after the sale. Is there a bad CarFax? Branded title? Major accident repair? I don’t know, but someone may have done well just to get a running driving car for this money.


T112, 1976 Buick Electra 4-door pillarless hardtop, silver, red vinyl roof, red interior. 455 V8, auto. Clock shows 87k. Blackwall tires, full wheel covers, fender skirts, faded bumper fillers. Paint is shot, silver looks more like primer. Interior ok, driver’s door armrest deteriorated. (No mention if roll of duct tape is included.) Engine compartment a mess. Last year of GM’s full-size cars before the Big Downsizing in ’77.

SOLD $5,000. A neglected old boat, only for the Buick devotee. But hey, who says you can’t get into the hobby cheap? Bring a gas card.



$5,700 – $6,500:

T145, 1960 Rambler 4-door sedan, 6-cylinder, auto (push button!), dark blue body, white top, blackwall tires, white painted wheels with Rambler hub caps. Sign claims 41k original miles, could be true. Interior multi-grey, rubber mats on floor. Quite basic transportation even by 1960 standards.

SOLD $5,750 Rambler/AMC collectors are out there (I know a few), but this car is as plain as plain gets. Perhaps the best one can say is to acknowledge that the car survived. Only for the hardcore Rambler enthusiast.



F470, 1964 Chevrolet Corvair convertible, yellow, white convertible top, wire wheel covers, whitewall tires, aftermarket brown velour seat upholstery, dash cover. Flat-6, 4-speed, claimed 67k miles.

SOLD $6,000. To me, car’s appearance was greatly held back by incorrect seat upholstery; should be all black. No engine specs stated, so presumed this is lower HP version (110?). If underbody is solid, this is something of a deal on a 1st gen Corvair droptop (with the manual a plus). Recent BaT sales have been higher than this.



T101, 1979 Pontiac Bonneville 4-door sedan. V8, auto, Two-tone brown/cream, beige interior. Odometer shows 85k, could be actual. Fender skirts, whitewalls, full wheel covers, color-keyed bodyside molding. Interior shows little wear (driver’s door panel looks amazing for age and miles). Engine compartment could use a detail.

SOLD $6,250. Four door sedans are gathering more respect as collectibles, helped in part by rising values of two door cars. If you’re ok with pillared sedans, this one was nice. The orphaned marque could help or hurt depending on your point of view. (Saw this car in the Car Corral the following day, ask was $10,500.)


F450, 1996 Buick Riviera, 3.8L supercharged V6, auto, FWD. Black paint, chrome factory wheels, grey leather interior. Sign claims 69k original miles. Looks like a 10-year-old well-kept used car.

SOLD $6,500. A great touring car, eligible for all AACA events now that it’s over 25 years old.



$7,500 – $8,250:

T102, 1974 VW Super Beetle, light blue, white interior. Sign claims 53k original miles. Blackwall tires, VW hub caps. Exterior shows well except for (hopefully removable) decals. Interior has cracked dash, paint chips on inside driver’s door, lace-on steering wheel cover, coco floor mats. Engine compartment clean, shows signs of recent service.

SOLD $7,500. #3 condition car sold for #4 money, a rare deal in today’s market. Was the 2nd car run on Thursday, to buyer’s delight and seller’s chagrin.


F492, 1996 Ford Mustang GT convertible, 4.6L V8, auto, sign claims 65k original miles (and 6-digit odo backs that up).  Teal green, tan top, tan cloth interior. Blackwall tires on factory alloys, factory rear spoiler. A decent looking used car.

SOLD $7,500. These SN-95 models succeeded the Fox-body cars, and the original styling was derided as being a bit too soft (rectified in the 1999 refresh). These mid-to-late ‘90s Mustangs represent a tremendous value if you’re looking for pony car fun, especially in top-down mode.



T121, 1975 Triumph Spitfire, red, black top, non-original two-tone black/red interior. Painted wheels, center caps and trim rings, blackwall tires. Sign claims 45k original miles. Engine compartment clean.

SOLD $7,750. It doesn’t get much simpler than a Spitfire. You might want to try one on for size before plunking down your hard-earned cash. Still, lots of wind-in-the-hair fun for little money. Great first collector car, as parts are plentiful and the wrenching is easy.


F472, 1952 Packard 200 4-door sedan. Light green, full wheel covers, whitewalls, fender skirts. Original selling dealer emblem on trunk lid. Interior is grey/black, odo reads 23k, no mileage claim. Straight-8 flathead, stick shift, 6 volt. Trunk shows a wide-white 7.60-15 bias-ply tire on spare wheel; how old is that tire?? Sign claims “all original survivor”.

SOLD $8,250. I looked over this car as carefully as I could and could find zero evidence of a respray. It’s entirely possible this car was wearing factory paint. No rust-through was found during a cursory inspection. I’m smitten by any car that can remain as original as this one appears to have done. If true, a wonderful find for the Packard aficionado.

T134, 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible, V8, auto, dark red, tan top and interior, 88k miles, factory alloys, blackwall tires, interior shows little wear. Sign claims recent service to timing chains and coolant inlets. First year for the XK8.

SOLD $8,250. These have consistently sold in the high four-figures up until recently. Several BaT sales earlier this year were in the mid-teens, so based on that, consider this sale a bit of a bargain.


$17,000 – $32,000:

T217, 1988 Ford Mustang GT convertible. 5.0 V8, automatic, claim is 46k original miles. Blue paint, grey lower cladding, dark blue convertible top, luggage rack, factory alloys, blackwalls. Interior is grey plaid cloth.  Overall hard to fault.

SOLD $17,000. Halfway between a CPI #3 and #2 value, price was fair for both parties. I maintain that Fox-body cars are still somewhat of a good deal in this overheated collector market.


F449, 1967 Buick Sport Wagon (with 2nd windshield above passenger seat). Silver, black interior, roof rack, what look like later Buick alloys with oversize tires. Buick 340 V8/automatic. Sign states upgraded with 4-wheel disc brakes and 4-wheel air ride suspension. Interior stock except for auxiliary gauges below dash and light grey floor mats.

SOLD $32,000. This result blew me away. It’s almost twice what CPI shows for a #2 car. Overall, the car was ok but was not presented in a very detailed manner. Perhaps the relative rarity of the Sport Wagon body (similar to the Olds Vista Cruiser) drove the bidders to exuberantly wave their bidders’ cards.



All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.


2012 Bonhams Auction: Preserving the Automobile

I can’t put my finger on exactly when I started to notice the change. As far as I could remember, the old car hobby had always treasured restored cars, the more beautifully restored, the better. Trophies were awarded for the cars which had the most perfectly polished paint, the most mirror-like metal, the most crease-free upholstery. I’d see cars with paint that far exceeded any factory spray job. Formerly polished parts now wore triple-plated chrome. Cars entered into judged shows lost points for a scuff on a sidewall or a foot mark on a floor mat. It took many years of hobby participation to come to grips with the reality that for some owners, their immaculately restored cars would never be driven on the road, as that would cause (horrors!) fuel stains on the carbs, heat stains on the exhaust, grass stains on the tires, and points deducted on the judging sheet.

Some of the images of these cars are embedded in my brain. There was the line of two-seat T-Birds, each with identical yellow ink stamps in the exact same locations in their engine compartments. There was the E-Type roadster, top up, whose owner told me that the top has never been down, and never will be, as that might crease the plastic rear window. Then there was the owner of the perfect Mach I Mustang who told me the totality of the car’s mileage since restoration has been “driven onto the trailer, and driven off the trailer”. It got to the point where AACA issued a statement that over restored cars would be no more likely to win trophies than cars restored “just” to factory standards.

But the hobby started to change, and it was subtle at first. Some non-restored original cars were winning prizes formerly reserved for the over restored beauties. Values of well-kept originals began to rise and keep pace with fresh restorations. Some pundits came up with a few key phrases like, “a car is original only once”, and “anyone with a checkbook can restore a car, but it takes perseverance to keep a car original”. The word “patina” entered the hobby’s lexicon, and the condition itself was embraced, indeed, celebrated. An all-original car with dull paint, tattered carpets, and a greasy engine compartment could seriously compete with a restored version of the same make and model, and depending on judging criteria, might beat it. This was, as I called it at the time, the hobby taking a hard right turn in valuing originality over restoration.

It was 10 years ago, in October 2012, that Bonhams, the esteemed auction house, teamed up with the Simeone Museum in Philadelphia PA, to present the first of what they billed as “Preserving the Automobile … the first-ever auction to promote the concept of preservation of collector cars.” Bonhams was attaching itself to a theme that Dr. Fred Simeone himself had practiced with his own collection and would eventually author a book about, which is the notion of preserving vehicles in much the same way that one preserves fine art and historic furniture. All the cars on auction on that 8th day of October were unrestored. To be fair, not all of them were what one would call “preserved”; in fact, a few of them needed a good deal of restoration or might even be of value only as parts cars. But Bonhams and the Simeone Foundation together where out to make a point: there was value to be recognized in offering lots without the shiny bits, in the hopes that others would agree with the efforts to keep the cars as original as possible.

I attended the auction that day and clearly recall thinking that there were some bargains to be had, presuming that the sold cars ran and drove (unlike most other auctions, lots were not driven across the block during the bidding process). Some of these values look even more remarkable with 10 years’ hindsight. Since this inaugural auction in 2012, Bonhams has returned to the Simeone location in most succeeding years with the same theme. In this sometimes over-hyped hobby, it is refreshing to see the efforts made by these two organizations to support and encourage preservation as an important component of it.


Sold lots are listed in ascending price order.


Lot 415, 1946 Lincoln Model 66H Sedan, sold for $2,530 with buyer’s premium. One of the least expensive lots at this auction, and understandably so. Bonhams made no claim that this V-12 Lincoln 4-door started or ran, instead falling back on typical auction hyperbole like “strikingly original”, “dirty but complete” and “a lovely project for the winter months”. These late ‘40s Lincolns were not as attractive as the cars that preceded them or came after them. Still, if your starting budget was $2,500 and you wanted a project, here you go!


Lot 451, 1927 Buick Master Six Opera Coupe, sold for $5,520 with buyer’s premium. The description states that this is a running, driving example which is all original except for its upholstery. In 2012, interest in pre-war cars had been on a long and steady decline but has since picked up. I called this a fair deal in 2012 and it looks even better 10 years later.


Lot 461, Chrysler Town and Country convertible, sold for $9,200 with buyer’s premium. Calling this car “rough” is an understatement. It may have been drivable, but the woodwork alone would soak up most of the next owner’s budget like a brush dipped in shellac. On the positive side, this was the final Woodie American convertible built, with 2022 values hovering close to six figures.

Lot 445, 1970 Jaguar E-Type 2-door coupe (NOT a 2+2), sold for $15,000 with buyer’s premium. The website notes that the car had been off the road since 1990, and had been repainted once in its factory color. The paint does not show well. The description further states that the engine spins freely and “it is anticipated that the car could be made to run”. Even with those caveats, this is a deal for a Series II E-Type, which today carries a value as per my CPI guide between $40-80,000.


Lot 418, 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Roadster with Hard Top, sold for $17,250 with buyer’s premium. One repaint in a shade of red a little off from the factory red. Runs, but has been sitting. This was another deal in 2012 dollars that looks especially attractive today. Although I didn’t photograph it, one front fender had a dent as if an object had fallen onto it, so there was the potential for some body work in its future. Today’s values for the 230 SL are between $75k and $130k according to CPI.


Lot 443, 1957 Lincoln Continental Mark II with factory A/C, sold for $33,350 with buyer’s premium. These cars are rare and in my opinion, not as collectible as other ‘50s icons in part because not everyone knows about them and in part because some people know too much about them, to wit, parts are unavailable and they are notoriously expensive to restore. If this one was all there, and that appeared to be the case, this was a decent deal on a Mark II.

All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

AACA Hershey Meet, October 2010

Continuing with my coverage of Hershey visits which preceded the birth of the blog, below are a few shots from AACA Hershey 2010. The photos show that the weather was beautiful and the turnout was significant. As I stated in the blog post for the 2009 event, my photographic coverage was not as all-encompassing yet.

Photos of cars with lot numbers on the windshields were there to be auctioned by RM at the Hershey Lodge. While I was not yet in the habit of notating auction sales results, my access to the RM Sotheby’s website has allowed me to search for and find the sale prices, which are indicated below. Since the website shows numbers “all in” with commission, I have calculated the actual hammer price by backing out the 10% buyer’s premium. It would be three more years before the Isetta was trailered to RM Hershey to be sold, which occurred in 2013.

The remainder of the shots cover the big Saturday judged event. My friend Pete showed up with “his” Alfa GT 1300 Junior, which he placed in the HPOF category. The expression on my face as I stood next to the car says it all: “Pete, someday, this will be mine!” It took him a while to come around, but the day did come, in March 2013.



1962 Fiat 1200 Cabriolet, sold for $33,000 (hammer price $30,000)


1970 Fiat 500L, sold for $15,400 (hammer price $14,000)


1955 Studebaker Speedster, sold for $55,000 (hammer price $50,000)


1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, sold for $45,100 (hammer price $41,000)



The morning parade of cars on their way to the show field:


Show highlights:

C2 Corvettes


Jaguar XK-120


A British sports car lineup


Additional sports machines


Not mine yet….


All photographs copyright © 2022 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.






Mecum Kissimmee 2022: Are These Sales Good Deals?

The gargantuan auction which is Mecum Kissimmee (over 4,500 vehicular lots) is held every January in its namesake Florida city. This year, the big show extends across 13 days, from Thursday January 6 through Sunday January 16. My previous two-day visits to Mecum Harrisburg were mind-numbing and ear-deafening; the thought of attending this circus for its entire duration would require earplugs, aspirin, and frequent excuses to temporarily vacate the premises. In reality, bidders most likely attend only on the days when the lots which interest them are crossing the block.

Mecum purposely schedules the expected show-stoppers for the weekends to maximize TV exposure. In contrast, it’s been traditionally observed that the first few hours or days can bring out the bargains. I therefore took the liberty to peruse results from Days 1 and 2 to see if there were any standout deals. Setting an arbitrary cutoff of $15,000, I found nine cars that struck me as good values for the buyers. These are personal judgements based on photos and sometimes scant descriptions; an in-person examination is always preferable.

The nine cars are listed below in model year order. All were sold on either Thursday Jan. 6 or Friday Jan. 7. The prices below include the 10% buyer’s premium; divide the number by 1.1 to obtain the hammer price. Links are provided to Mecum’s site (I cannot reprint their photos here). In a few cases where a recent BaT sale of a similar car was found, I included a link to that vehicle.


  1. 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza 4-door sedan: beige over black, 44k miles, 4-speed stick

SOLD for $11,550

First generation Corvairs usually pop up as 2-door coupes or convertibles. This 4-door (with its GM “flat roof”) is a rarely seen body style. Corvair owners are fanatical, and there’s good club and parts support. If not for the manual gearbox, I would not have included this. As Corvair enthusiasts like to say, “try buying that OTHER air-cooled flat-6 engine car for this kind of money”.


  1. 1971 VW Super Beetle convertible, yellow, black top and interior, mileage not noted, shiny paint, aftermarket wheels

SOLD for $14,300

Car looked very clean in photos; paint is almost too fresh. Lack of mileage indication usually means it’s high. Beetles of all years and body styles have recently garnered more attention at auctions. Like the Corvair, club and parts support are plentiful. BaT sold a very similar ’72 also in yellow in November ’21 for $21,500, making this one look like a deal.


  1. 1975 Plymouth Fury, green, white top, green interior, 440/automatic, no miles listed

SOLD for $11,000     

By 1975, Plymouth had moved the Fury nameplate down a notch to the intermediate platform; the full-size car was called “Gran Fury”. This coupe looked funky, and it’s not a body style that will appeal to many. The only reason for its inclusion here is the 440; obtaining this motor in most other Mopar products would cost multiples of this sale price.


  1. 1977 Chrysler New Yorker 2-door, triple beige, 20k original miles (19,583 shown on the 5-digit odo)

SOLD for $11,000

Forget the Fury; for the hardcore Mopar man (or gal), this was the one to have. If Walter P. were alive in 1977, this would be his company car. The car looks brand-new in photos. Sure, it’s from the Malaise Era, and you need a double-length pole barn to store it, but it’s perfect. And it’s a two-door! Once you learn to parallel park it, you will be the hit at every cruise night and Cars & Coffee you attend. As an added bonus, you can bring all five of your friends.  Oh, and get a gasoline credit card. Maybe two.


  1. 1981 Fiat 124 Spider Limited Edition, gold, tan top and interior, 66k miles, A/C, clean under hood, outside mirror broken off

SOLD for $14,300     

These Spiders, after languishing for years, are getting more attention and more bucks thrown at them. This Limited Edition car (only came in this color) was exceptionally clean-looking (and no rub strips!). BaT sold one in December 2021 for $16,500. Rust is enemy #1; try to not let it ever, ever get wet. Stay on top of maintenance (easy DIY or become friends with Tony) and they’re actually reliable.


  1. 1990 Ford Mustang convertible, 7-UP edition, green, white top and interior, 5.0/automatic, miles not stated

SOLD for $7,150

Fox-body Mustangs continue to be bargains, and I’m waiting for prices to take off. How can you go wrong in a drop-top pony car with a 5.0 V8 for well under 10 grand? Yeah, I also wish it were a stick, but that’s one of the tradeoffs at this number. (Mecum’s Kissimmee lots include many sporty cars with slushboxes; is this a reflection of Florida’s population?) Last month, BaT sold a ’92 ‘vert in the same colors with the same drivetrain for $13,250.


  1. 1992 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, double red, automatic, 35k miles

SOLD for $10,450

Corvette C4 prices are all over the map and largely dependent on miles and condition (and unwanted mods). The attraction here is the low mileage. I’m a fan of the ’91-and-newer restyle, which cleaned things up inside and out. I do think C4s represent a bit of a performance bargain, but the new owner should drive the car and not expect (or worry about) any future upside, which may never come to pass.


  1. 1994 Ford Mustang GT convertible, black and tan, 56k miles, 5.0/automatic

SOLD for $8,800

An additional $1,650 over the ’90 Mustang above nets a car four years newer, wearing updated styling on the SN-95 platform. Personally, it’s a toss-up between the two, and really dependent on color, miles, and service history. Again, the auto is the tradeoff at this number, but it’s still a lot of stylish fun on four wheels for under nine large.


  1. 1995 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 convertible, blue/white top/black interior, miles not stated, 5.7L/6-speed

SOLD for $8,250

I’ve not forgotten my bow-tie friends (some of whom look askance at Mustangs), so here is a very attractive Z28 drop-top with a stick (must have been brought in from outside of FL) for well under five figures. In October ’21, BaT sold a black ’95 Z28 with only 9k on the clock but with an automatic for $14,060; I’d rather have this blue one and pocket the almost 6 grand difference.


When Kissimmee is over, Mecum will brag about the high-five figure, six-figure, and (if there are any) seven-figure sales, implying that ALL their sold units went for big bucks. The collector car market is very strong right now; selling is favoring the sellers. That does not mean that bargains don’t exist, a point proven by these 9 examples (8 if you take away the Fury). The trick with auctions is to be at the right place at the right time. Looking at “sold” results is hindsight. With this many cars crossing the block, some are bound to fall through the cracks. (Mecum will keep a bidding session active for only one to two minutes.) The savvy bidder researches the lots of interest ahead of time, sets an upper limit, then places her/himself near the block, ready to bid. Each of these cars was sold to someone who is convinced they got a good deal, and they did.






Are These the Auction Cars That Got Away?

It can be entertaining to reminisce about “the one that got away”. Whether it’s the big fish that broke loose from your hook, or the college flame you think you should have married (and admit it, it wouldn’t have worked out), we occasionally think about the “almost” events from our past.

Those of us in the collector car hobby are particularly expert at this game. I haven’t met a single classic car fan who hasn’t cried on my shoulder about the one that should never have left the garage. A variation of that theme are the cars we could have purchased at auction and didn’t.

The recent release of Hagerty’s Bull Market List for 2022 provided something of a prompt for this post. I have no beef with their choices and have no plans to rebut them or offer my own. However, the list implies if not outright claims that certain cars will increase in value, some more quickly than others. We therefore swing back to the question of whether one can buy cars, especially at an auction, enjoy them for a while, and then sell them for a profit.

I decided to revisit my blog posts of five years ago, 2016, a year in which I attended auctions in Atlantic City, Carlisle, Harrisburg, and Hershey. Scanning the results, I spotted a few cars which seemed to sell on the low end of pricing compared to what they might bring today. (Let’s temper all this talk about “making a profit” by pointing out that the buyer must cover overhead such as auction fees, taxes, registration, shipping, insurance, maintenance, repair, and storage. Ownership of a car is not “free”.)

Below is my one pick from each of the five auctions I attended that year. The text and photo are carried over from my initial post, and I’ve added comments along with book values and an example of a recent sale.


Here’s what I posted:

Lot #1542, 1995 Jaguar XJS convertible, champagne, brown cloth top, glass rear window, tan interior, 86,900 miles. Car looks very nice from the outside. Some driver’s seat bolster wear, otherwise clean interior. 6 cylinder, automatic, nice alloy wheels, paint looks great except for repainted passenger door (but it’s hardly noticeable). Sign on the dash said “not sold on Friday, but for sale at asking price of $9,500”. Online, the car was reported sold for $8,000. CPI values the car between $10,250 (#3) and $17,425 (#2). We would rate is at 3+ and call it very well bought.

Feb. 2016, G. Potter King Auction: 1995 Jaguar XJS
Here are my thoughts in 2021:

I remember this car well, thought it was very attractive, and thought it was a steal in 2016. That steal looks even better in 2021. CPI values the car in Dec. ’21 between $12,400 (#3) and $22,800 (#2). Bring a Trailer (BaT) sold a very similar one in October ’21 for $23,050. That eight grand sale is looking good.



Here’s what I posted:

F464 1991 Chevy Corvette coupe, VIN 1G1YY2386M5104468, white, smoke glass top, 5.7L V8, automatic, 24,000 original miles, just serviced. Corvette alloy wheels are unmarked. Nose shows no paint chips or scrapes. Door seals in good shape. Interior is blue/gray, automatic, with slight carpet wear. Interior supports mileage claim. Paint looks original, all looks presentable. Glass OK. This car was very late in crossing the block, but bidder interest was high, possibly because of the low miles. Car was still sold within the CPI “good” range, so we’ll call this one well-bought.


HIGH BID: $9,200 SOLD!

CPI: $9,000-15,000

Apr. 2016, Spring Carlisle Auction: 1991 Corvette
Here are my thoughts in 2021:

This was when I started noticing how inexpensive C4 Corvettes were. To me, this car was a trade-off between the low miles and the auto gearbox. Since then, I’ve noticed that C4 values have been flat, as evidenced by the CPI numbers in the Dec. ’21 book: good-to-excellent values are between $7,000 and $13,500, meaning they’ve actually dropped in the last five years. On BaT, almost all the C4s are either ZR-1s or convertibles, and all have low mileage. The closest comp is this ’91 with 16k on it which sold for $15,000. The buyer of this white car would only be ahead if the car remained parked, and what’s the point of that?


Here’s what I posted:


Condition estimate: 2+

SOLD for $15,500

This generation SL is hot right now, especially the 450-SLs from the late ‘70s like this one, and the final 560-SLs. Many of the ones we see at auction are dogs; this one was decidedly not. Price was not a bargain, but fair for a very presentable Benz. This car can likely be enjoyed and then sold in several years for the same or a little more.

Jul. 2016, Mecum Harrisburg auction: 1977 MB 450SL
Here are my thoughts in 2021:

Awfully cheeky of me to write that, eh? Actually, R107 (platform name) Benzes have stayed hot, but particularly the final iteration, the 560SL models which were offered through 1989. Values of older ones like this 450SL are highly dependent on condition. I rated this car as a 2+. The current CPI values these between $12,800 and $28,000 for a good-to-excellent car. So I’ll stand behind my words from April 2016 and state that you could sell this car in this condition today for “a little more” than you paid for it in 2016. Here’s a recent sale of a ’78 450SL for $20,500 on BaT which supports the value range.



Here’s what I posted:

Lot #T131, 1978 VW Beetle convertible, orange, white top, white painted alloy wheels, black vinyl seats. Sold for $5,750. While I did not examine this car closely, it appeared to be solid, with good paint and a good top. The white painted wheels must go, but that’s an easy fix. Sold for about half book price, perhaps because this audience wants muscle cars.

Oct. 2016, Fall Carlisle Auction: 1977 VW Beetle convertible
Here are my thoughts in 2021:

Of all the cars from my youth, I confess that air-cooled VW Bugs were my guess for cars to least likely appreciate and become collector-car-worthy. Of course, I was wrong. Exhibit A as represented here are the final run of Beetle convertibles, especially the 1979 final-year ones. This ’78 is close enough to that. I did note that at $5,750, this car sold “for about half book price” making book price back then about $12,000. The Dec. ’21 CPI puts these drop-tops between $15,000 for “good” to $32,000 for “excellent”. Earlier this month, BaT sold a black-on-black ’79 for $15,000, so our orange Beetle owner would do ok if they sold it today.



Here’s what I posted:

Lot #142, 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster, red with tan interior, pre-sale estimate of $900,000 – $1,100,000

SOLD for $750,000

This was another cosmetic stunner, even if its red-over-tan was a change from its factory blue-over-cream. Claimed to come from long-term ownership, I had every reason to expect the car to break into seven figures. These 300SL roadsters long ago achieved price parity with their Gullwing brothers. Therefore, it came as a total shock to watch the hammer fall at a number so far below the low estimate. Was it the color change, did the audience see something I didn’t, or is the market that soft?

Oct. 2016, RM Hershey Auction: 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster
Here are my thoughts in 2021:

Mercedes-Benz 300SLs, both Gullwing and Roadster, are true blue-chip collectibles, meaning that their values are better than money in the bank. While there may be the occasional backslide, the law of supply and demand (few cars exist, moneyed buyers are a-plenty) means that waiting out any blip is simply a matter of patience. Yet as I asked above, did this one slip through the cracks? The only fault was the color change, and as long as factory colors are chosen, there is no real knock to value. Today’s CPI puts this car between $1.2 and $1.5 million (if you have to ask….). If it was flipped for a profit, let’s hope the owner at least got to enjoy driving it a bit. As you might imagine, online sales are few and far between. BaT did sell a Roadster in July of this year for $1.4 million.

It’s easy to be the armchair quarterback and say “you shoulda bought that one, you coulda doubled your money!”. Sure, like I had three quarters of a mil hanging around. Even the least expensive car of these five, the VW, would have likely cost closer to $7,000 when one was done with the initial outlays, including replacing those ugly wheels. My close friends and I agree: the Number One rule is buy what you like because you like it. The speculation game is a gamble and relies on good luck as well as a good eye. It can and does happen, but my experience is that turning a profit on a resale can mean holding onto a car for a while.

All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.











The RM Sotheby’s Hershey Auction, 2021

A personal highlight of the annual October sojourn to Hershey is the RM Sotheby’s auction, held just a few miles away from the showfield at the Hershey Lodge. I’ve reported extensively about previous RM Hershey auctions on this blog, and even though my 2021 visit was a one day in-and-out, I still found time to scoot over to The Lodge to take in the cars and some of the auction action.

RM Sotheby’s, at least at this location, prides itself on mainly featuring American iron, much of it pre-war (that would be World War II, which serves as a handy demarcation line, since no vehicles were produced in this country from 1942 to 1945). There continues to be much discussion about the relative value of these older pieces of machinery. For the most part, those who drove them when new have departed; and those who bought them as old used cars right after the war are also quickly vacating the premises.

Showcase cars are displayed inside pre-auction


The standard argument goes: “If those who had them in their younger years are no longer here, then their value has plummeted”. The reality is a bit more nuanced than that. Car collectors, at least many that I know (and I put myself in this category) have an appreciation for ALL vehicles. One respected observer of this scene whose acquaintance I’ve made told me that the cars of the nineteen teens, twenties, and thirties are gaining a new audience as collectors have learned to appreciate their styling, engineering, and standing in automotive history. As my pictures below will show, some of these cars have an undeniable stately presence that would be an appropriate fit in any collection, no matter how narrow or diverse. Values for pre-war cars may be off their highs of the early aughts, but they’re not selling for twenty cents on the dollar either. As further evidence, nine of the top ten sales at this auction were pre-war, with prices ranging between $170,000 and $1.5 million.

According to RM’s website, the two-day auction achieved a phenomenal 98% sell-through rate. Granted, many of them were no reserve, but many had reserves (for the cars I’ve reported on, the reserve status is stated). The tremendous sell-through can be chalked up to a combination of quality wares, reasonable reserves, and a continued hot collector car market.

A big part of the fun is sitting outside the entrance / exit door and watching these cars run under their own power. The crew handling that job was working non-stop to get some of these old jalopies started and keep them running (and hope that the brakes worked). By the time darkness fell, I was on my way, but it was a glorious way to end my 2021 Hershey visit.

The cars below are listed in ascending sale price order; sale prices were taken from the RM Sotheby’s website, and the 10% buyer’s premium was backed out, so the “sold” price shown is the hammer price.


Lot #285, 1973 Volvo 1800ES, 4-speed manual. Pre-sale estimate $25-30,000. No reserve. Sold for $30,000.

This was the final year for the 1800, and only the ES (station wagon) model was offered. Sold right at the high end of the estimate. CPI values a #2 car at $44,000, which this wasn’t, but 1800s continue to be popular at the moment. Fair price.


Lot #152, 1948 Alvis drophead coupe, 4-cylinder, 4-speed manual. Pre-sale estimate $45-70,000. No reserve. Sold for $34,000.

Alvis was never a big seller on this side of the pond, but I’ve seen a greater number of them come up for sale recently. The two-tone brown and tan wasn’t the most attractive, and the RHD is either a fun factor or a pain. Sold well below estimate. I hope it runs well, because I know nothing about parts availability.


Lot #305, 1958 Edsel Pacer convertible. First model year of Ford’s Fifties flop. Attractive two-tone white and red. Pre-sale estimate $40-50,000. No reserve. Sold for $34,000.

The risk of no reserve is just that, there is NO reserve. This car missed its low pre-sale estimate by eight grand. CPI values these between $44,000 and $84,000, which sounds generous. Still, this is a unique and historic fifties car that should be easily serviced and maintained. It could be a challenge to find another decent ‘50s American convertible at this price. I hope the new owner drives it.


Lot #291, 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, fuel-injected 250-horse 283, 4-speed manual. Pre-sale estimate $70-90,000. With reserve. Sold for $65,000.

Apparently there were two different f.i. horsepower engines, and this was the lower of the two. This sounded too cheap to me, but CPI shows a value range between $53,000 and $100,000. I still think it was well-bought.


Lot #184, 1963 Jaguar E-Type FHC (fixed-head coupe). Red over black, looked great from afar, but a closer inspection revealed rough areas. Pre-sale estimate $90-110,000. With reserve. Sold for $65,000.

This is an early Series 1 car, with the 3.8 six-cylinder, 4-speed with non-synchro first, and low-back bucket seats. Many refinements were added to the ’65 and newer Series 1 cars with the 4.2 engine. See the photo of the rear window: the glass seal was completely hardened, there was paint overspray on it, and the window trim was missing. CPI has these at $88,000 for a #4 (fair) car; $130,000 for #3 (good), and $195,000 for #2 (excellent). Even with the defects, this was a bargain for a Series 1 XKE.


Lot #193, 1956 Jaguar XK140 roadster. 3.4 six, 4-speed. Pre-sale estimate $100-120,000. With reserve. Sold for $77,500.

Another possible Jaguar bargain which sold well below estimate, as CPI has a #3 car at $112,000. This car may have been a little better than that. Try it before you buy it though: the one time I sat in one required lower body contortions to get in and out.


Lot #150, 1939 Alvis pillarless two-door saloon. A unique and never-seen-before body style (and the 2nd Alvis at this auction). Pre-sale estimate $90-130,000. No reserve. Sold for $102,500.

This was one of the more striking pre-war designs at this auction, and certainly rare in the States. The bidders recognized this, and knowing it was a no-reserve sale, they stepped up to a final sale price which was mid-estimate. Guaranteed to be the star at the next all-British car show.


Lot #272, 1934 Packard Eight Coupe. Elegant two-tone light and dark brown. Pre-sale estimate $90-120,000. With reserve. Sold for $105,000.

I’ve been infatuated with almost all Packards I see these last few years, and this one stopped me dead in my tracks. It was stunning, and in close to perfect condition. While it sold mid-estimate, a higher number would have still been reasonable. That’s a lot of Packard for just over six figures.


Lot #274, 1933 Packard Eight Roadster. Dark red, tan convertible top. Looks like the sister car to Lot #272. Pre-sale estimate $120-140,000. No reserve. Sold for $105,000.

I have no explanation for this result. This car, a convertible, sold for the exact same price as the Packard coupe which was just one year newer. Honestly, I did not look at these two cars that closely to discern any condition differences. Maybe the same person bought both cars and now has twin Packards in the collection.



All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.


The Carlisle Auction, April 2021

For the first time since October 2019, I attended a live collector car auction last week when I found myself at the two-day extravaganza known as the Spring Carlisle Auction. The coronavirus pandemic shutdown, with but one exception, had slammed the door on in-person hobby activities in 2020 for me. What changed? A combination of my being fully vaccinated along with the option to spend much of this auction out of doors encouraged me to accept what seemed to be a reduced risk. As an aside, while the Carlisle Auction website “promised” adherence with certain pandemic protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing, sadly, much of the audience ignored them. I was prepared for such flouting of the prescribed requirements and adjusted my behavior accordingly.

With that said, the Carlisle Events staff did their usual fine job: registration was smooth, run sheets were available early in the a.m., cars were arranged in lot order, the action started promptly at noon, about 25 cars per hour were run across the block, and they drove, pushed, or dragged about 200 cars on Thursday and another 175 on Friday into and out of the Expo Center. Sell-through rates seemed high, helped by a number of no-reserve lots, and while there were few bargains, prices seemed fair if a bit closer to retail (this is still very much an auction dominated by dealers here to buy and sell).

Yes, it snowed. On Thursday morning. For about 2 hours.

While it’s easy for me to look at the entire consignment list and opine that it consisted of the usual suspects (GM and FoMoCo products of the ‘50s, ‘60s, & ‘70s), I was struck by the number of pre-war, meaning 1942 and older cars, offered here. While a few were “rodded and modded”, many were either unrestored or restored to original spec. These included a 1931 Chevy, a 1925 Nash, and a 1942 Studebaker. The two documented below, the 1931 Pontiac and 1939 Packard, sold between $10k and $15k, so this segment of the hobby remains both accessible and of interest to some.

Do you like the final-generation Thunderbirds? There were four, and all sold, at prices between $7,500 and $12,500. What about orphans? Seven Studebakers ran across the block, although only two met reserves. Pontiac GTOs did well, with 4 out of 5 selling for numbers ranging from $38,500 to $56,000.

Twenty-two of my choices are detailed below; all these cars sold. There were many more which I found interesting, however, I am omitting coverage of cars which did not meet reserve. As always, sold cars are presented in sale price order, and multiple photos are supplied, including interior and engine compartment shots when access was there.

Note that EIGHT of my choices hammered at $10,250 or below (and there were many more not included in this report). For the umpteenth time, to those who maintain that the collector car hobby is no longer affordable, I again provide Exhibit A and remind you to be open-minded about the type of car you’d welcome into your garage.

$3,500 TO $10,250:

Lot T109, 1972 MG Midget, red, black vinyl convertible top, black vinyl interior, 4-cylinder, 4-speed manual, clock shows 63,823 miles (who does that in a Midget?), MG Rostyle wheels are rusty, blackwall tires. Car is somewhat rough all over, but at least shows no rust-through, and appears to be all there. Sold at no reserve.

SOLD for $3,500. I got to speak to the owner as he cleared the snow from the car early Thursday morning. He was a young guy, perhaps early 30s, and said he had several other cars in the auction. This MG was not his usual “flip”, and he, over 6 feet tall, barely fit in it. I ran into him later and asked if he was ok with the result. He said yes, as he had about $2,000 into it. Postscript: walking the Carlisle fairgrounds Car Corral on Friday, I saw this car there with an ask of $7,900. Quick flip attempt indeed.

Lot T103, 1983 Porsche 944 2-door coupe, 2.5L 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual, green, light brown interior. Odometer shows 18,552, likely on its 2nd orbit. Black & silver Porsche alloys, blackwall tires. Underhood condition crusty. These Porsche interiors from the 1980s did not hold up well, and this one shows it, with cracked dash (hidden by dash toupee), worn steering wheel cover, various faded beige and brown bits. Sold at no reserve.

SOLD for $3,500. Porsche is just one of several brands about which it is said “there is no such thing as a cheap one”. Even if it runs well, figure on the need to catch up with postponed maintenance. But it does grant you entry into the PCA (Porsche Club of America).

Lot T104, 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix 2-door coupe, white, grey cloth interior, 76k miles, white wheels, blackwall tires, sunroof, 3.1L V6/automatic, rear spoiler, door-mounted 3-point seat belt in lieu of driver’s air bag. No obvious faults, just a ‘90s used car. Sold at no reserve.

SOLD for $3,800. For under 5 grand, someone got a car which at least in NJ is eligible for antique plates, does not require state inspection, and qualifies for showing at any AACA event in the country.

Lot T110, 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 retractable hardtop-convertible, 2.3L 4-cylinder w/supercharger, automatic, red metallic, two-tone beige & black interior, Mercedes alloys with blackwall tires, 6-digit electronic odometer shows 79,901 miles, interior clean for age and mileage. Sold at no reserve.

SOLD for $6,500. Presuming that the hardtop retracted properly, this could be a fun daily driver, and was slightly well-bought, about two grand below book for a “good” condition car.

Lot F471, 1968 Morris Minor Traveler “woody”, RHD, dark red paint, red interior, 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed manual transmission, hub caps on cream-painted steel wheels, whitewall tires, driving lamps, headlight eyelids, dual outside mirrors, wood-framed rear quarters and tailgate.

SOLD for $7,000. Another LBC (little British car) that could be had for under five figures, this one looked great, with the only strike against it its RHD (about which I’ve read that you get used to it in about 10 minutes). You’re guaranteed to have the only one at the next Cars & Coffee.

Lot F443, 1966 Ford LTD 2-door fastback, beige paint and interior, Ford wheel covers with narrow whitewall tires, 352 V8/automatic, Ford blue engine looks like it was dipped in a vat of paint, no A/C and no power brakes, cloth upholstery shows some dirt and wear, steering wheel cover color clashes.

SOLD for $8,000. In the earliest days of the hobby, when only pre-war cars were collected, Ford’s Model T and Model A were two of the most popular affordable collector cars. When baby boomers entered the hobby, interest in the full-size Chevys of the ‘50s and ‘60s surged past similar Fords. Most car people don’t think of this ’66 LTD fastback when considering something from that decade, so it was refreshing to see one that survived. This particular example had a number of demerits against it, including blah colors, lack of A/C, and poor attention to detail. However, if Ford Blue runs through your veins and you wanted a full-size car, you could enjoy this one. Fitting an aftermarket A/C system would probably not detract from its value.

Lot T183, 1963 VW Beetle 2-door sedan, red & black paint, red & white interior, VW hub caps on white-painted steel wheels, blackwall tires, 1.6L flat four, four-speed manual, black dash, white wheel, white seats, red & white door panels. Engine compartment clean if not totally original, with open air filter and painted cooling fan.

SOLD for $9,000. Beetles long ago moved up and away from being cheap auction cars. This price seems on the low side, but I didn’t care for the colors (I don’t like this non-original two-tone treatment), and the interior colors seemed wrong (did the door panels fade to orange?). Hopefully the mechanicals check out.

Lot T113, 1939 Packard 4-door Touring Sedan, flathead inline-6, 3-speed manual transmission, black paint, brown mohair interior. Packard hub caps on steel wheels, wide whitewall tires, possibly bias-ply. Odometer reads 29,000 miles, handwritten note inside car claims original miles, and looks believable to me. Black paint is mostly ok, but buffed through along some sharp body creases. All exterior fittings are in place. Interior looks unrestored. Gas ration sticker in back window, service station sticker in driver’s door jamb shows 24k miles in 1977. Some wear on driver’s seat bottom and door panel, but rest of interior looks like it has survived the last 82 years quite well. Sold at no reserve.

SOLD for $10,250. This was one of several cars at the auction which captured my complete attention because of its believable alleged originality. First, it’s a Packard, albeit a “Junior” one with the six, but still a brand that continues to command attention among collectors. Next is it original condition (the car wore an AACA HPOF emblem). Third, it’s a pre-war car that looks like it could potentially complete some tours. It was bought by Country Classic Cars, a collector car dealer in IL, and they obviously see some upside to it at this price.

$11,250 TO $19,000:

Lot T184, 1972 Honda Z600 coupe (incorrectly ID’d as “CVCC”), dark olive green, black interior, black wheels, blackwall tires, 2-cylinder air-cooled engine, 4-speed manual, FWD, shows 42,664 miles, appears repainted and I won’t swear this is an original color, spartan interior shows no defects, tach redlines at 6,000 rpm, and that 600cc twin must scream at those revs.

SOLD for $11,250. The Beetle parked next to this emphasized how tiny this Z600 is. Hammer price fell right between ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ in my price guide. If you’re ok with the color, then it was a fair price; besides, if you want one, when will the next one show up on the block?

Lot T144, 1947 Dodge Deluxe 2-door coupe, black, brown interior, Dodge hubcaps on steel wheels, wide whitewall tires, flathead inline-6 with 3-speed Fluid Drive, sign on car claims 48,000 miles, not impossible to believe. External sun visor looks like an air foil that would keep top speed to 45 mph. Cheap (and easily removed) steering wheel cover detracts from what is otherwise a clean and original interior.

SOLD for $11,500. This immediate post-war Dodge still wears pre-war styling, and this one was in great shape overall. My reference books tell me that this straight six had 230 cubic inches and put out 102 horsepower, just enough for it to get out of its own way. This was a good buy for the few people who might be looking for a ‘40s Dodge.

Lot F424, 1952 Triumph TR2, red, black top & side curtains, black interior, Triumph hub caps on grey steel wheels, blackwall tires, dual fender-mounted outside mirrors, inline 4-cylinder, 4-speed manual transmission, “Pittsburgh Grand Prix” decals on doors, sign claims 59,000 miles.

SOLD for $12,000. While TR3s are seen relatively frequently, it’s rare to spot one of these “small mouth” TR2s. The lack of outside door handles means gaining ingress is accomplished by reaching through the unzipped side curtain to tug at the door pull; that worked fine on the passenger side, but the pull strap was broken on the left side. Paint, which appears too thick to be original, is cracked in various spots, possibly from body flexing during rigorous driving. Based on the decals, it’s nice to know the car has seen use as intended. This was a great buy of an unusual car, and a nice way to get into the British sports car scene.

Lot F451, 1982 Alfa Romeo Spider, cream paint, black convertible top, dark tan interior, 2L inline 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual transmission, aftermarket alloys with blackwall tires, 6-digit odometer reads 35,083, engine compartment clean but not detailed. The model year 1982 Spiders are a sweet spot: Bosch fuel injection replaced the Spica system, yet the cars kept the Series 2 “Kamm tail” rear end styling. Only two minor faults noted: remote trunk release lever loose in its bezel, and battery hold-down lying next to the trunk-mounted battery.

SOLD for $13,000. My photos fail to document the incredible level of originality, correctness, and supremely fine condition of this Alfa. I spent well over 30 minutes crawling on top of, inside of, and under this car, and aside from what is mentioned above, could find no faults with it. My former car-dealer buddy was with me, and he, with his much more critical eye, agreed with my assessment of the car. Paint was original and near perfect, interior showed no wear, top and tires looked new (tires had 2020 date codes), and upon popping the trunk, we found a manila folder full of service receipts going back over 20 years. The only “rust” was a minor scrape on the front belly pan where a curb impact chipped away an inch of paint. Simply put, this was the absolutely cleanest unrestored Alfa spider I have ever seen at an auction. It truly looked like a 4- or 5-year-old used car. Full disclosure: I was prepared to bid on this car, hoping that the American-car-leaning Carlisle audience would ignore it and allow me to steal it for under $10k, but it quickly sailed past that, ending at a somewhat high $13k. Whoever got it has a car to cherish.

Lot T202, 1950 Packard Deluxe, taupe grey, tan cloth interior, Packard hub caps, blackwall tires, straight-eight engine, 3-speed manual with overdrive, odometer shows 56k miles, service stickers on door jamb support mileage, nice woodgrain paint on dash, seat upholstery shows little wear and appears to be unrestored, Packard rubber mats protect carpet, original radio in box in trunk.

SOLD for $13,250. Was consigned by the same owner as Lot T109, the 1972 MG Midget. He told me the Packard came out of dry storage in Kansas, where the owner had put “dozens” of cars up on blocks. This Packard looked like an honest survivor. I’m personally not a fan of the so-called Bathtub Packards, of which this is one, and I preferred the ’39, but this ’50 would be the more usable car of the two.

Lot T186, 1931 Pontiac Custom 2-door sedan, blue & black paint, grey cloth interior, yellow painted wire wheels with wide whitewall tires. Straight six engine, 3-speed manual transmission, spare tire out back. A handsome car and a nicely-done restoration.

SOLD for $15,750. The auctioneer announced at $14k that the “reserve is off”, and with just a few more bids, it sold. This early ‘30s car has the advantage of being enclosed, which makes it more inviting and practical for touring use. This was one of the more attractive pre-war cars here.  

Lot T154, 1955 Ford Thunderbird, red, red non-porthole hardtop, red & white interior, full T-Bird wheel covers on red-painted wheels with whitewall tires, 292 V8/automatic, power steering, power seat. Sign on car claims car came from estate. While looking good from 20 feet, a closer inspection shows that much of the paint is crazed, cracked, and flaking in spots. Possibly original paint. Interior is presentable.

SOLD for $16,500. Prices on the 2-seat Birds (Baby Birds) are all over the map, as so much depends on condition, colors, and options. A few years ago, I noted at Hershey that prices seemed to have bottomed out around $20-25k for decent cars; values have since headed up, but only slightly. This may have been cheap for a Baby Bird, but you would need to live with the paint as-is; any attempt to restore it at this price would put you underwater.

Lot F510, 1966 Ford Mustang coupe, emberglo paint, beige interior, 289 V8/automatic, Ford styled steel wheels with whitewall tires, underdash A/C (sign indicates A/C inop), wood steering wheel, aftermarket center console. VIN indicates that car left factory with a 2-barrel carb, now has 4-barrel.

SOLD for $17,500. Car looked very sharp in person, helped by emberglo color, a personal favorite. I did not spend much time looking over this car, but if it’s solid underneath, this was a good deal for a 1st gen Mustang coupe; many of them from my observation trade closer to $20k in this condition.

Lot F480, 1969 Buick Riviera, brown metallic, tan vinyl roof, tan interior, Riviera wheel covers, whitewall tires, V8/automatic, sign claims 84k miles, front cornering lights, bench seat, column shifter, detailed engine compartment. Car appears to lack A/C: can’t see a compressor, and dash controls don’t show a “cool” choice.

SOLD for $19,000. This one’s a frequent flyer: I spotted this same car at the RM Hershey auction in 2018, at which time it sold for $16,000. Two and a half years later, and it sold for three grand more, but with consignment fees and transportation costs, it was likely a wash or even a slight loss for the consignor. Overall, an attractive car with nothing extraordinary about it. These are nice looking Rivs, but it’s very disappointing to see an American luxury car from this era without air.

$23,000 TO $27,250:

Lot T142, 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7 2-door hardtop, white, black vinyl top, black interior, Cragar chrome wheels with narrow whitewall tires, aftermarket side body molding and trunk-mounted luggage rack, 289 V8 with C4 automatic, some chrome upgrades underhood. Allegedly a Texas car, clock shows 34,597, could be first or second time around, but either way, car looks clean and straight, if a bit boring in these colors. I hope that side molding is glued and not screwed into place.

SOLD for $23,000. While not a steal, was a fair price for a pony car that looked like it needed nothing to begin enjoying. The strength of Cougars is that they are still undervalued compared to Mustangs of the same vintage and condition, and I’d argue that the ’67-’68 Cougars are slightly better-looking than the same generation Mustangs.

Lot T175, 1965 Chrysler 300 “L” convertible, light blue, white convertible top, blue interior, full wheel covers on steel wheels, narrow whitewall tires, factory a/c, 413 V8, automatic, final year for the famed letter-series 300 models.

SOLD for $24,000. I originally thought this to be quite a bargain, but my price guide shows this price to basically be retail. It’s the 300 letter-series cars from the late ‘50’s to very early ‘60s which can command numbers approaching $150k. Yet this car still has an air of exclusivity to it, with its 360 hp engine (up from 340 in the New Yorker) and subtle styling touches. When new, pricing started at $4,716 (only the New Yorker station wagons were pricier) and only 400 ’65 droptops were built. This was a nice buy in a powerful and exclusive full size Chrysler.

Lot F435, 1967 Plymouth Barracuda 2-door fastback, silver, red interior, aftermarket wheels, raised white-letter tires, 340 V8, automatic, sign claims “full restoration”, but also notes that interior and undercarriage are original and untouched. Cheap steering wheel cover detracts from what is otherwise a pretty interior. Open air cleaner element dirty, engine compartment could use a detailing.

SOLD for $27,250. While the 1970 and on E-bodies get most of the attention among Barracuda fans, the 1967-1969 cars, available as coupe, fastback, or convertible, have their admirers, your scribe included. This was a nice car that had been taken about 80% of the way toward “excellent”, yet it earned a sale price several thousand above what my price guide shows for an excellent car. Well sold.

$34,500 TO $44,250:

Lot F433, 1957 Ford Thunderbird, grey, white hardtop, red interior, chrome wire wheels with wide whitewall tires, 312 V8, automatic, unable to open hood, but interior shows power brake pedal and add-on A/C unit hanging under dash. Online photos show black soft top and engine dress-up kit.

SOLD for $34,500. This was a cosmetically stunning Baby Bird, helped by the unusual but factory-correct gunmetal grey paint. The colors and condition warranted the price for a car that would be equally at home on a showfield or on a tour.

Lot F546, 1991 Acura NSX coupe, red, two-tone red & black interior, aftermarket alloys with blackwall tires, odometer reads 73,234 miles, mid-mounted V6 with 5-speed manual, car not detailed, interior looks somewhat garish, gives the vibe of “just a used car”.

SOLD for $44,250. After seeing one at the 2013 New England 1000 rally, I briefly considered getting one when prices were around $30k. Of course, they quickly shot up after that, with very clean and low mileage cars almost touching six figures. They have dropped back from their highs of a few years ago, but still command good money. This one had higher miles and didn’t show signs of extraordinary care, and sold for a fair price considering the unknowns.

All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.