Mecum Auctions, Harrisburg PA, August 2017

Mecum Auctions came to Harrisburg PA for the fourth consecutive year and held its collector car auction in the Farm Show Complex on August 3, 4, and 5, 2017. A cursory glance at Mecum’s website reveals a litany of events held around the country. In all, 14 different cities play host to a Mecum auction throughout the year, but Harrisburg is the only one situated in the Northeast.

Mecum creates identical auction block set-ups at each venue

The general location is well-known to all fans of special interest cars, as the Pennsylvania capital is almost exactly half-way between the cities of Carlisle, home of Carlisle Events, and Hershey, home to the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) Eastern Fall Meet. The crowds turned out for the auction action, as your scribe was on the ground both Thursday and Friday and observed the standing-room-only scene.

Hardly an empty seat to be found

Mecum advertised that “1000 cars” would be auctioned over 3 days. Thursday’s show started at 10 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m., with about 270 cars crossing the block; Friday started at 9:30 a.m. with automobilia, but the vehicle count almost reached 300, and the final gavel fell after 7 p.m.

The mix of vehicles was truly eclectic – while one could count pre-war cars on two hands, there were some gems from the ‘20s and ‘30s. Foreign jobs, as Tom McCahill might have called them, were well-represented by such famous marques as Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, MG, and Ferrari. The largest count, of course, consisted of ‘60s and ‘70s American muscle cars and resto-mods.

A trend that seems to be growing at Mecum Auctions is the inclusion of what I can only refer to as “late model” vehicles, defined as cars and trucks under 20 years old which can be found in abundance on used car lots around the country. Some are interesting, some are not, but most did sell.

In contrast to previous Harrisburg auctions, this writer didn’t see quite so many bargains. The trend this year favored the sellers. An exception may have been the Mercedes-Benz SLs from the early Seventies through the late Eighties (known by their platform name, R107). Prices for these seemed soft (compared to, say, BringATrailer), but so much depends on condition, maintenance, and upkeep.

The sell-through rate was also strong, guesstimated by me at around 70% for Thursday and Friday. (I was not in attendance on Saturday, which is when the premium lots are run, tempered by higher reserves and greater likelihood of not meeting same.)

Complete auction results are available at www.mecum.com.

Below are results for vehicles which I found interesting. Prices are hammer prices, exclusive of any buyer’s fees. Note that Richard’s Car Blog continues to provide multiple photos of each car, and, organize the sold lots in price order, the better for you, dear reader, to make note of what your dollar can buy.

Click on thumbnail photos to enlarge them.


T116 1982 Lancia Beta Zagato, red with black top and interior. The Zagato model has removable top and soft rear window. Odometer (5-digit analog) is 48,000 miles. Only rust is finger-sized hole in floor on left side. Lancia alloy wheels. Dash is cracked. NO RESERVE.

SOLD for $5,000. I wrongly guessed half this amount, thinking that no one in the room would know what a Lancia was. A Lancia fan got a good car in a rare body style.


 T58 1987 Nissan 300ZX, grey paint and grey cloth interior, 49,000 on analog odometer. Nissan alloys. Very marked up on outside, black marks on RF fender, alloys very marked, black on stainless trim is wearing away. Spoke with owner, he bought car from neighbor, claims that car was well maintained.

SOLD for $5,000. Good daily driver until it snows.


T169 1996 Jaguar XJR, 4-door sedan, supercharged. 4.0L inline 6. British Racing Green non-metallic paint, tan interior. Cosmetically shows very well. Interior particularly spotless. Sunroof, full power accessories. Some paint scratches around fuel filler door, otherwise paint is good. Mileage reported as 70,000.

SOLD for $6,000. If no mechanical needs, may be a great deal in a car that can soak up the miles.


T15.1 1999 Jaguar XK8 convertible, dark red metallic paint, tan top and interior, paint unmarked, 74,500 miles on odometer. V8 and automatic. Condensation in left headlight, touch up of paint chips on right side door edge, staining on top. Doors shut well. Decent overall, but some swirl marks on horizontal surfaces, some scratches on rear quarter.

SOLD for $6,000. These cars have become an auction commodity.


T130.1 1998 Jaguar  XK8 convertible, light gold, tan top and interior. 79,000 miles on odometer. All alloys very pitted, driver’s seat bolster shows more wear than expected. Otherwise presentable. Originally a PA car. NO RESERVE.

SOLD for $6,500. Lot # T15.1 was the better deal, if only because the alloys were in better shape.


T155 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350 SL, 4.5 L V8, med blue metallic, with black interior. As a pre-1973 model, has small bumpers front and rear. Analog 6-digit odometer shows 051,545. Automatic transmission. Interior stock, driver’s seat shows minimal wear. Repainted to decent standard. Engine compartment filthy; a detail here would help immensely. NO RESERVE.

SOLD for $7,000. Nice buy of small-bumper R107 Benz.


T35.1 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL, 4.5 L automatic, big bumpers. Dark blue, light cream interior, 169,000 on analog odometer. Driver’s seat bolster worn, and dye worn off, but not torn. Nardi aftermarket wood wheel, interior just looks old. Driver’s door rattles when shut. Chrome shows pitting. Car is a survivor at this mileage.

SOLD for $7,000. Good value if you plan to show it more than drive it.


F92 1988 Alfa spider Graduate, red, black top, tan interior. “Graduate” model was least-equipped of 3 available trim levels, with steel wheels and vinyl upholstery. Aftermarket alloy wheels and rub strips. Driver’s door very difficult to open. Series 3 with duck tail spoiler. Reads 70,751 on 6-digit odometer. Interior is OK as per ‘80s Alfa standards. Whole car could use a detail. NO RESERVE.

SOLD for $7,000.  No bargain for a Series 3 Alfa spider in so-so condition.


T5 2001 Mercedes-Benz SLK 230 – 2.3L supercharged inline 4, automatic, retractable hardtop, black with black and red interior, AMG wheels, paint nice, 119,800 on odometer. Bad rattle in driver’s door.

SOLD for $7,500. Cheap fun until something expensive breaks.


F22, 2006 Jaguar X-Type wagon, V6, automatic, AWD, medium red metallic, tan interior, odometer is 108,587. Interior design and execution is “down market” compared to XK8 siblings. Security cover, rear-mounted CD changer (remember those?). Jaguar alloys are unmarked. Paint is OK. Car has sunroof and factory roof rails. Odd duck of a car.

SOLD for $7,500. Great, now what do you do with it? Drive it, because re-selling it may be a challenge.


85.1 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL , dark red metallic paint, tan vinyl interior 85,000 on 6-digit odometer. Drivers’ seat has a little bagging. Floor mats in red look odd, interior has sun-faded to different shades of tan, photo of black soft top shown, so car has two tops.

SOLD for $8,500. Some life left in it at this price and mileage.


T31 1999 Porsche Boxster, non-S model, flat-6, stick shift, red, black top, black interior. Outside looks decent, headlights are foggy. Odometer is 084,558. Driver’s bolster shows some wear. No indication if IMS bearing done.

SOLD for $8,500. Another commodity, sold for what seemed to be market-value.


F8 1979 VW Beetle convertible, silver, black top and interior, 63,814 on 5-digit analog odometer. Wide whites add nice old-school vibe, doors shut well. Some stone chips in front. Car has been driven and maintained, which is refreshing. Very attractive car compared to many other ‘79s for sale.

SOLD for $9,000. A win-win for both buyer and seller. Lots of fun left.


T65 1995 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, 350 V8, automatic, 33,000 original miles, white, smoke top, black leather interior. No second top. Factory wheels are unmarked. Spoke to owner, told me that car has lived in his garage, and he just doesn’t drive it anymore. Car is unmarked and unmodified.

SOLD for $9,000. At lunch, I ended up sitting next to the seller and his wife. They seemed pleased with the result, and he remembered me when I had looked over his car. The couple on the other side of the lunch table from me overheard us, and said they were the BUYERS of this car! The whole table had a good laugh at the incredible coincidence.

 


T69.1 1949 MG-TC, 4-cylinder, 4-speed, older restoration. Painted non-original bronze, top and interior are tan, engine is red, painted wire wheels. Owner’s son had car here, dad restored car in 1960s, driven 700 miles since. Dad is now deceased, car being sold at NO RESERVE to settle estate. RHD as all TC’s were. Car has nice original vibe, owner claims that car runs well.

SOLD for $11,000. Lots of charm at max of 45 mph. Try to find another running TC at this price.


T96.1 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL, V8, automatic, claimed to be California car. Brown metallic with tan interior, hardtop on car, photo of soft top shown. Odometer reads 110,812. Nardi aftermarket wood wheel, doors shut well, no discernable wear on driver’s seat. Trunk is clean.

SOLD for $11,500. Good value for final year of the 450 SL, possibly held back by color.


T87 1983 Pininfarina (Fiat) 2000 spider, Red, black top, black interior. Claimed 12,600 original miles (possibly), claimed original paint (no way). Giveaway is bottle of body shop touch-up paint in center console. No rust anywhere. Looks like cosmetically well-done restoration of solid car. Engine compartment not up to same standards as paint and interior. New Ansa exhaust.

SOLD for $14,500. One of the nicer Fiat spiders out there, but still highly shocking (and shockingly high).


F42 2003 Mercedes-Benz SL500 retractable hardtop-convertible, “rare launch edition”, warm silver with black interior. Both doors rattle. (What has happened to Mercedes quality?)  Odometer reads 63,875, paint is unmarked. Factory alloy wheels. With top down, almost all trunk space is pre-empted.

SOLD for $16,000. There were easily a dozen of these in Harrisburg. All sold for about the same money. This was one of the more attractive ones, in both color and condition.


NOTABLE NO-SALES:

 T40.1 1994 Jaguar XJS convertible, 4.0 inline 6, white, tan top and tan interior, outside has add-on gold badges, alloys with fake wire wheel look, tarnished alloy gas filler. Top is worn along edges. Gold badging on back. Stress/heat cracks in tail lights. 85,000 showing on six digit odometer. Could use a good detailing.

NO SALE AT $7,000. How far could we have been from the reserve?

 


F20.1 2006 Jaguar XK8 coupe, 4.2 V8, automatic, BRG non-metallic, tan interior. 75,450 miles on odometer. Headliner is OK (known weak spot for these). Minimal driver’s seat wear. Paint is nice, except for hood, which shows blotching in numerous spots. Either something splashed on it, or there was poor prep on a repaint. Both doors shut well. Jag alloys are attractive and unmarked. Car only let down by hood, which doesn’t affect driving experience.

NO SALE AT $8,000. Based on hood paint, seller should have taken money and run to bank before high bidder changed his mind.


FINAL THOUGHT:

Fakes have been called Clones, Tributes, Recreations; now MIRROR IMAGES???

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

The 2017 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance

The 2017 edition of the Greenwich (CT) Concours d’Elegance marked the 22nd consecutive year for this prestigious event held every June in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, situated along the harbor in Long Island Sound. As has been the custom, the two-day show features domestic makes on Saturday, and imports on Sunday. Compared to other shows in the Northeast, the Greenwich show stands out for its garden-like setting; its manageable size of about 120 cars; and its high standard of presenting top-notch automobiles.

A longstanding rule for the Wennerstroms, family chairpersons of the Concours, is that any car shown at Greenwich must wait four years for a repeat showing. Your scribe showed his 1967 Alfa Romeo here in 2013, so the car became eligible again this year. Still, one must “apply” in order to be accepted, and my vehicle was readily granted entry.

It was an easy 1.5 hour ride on Sunday morning to the park, with a brief stop along the way to pick up my friend Enzo, making his first foray to this Concours. Unlike almost every other show, where attendees pay an entry fee, Greenwich accepts entrants without charge, AND, provides each owner plus a guest with breakfast, lunch, wine, and a harbor boat ride. The gate fee (which I understood to be $40 this year) supplies the cash for the goodies, as well as a substantial donation for the Americares charity.

Wayne Carini wears shades, goes undetected in Greenwich crowd

Another nicety: cars are arranged in circles, facing outwards, making for a unique and accessible way for attendees to view the wares. We were in Circle G, which I anointed the Etceterini Circle. We were kept company by Swedish, Czech, French, Japanese, German, and other Italian cars (in other words, “cars which did not otherwise easily fit into other circles”).

Other groupings were large enough to represent a single marque: Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti. British cars (Jaguar, Aston Martin, MG) had their own circle, as did high-end Italians other than Ferrari (Maserati, Lamborghini, Iso). In fairness to the organizers, groupings depend so much on numbers and makes of vehicles, and only so many cars can fit into one “group”. The good news is, the show is small enough that you can walk around and see everything in a few hours.

Two other unique elements: first, new cars are on display. Vehicle manufacturers and local dealers lure the crowds with beautiful new machinery. This year, we were treated to the sights of BMW i8s, Alfa Romeo Stelvios, Maserati Levantes, plus Teslas, McLarens, Lincolns and Cadillacs.

Second, Bonhams held a classic car auction on-site on Sunday, about the sixth or seventh consecutive year for them to be at Greenwich. A large tent is erected at one corner of the park to hold all the auction vehicles. The trend toward barn-finds continues. We saw a Series I Jaguar E-Type roadster which, based on a windshield registration decal, was last on the road in 1975. The car appeared to have been stored top-down in a dusty barn since then. At the other extreme, there were some beautifully-restored vehicles which deserved top dollar. A limiting factor is that the tent precludes the possibility of driving cars across the block. Better do your homework before you raise that paddle.

 

Rupert Banner of Bonhams works the room, er, tent

While the day dawned sunny and dry, the forecast promised wetness by early afternoon, and unfortunately, said forecast was accurate. By 2pm, a gentle shower enveloped the field, and we headed out. While there was no award for the Alfa this year, the car continued to draw its fans, most of who cannot believe that they are looking at an unrestored 50-year-old car with original paint. Its owner will maintain that paint as best he can in hopes of returning to Greenwich in 2021.

GERMAN

White Porsches, 356 & 911

 

Porsche 928 with its apertures open

 

Split-window VW

 

Amphicar

 

BRITISH

Jaguar XK-120 Coupe

 

Jaguar XK-140

 

Jaguar XK-150

 

Jaguar E-Type

 

MGA

 

Aston Martin DB-4

 

FRENCH

The Bugatti Owner’s Club showed up in force, resulting in a significant number (a dozen or more) of these rare French cars on display together. Given their racing history, it is also not surprising to see a higher percentage of unrestored original cars.

 

NON-FERRARI ITALIAN

Maserati Ghibli Spider

 

Lancia Aurelia

 

Lancia Appia

 

Fiat 1200 Spyder

 

Ghia 450 SS

 

Iso Griffo

 

1967 Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Jr.

 

FERRARI

Daytona Spider

 

308 GTS

 

Dino Spider

 

330 GTS

 

275 GTS

 

The End(s)

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Auction Report: 2017 Spring Carlisle

Carlisle Events held its Spring 2017 Auction at the Carlisle PA Expo Center on April 20, 21, and 22, as always, running concurrently with the Spring Carlisle show. A few years ago, they teamed up with Auctions America, but that marriage broke up, and they are back to being on their own.

For the auction organizers, it’s getting better all the time (to quote Lennon & McCartney). The biggest change for 2017 was moving from a 2-day to a 3-day event; however, that created the problem of lack of parking for the extra cars. The church lot next door was utilized for the overflow. For attendees, it was a challenge at times to find the cars they were seeking out.

Another improvement: run sheets were actually available sooner than one hour before show time. Thursday’s run sheet was posted on their website the evening before! Carlisle has made and continues to make great strides in elevating the auction experience for buyers and sellers alike.

Below are some highlights of cars which sold. We’ll say it yet again: if you want to get into the hobby on a budget and you’re open-minded, there are choices.

Your scribe wishes to point out that this auction report, unlike any other printed or online report, provides both multiple photos of every car, and, arranges the ‘sold’ units in price groups, so that you, dear reader, can get a better sense of what your $6,000, or $10,000, or $20,000 will buy these days. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the photos, and enjoy the read.

____________________________________________________________

UNDER $5,000:

Lot F360, 1965 Austin Healey Sprite, 4 cylinder, stick, white, red interior, looks good from 20 ft., still looks OK up close. Possible quickie re-do of paint and upholstery. British Heritage Trust Certificate included. SOLD FOR $3,400. Could be fun provided you fit in.

Lot T109, 1988 Nissan 300ZX, bland in gold metallic, t-tops, beige velour cloth, V6 non-turbo, 5 speed, 88k miles, interior shows some marks on wheel and driver’s door panel, seats are ok, interior is otherwise clean. SOLD FOR $4,600. Possibly the daily-driver deal of the auction.

___________________________________________________________

$5,500 TO $6,100:

Lot T148, 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SL, gold, gold hardtop, black interior, V8, automatic. 129k on odometer, doesn’t look it, very clean and straight. SOLD FOR $5,500.  High miles, good price if maintenance is up-to-date, bad price if it’s not.

Lot F317, 1987 Nissan 300ZX, red metallic, beige cloth , V6 non-turbo, automatic, 59k miles, t-tops, clean overall, some wear on center armrest, driver seat adjuster arm missing, engine compartment dirty. SOLD FOR $6,000. Lower miles than Lot T109, but automatic vs manual may make the difference.

Lot F302, 1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500, V8, automatic, black, black hardtop, light beige interior, odometer unknown. Sign on car claims much service work done. Interior shows a lot of wear, driver’s seat foam showing, cracks in a lot of interior plastic. SOLD FOR $6,000. Mileage is likely high, making this no bargain. Drive it until it breaks.

Lot S558, 1994 Jaguar XJS convertible, tan metallic, brown soft top, tan interior. 4.0 L inline-6, automatic. 67k original miles. Looks clean and straight. Sign says “here to be sold”, meaning, the owner has had enough (or, the reserve is really low). SOLD FOR $6,100. If you’re not afraid of British cars, this could be fun. Six-cylinder helps a lot.

________________________________________________________

$8,000 TO $11,000:

Lot T103, 1994 Chevrolet Corvette, hardtop, automatic, red, smoke roof panel, chrome wheels, black interior, LT1 engine, 55,383 miles. Some light aftermarket mods, such as wheels and tail light grilles. Crossed the block and declared NO SALE at $7,500. Later reported SOLD FOR $8,000. C4 Corvettes are on their way up, but there are better deals (and better-looking C4s) out there.

Lot F429, 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL, white, tan interior, 124,444 miles, white hardtop, overall clean and straight, no obvious defects. SOLD FOR $9,250. At this price and mileage, this makes Lot T148 look like a good deal. Besides, 450SLs are worth more than 380SLs.

Lot T106, 2001 Jaguar XK8 convertible, blue, blue soft top, tan interior, automatic, factory wheels, 32k original miles, Wear on driver’s seat looks like from higher mileage car, interior otherwise is OK. SOLD FOR $9,300. Nice if you like blue (which I don’t). Low mileage is key here, placing this in the “well bought” category.

Lot T111, 1966 Ford Mustang convertible, green, black top, beige Pony interior, as ratty as any car ever seen at a Carlisle Auction. Only redeeming factor is “A code” 4-barrel 289 engine. Automatic. Bad green respray, convertible top has tape over holes, rear window opaque. Pony interior is destroyed. Both doors shut poorly; if both doors were opened at the same time, car would fold. A true rat. SOLD FOR $10,750. A shocking price for a car that must be completely restored to be used.

___________________________________________________________

$18,000 TO $21,000:

Lot F414.1, 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL, red, black interior, both tops, claimed 72k original miles. SOLD FOR $18,750. Resale red (and low miles) wowed the crowd into a sale.

Lot S537, 1964 Ford Thunderbird convertible, white, black soft top, black interior. Wire wheels, white walls. 71k miles, claimed original. Paint and interior good, steering wheel worn, underhood a little sloppy in places. Gold 390 looks good in there. SOLD FOR $19,250. Decent mid ‘60s T-Bird in monochrome colors. Good deal as long as the top works.

Lot F424, 1957 Ford Thunderbird, white, red interior, porthole hardtop, full wheel covers, wide whites, 292 V8, auto, sign says “reconstructed title, reissued VIN”. Paint and interior OK, underhood not detailed. SOLD FOR $20,800. On the low side for a 2-seat T-Bird. May be worth it if you’re going to keep it. The title issue may make it hard to resell.

 

All photographs copyright © 2017 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

RM-Sotheby’s Hershey Auction, October 2016

RM-Sotheby’s again held their fall auction in Hershey PA to coincide with the AACA Hershey meet. As has been their custom, this was a two-day event, held at the Hershey Lodge on Thursday and Friday, October 6 & 7, 2016. All the vehicles were staged under two large tents pitched in the Lodge’s parking lot, with the actual auction taking place inside one of the conference rooms.

The RM tent immediately adjacent to the building entrance
The RM tent immediately adjacent to the building entrance

For those unwilling to pay the $200 to sit inside, RM thoughtfully set up loudspeakers outside. By positioning oneself immediately adjacent to the entrance door, one had a clear view of all the cars entering and leaving the building. The PA did a fine job of ensuring that you heard the bidding as it happened.

The vehicles for sale this year were a good mix of domestic and imported product. RM has recently specialized in pre-war vehicles, and despite the naysayers who insist that the audience for most anything built before World War Two is dead, these vehicles continue to garner interest among collectors. We also observed that the trend toward offering unrestored and “barn find” cars continued.

The majority of Thursday’s lots (and many of Friday’s) were listed as “offered without reserve”. (RM has long had a policy that vehicles with pre-sale estimates below a certain amount must be no-reserve sales. Several years ago, that threshold was $50,000. This year it appeared to be closer to $100,000.) Indeed, of the 15 lots covered below, 13 were no-reserve pieces. Perhaps more telling, 9 of these 15 sold under their pre-sale estimate.

You won't find this at Mecum: RM offers history of every lot they sell
You won’t find this at Mecum: RM offers history of every lot they sell

Presented below is a sample of Thursday’s sale results, the only day I was in attendance. SOLD prices are hammer prices, WITHOUT the 10% buyer’s premium. The results are again bracketed in price ranges, to provide a clearer sense of what’s available within a certain budget.

One more point: It is my opinion that remaining outside to directly observe the RM crew valiantly attempt to start and drive these vehicles reveals more about their overall condition than could be gleaned by parking one’s behind inside.


UNDER $10,000:

Lot #111, 1960 Ford Zodiac Mk II Saloon, 4-door sedan, red & white, red interior. Six-cylinder engine with automatic transmission. Pre-sale estimate of $10-15,000.

SOLD at no reserve for $4,000

Never saw one in the metal before, although I’ve seen grainy black and white photos of John, Paul, George and Ringo standing around one. Not the most attractive thing, although the quality of the restoration was decent. Drive it to your next Beatles convention.

 

Lot #117, 1963 Sunbeam Rapier Series III convertible, medium blue, white stripe and top, blue interior. Four-cylinder engine, 4-speed stick on the floor. Pre-sale estimate of $20-25,000.

SOLD at no reserve for $7,500

Another oddball British car, although with arguably a bit more charm than the Zodiac. The restoration looked top-notch, except for Port-a-wall whitewalls pulling away from the sides of the tires. You could have the only one at the next all-British  car show.

 Lot #130, 1963 Sunbeam Alpine Series III convertible, red, red removable hardtop, black interior. Four-cylinder engine with 4-speed stick. Pre-sale estimate of $20-30,000

SOLD at no reserve for $9,000

The car looked OK, possibly a well-kept original or older restoration. Of note, the catalog kept referring to the vehicle as a Series III, while the badges on the fenders and trunk stated Series IV. The hardtop adds to its all-weather use, although the Perspex windows were cracked and glazed.

Lot #116, 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4-door sedan, bronze metallic, brown interior. Six-cylinder carbureted engine, automatic transmission. Pre-sale estimate of $15-20,000

SOLD at no reserve for $9,000

The catalog claimed this was an all-original car with just under 100,000 miles. My question is, who brings a car to a high-end auction with so many needs? Anyone who stuck their head through the open driver’s window could read the sticky note on the dash: “Brakes are VERY soft. Be prepared to use handbrake.” The RM staff had great trouble starting it, and it barely ran under its own power onto the block. On its way out, it stalled and would not restart. The hammer price is just the start of the expenses.

 

Right here is where it stalled, would not restart
Right here is where it stalled, would not restart

 


$10,000 to $15,000:

Lot #113, 1928 Pontiac 2-door coupe, tan body, black running boards and fenders, orange wood wheels. Six-cylinder engine, 3-speed manual transmission. Pre-sale estimate of $18-25,000

SOLD at no reserve for $12,500

A good-looking pre-war car in attractive colors, it ran well across the block. I’ll call it a good buy for someone interested in Pontiacs which pre-date Silver Streaks and Wide Tracks.

Pre-war Pontiac in handsome colors
Pre-war Pontiac in handsome colors

 

It got in and out under its own power
It got in and out under its own power

 

Lot #115, 1931 Chevrolet Independence 2-door sedan, dark blue body, black fenders, yellow wire wheels with whitewall tires. Six-cylinder engine, 3-speed manual transmission. Pre-sale estimate of $25-30,000

SOLD at no reserve for $15,000

A nice change from the usual Ford Model As, this compared well to the 1928 Pontiac which sold for a similar price. You had a choice of pre-war GM cars for under $20,000.

Nice pre-war Chevrolet
Nice pre-war Chevrolet

 


$20,000 to $35,000:

Lot #112, 1922 Buick Model 22-45 Five Passenger Touring, beige, dark tan fenders, white top. Six-cylinder engine, 3-speed manual transmission. Pre-sale estimate of $25-30,000.

SOLD at no reserve for $22,500

This makes an interesting comparison to the Pontiac and Chevy which sold for substantially less. This Buick appeared to be a more recent restoration (the odometer read 13 miles, and the catalog claimed this was the total mileage since it was restored), yet as a car with open sides, it may be seen as less usable than the two newer closed cars. The seller should be happy: it “almost” made low estimate.

 

Lot #125, 1928 Marmon Model 68 Roadster, blue, black fenders, white top, blue-painted wood wheels with whitewall tires. Inline 8-cylinder engine and 3-speed manual. Pre-sale estimate of $70-90,000.

SOLD at no reserve for $27,500

The catalog claimed that this was a mostly-unrestored car with 38,000 original miles. I thought it looked like a striking and honest automobile. (The straight-8 must give it some oomph.) The question is, was the pre-sale estimate way off, or did someone steal this car?

The Marmon leaves the building to a new owner
The Marmon leaves the building to a new owner

 

Lot #260, 1960 Volvo PV544 Sport 2-door sedan, red with red and white interior. Four-cylinder engine, two carbs, 4-speed manual transmission. Pre-sale estimate of $15-20,000

SOLD at no reserve for $31,000

While you do occasionally see Volvo PVs at auctions, from my experience it is rare to find one so thoroughly restored, and to original specs too. This car sold on Friday, so I was not present to witness what must have been spirited bidding, as the car sold for significantly over its high estimate. The audience recognized the quality of the resto.

Beautifully restored Volvo PV544
Beautifully restored Volvo PV544

 

Volvo's interior appears done to correct specs
Volvo’s interior appears done to correct specs

$50,000 to $90,000:

Lot #114, 1929 Packard Deluxe Eight Roadster. No paint color can be discerned. Inline 8-cylinder engine and 3-speed manual. Pre-sale estimate of $55-75,000.

SOLD at no reserve for $56,000

A barn find, or just a neglected old car? While the write-up assured all that the owner had brought the beast back to running condition, it still needed to be pushed around. Hey, at least it rolled. Sold almost right on its low estimate.

RM staff get their exercise pushing pudgy Packard
RM staff get their exercise pushing pudgy Packard

 

Lot #134, 1962 Ford Thunderbird convertible, white with aqua interior, Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels with wide whites. 390 V8, 3-speed automatic. Pre-sale estimate of $40-45,000.

SOLD at no reserve for $60,000

The catalog claimed that aside from one repaint in its original white, this was mostly an original car. While it looked nice, and I do like these so-called Bullet Birds, I can only explain the sale price blowing past reserve by the fact that the car sat on the block for 10 minutes while two determined bidders duked it out.

Lot #141, 1969 Jaguar E-Type roadster, green with green interior, Series II car with inline 6 and 4-speed manual. Pre-sale estimate of $60-70,000

SOLD at no reserve for $64,000

At first glance, under the harsh tent lights, this looked like a lovely and well-preserved E-Type. The green-on-green may not be to everyone’s taste, but at least it was all original. Upon closer inspection, one noticed that there was no sheen to the paint at all. It actually looked like primer. The interior was decent, and underhood, things appeared like the car got occasional use and maintenance. This is today’s price for a “driver” Series II E-Type roadster.

The green E leaves the building, "SOLD!"
The green E leaves the building, “SOLD!”

Lot #127, 1935 Packard Eight Convertible Sedan, yellow, black top, wire wheels with whitewalls, tan interior RIGHT HAND DRIVE. Pre-sale estimate of $80-100,000.

SOLD for $70,000

A lovely yet imposing thing, its sale price may have been held back by its steering wheel placement. I don’t pretend to know Packards, but this one sold for only $14,000 more than Lot #114, AND it ran, AND it looked good. If I were in the market for a pre-war Packard, I know which one I would have sprung for.

Packard about to go across the block; note RHD wheel
Packard about to go across the block; note RHD wheel

 

Lot #128, 1959 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, white, silver coves, red interior. 230-hp 283 V8, 4-barrel carb, 4-speed stick shift. Pre-sale estimate of $75-90,000

SOLD at no reserve for $85,000

A stunning cosmetic restoration in striking colors, the catalog claimed that the car has “almost zero miles” since restoration, although the write-up goes on to state that the engine is an “unstamped replacement block”. That did not hold back the bidders. Like the ’62 T-Bird, a contest ensued among several attendees until the hammer price almost reached the high estimate.

C1 Corvette got lots of looks
C1 Corvette got lots of looks

 

Interior freshly restored, looks never sat in
Interior freshly restored, looks never sat in

 

Someone's wallet is $85k lighter, and someone else's is that much heavier
Someone’s wallet is $85k lighter, and someone else’s is that much heavier

 


$300,000 to $750,000:

Lot #140, 1957 Porsche 356A Speedster, orange, black hardtop, black interior. 60-hp 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed manual. Pre-sale estimate of $200-250,000

SOLD at no reserve for $310,000

This is a car which, to the uninitiated, should be sent directly to the junkyard. This Porsche could be the poster child for a “barn find”: It was bought by a man in 1967 who hand-painted it orange over its original white, enjoyed it for a few years, then stored it for 40 years, until it was rediscovered and sold. This 356 got more attention under the tent than anything else on Thursday. After protracted bidding, it screamed past its high estimate. Originality has its price. Shame about the paint.

Barn find Porsche, born white, spray-bombed orange
Barn find Porsche, born white, spray-bombed orange

 

Best I can say about interior is that it's all present
Best I can say about interior is that it’s all present

 

Hardtop likely rare accessory
Hardtop likely rare accessory; note parking lot stickers to left of license plate

 

The Speedster gets driven to its new owner
The Speedster gets driven to its new owner

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?

Beautiful Benz 300SL roadster
Beautiful Benz 300SL roadster
Iconic styling carried over well from Gullwing to this
Iconic styling carried over well from Gullwing to this

 

Interior looks faultless; did someone get a great deal?
Interior looks faultless; did someone get a great deal?

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Carlisle Auction Report, Fall 2016

The good men and women of Carlisle Auctions worked very hard this year to put on an exceptional show for bidders, consignors, and attendees, and they succeeded. Compared to just six months ago, the improvements in organization were obvious.

Prime meat gets to sit inside the Expo Center.
Prime meat gets to sit inside the Expo Center.

For example, run sheets for both Thursday’s AND Friday’s cars were out early Thursday morning. (At the Spring 2016 event, Thursday’s run sheets were put out about one hour before the auction began.) For the first time, a large tent was erected to showcase some of the higher-end cars, and the tent had a pass-through directly to the main building.

A tent! Welcome to the big leagues, Carlisle.
A tent! Welcome to the big leagues, Carlisle.

The quality of the consignments seemed better to this observer, with fewer late-model “just used cars”, and fewer highly-modified rides which have limited appeal. The proof of the higher-caliber merchandise showed in what is guesstimated to be an 85% sell-through rate, much better than their recent auctions. Perhaps Mecum’s presence in Harrisburg has caused the organizers to step up their game.

 

The one thing the auction team could not control was the weather. After an entire summer season of hot, dry days, Mother Nature decided that Fall Carlisle would be an excellent time to bring in the rain. Fortunately, the forecasters were slightly wrong, as Carlisle only had a bearable on-and-off drizzle.

 

We’re trying a novel way to report sales, and that’s by grouping sold units in price ranges. Some of the notable no-sales are also reviewed below. As always, click on any photos to enlarge them, and your comments are welcome, especially your thoughts on which cars were good deals.

 

UNDER $5,000

 

Lot #T103, 1990 Chrysler TC by Maserati, Red with tan leather, removable hard top, 92,000 miles, V6.

Sold for $1,800.

Exterior showed no glaring defects, interior very worn. The collector world does not want these. If you bought it, you could tell your friends you bought a “Maserati” for under 2 grand. Be thankful they didn’t name it The Lido.

 

Lot #T104, 1978 Pontiac Catalina station wagon. V8, automatic. Bland blue in and out. Shows a believable 74,539 miles. Worn, but not worn out.

Sold for $1,900.

With styling as bland as could be, and colors which do nothing to overcome that, this was still a steal for any fans of GM long-roofs. Looked like it had lots of life left.

 

Lot #F311, 1999 Mercedes-Benz SLK 2-door retractable hardtop-convertible, silver, black interior, V6, automatic, 147,000 miles.

Cheap until the first expensive part breaks
The Mercedes SL as mini-me.

Sold for $3,300.

So cheap, you could drive it for a year, and once something big broke, just throw it away.

 

Lot #T111, 1974 Buick Riviera, gold metallic paint. Interior once was beige; someone thought it a good idea to install red velour seats. Mileage reads 74,539, could be real.

Sold for $3,300.

First year Riv after the controversial boat-tails, now with quite a conservative look. Even at this price, this is only for the true Buick aficionado. No extra charge for the bumper sticker.

 

Lot #T114, 1978 Ford Granada 2-door, triple green, 22,000 original miles. Looks brand new.

Sold for $4,250.

Someone salted this one away. Among the many cars at this auction claiming low miles, this Granada was one of the few that looked the part. Even though I like green, I can’t get over that interior shade. So you bought this for under $5,000 – what do you do with it?

 

 

$5,000 TO $10,000

 

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.

 

Lot #F304, 1993 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, black on black, 6-speed manual, 48,000 miles, correct factory alloy wheels. Driver’s seat bolster appears to have been repaired. Rubber doorseals, a typical C4 wear problem, look good here.

Sold for $6,600.

A true auction bargain, perhaps because it was the 4th car across the block on Friday. The black paint looked great, and the interior, not a strong point on these, showed somewhat normal wear for the miles. Can C4 prices go any lower? This is a car you could daily-drive for 3 seasons a year and simply not worry about values. Well bought.

 

Lot #T141, 1989 Porsche 944 coupe, white, blue leather interior, sunroof. Phone dial wheels, stick shift, 68,000 miles.

Sold for $6,700.

Bland color combo didn’t create much excitement. No obvious faults. If you want a Porsche and can’t swing $40k for a 911, here’s your entry point.

 

Lot #T137, 1964 Studebaker GT Hawk, brown metallic, tan vinyl interior, buckets.  289 V8, automatic on the floor. Driver’s door won’t shut. Repaint OK with some overspray, some orange peel. Instrument cluster dirty and worn. Full wheel covers, whitewall tires. Hood fit off on both sides. 22,175 is odometer reading, likely on second trip around.

Sold for $6,750.

One of the bargains of the auction, IF you wanted a Studebaker. (My book shows $15k for a #3 condition car.) Color may have been a turn-off, but I liked it. (My Catalog of American Car ID Numbers 1960-69 lists a Bermuda Brown Metallic as a factory paint choice for 1964 Studebakers.) Even with its minor faults, this is a unique, fun 2-door which can be improved without getting upside down.

 

Lot #T119, 1965 VW Beetle 2-door sedan. Sand color, black vinyl seats, grey carpet. Correct VW wheel covers, blackwall tires. What few shiny bits are on the outside look OK. Odometer reads 88,848, sign on car claims those are original miles.

Sold for $7,200.

Among the half-dozen Beetles here, this was one which a) wasn’t modified and b) wasn’t rusted out. Sold for below book. Just don’t take it on the highway – a Touareg might not see you and will run you over.

 

Lot #T117, 1970 MGB roadster, British Racing Green, tan seats, painted wire wheels, black top. 66,655 on odometer could be first time around. Overall, a good-looking B.

Sold for $7,500.

MGB prices have risen lately; even the later rubber-bumper cars command values in the high-four figures. If there were no glaring faults, this was a bit of a bargain for a chrome bumper car.

 

Lot #F344, 1965 Ford Mustang 2-door hardtop, white, red interior. Six-cylinder, 3-speed manual, center console, aftermarket AC. Correct Mustang full wheel covers, white walls, odometer reads 89,000. Body gaps all look good. AM radio.

Sold for $8,000.

I was drawn to this car for its honesty. While an obvious respray, it was done in the original color, based on a look at the door jambs (which were obviously not repainted). The color combo was great. Both doors shut with a solidity normally not found on old Mustangs. This was potentially a mostly-original car that’s never been taken apart. At this price, this was the perfect entry-level hobby car for someone who claims that the market has priced them out. Or, just drop a 289 in it.

 

Lot #T125, 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix, red paint, black interior. Full wheel covers, whitewall tires. Windshield sign claims 389 4-barrell, buckets, console, A/C, power windows and seats. No further examination done.

Sold for $8,500.

An iconic GM personal luxury coupe, for the price of a used Kia. Maybe the market for these ‘60s full-size sleds is drying up. Get yours now.

 

Lot #F309, 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe, gold, black vinyl roof, gold interior. Raised white-letter tires are out of place on 8-lug wheels. Driver’s seat and door armrest show significant wear. 400 c.i. V8, automatic, buckets, center console. Door jambs show rustproofing plugs which may have helped its survival. Chrome looks OK, sheet metal is straight; car has good bones. 03873 is odometer, presumption is that car has 103k on it.

Sold for $8,500.

Here’s an example of a car which, if you were a phone or Internet bidder, could bite you in the tail, and it would hurt. This car looked, and was, solid and straight on the outside. The repaint was decent quality, and the vinyl roof was still attached at all four corners. When you opened the door, the contrast between the “gold” upholstery and “gold” paint was the visual equivalent of nails on a blackboard. An examination of the door jambs revealed the truth: the repaint was in a different, and decidedly incorrect, shade of gold. On a phone screen, you might not catch the difference. The sale price might just leave enough room for a respray.

 

Lot #T164.1, 2002 Jaguar XK8 convertible, dark blue, black top, blue interior, 32,014 original miles. Paint shows some slight swirl marks, driver’s seat has slight bolster wear.  Jaguar alloys with blackwall tires. Interior clean and attractive. Top is cloth with glass rear window, again looks new. Looked incredible under the tent lights.

Sold for $9,600.

This was one babied Jaguar. The dark colors do not work for me on a convertible, but these XK8’s continue to be auction bargains. AND, no drooping headliner to worry about.

 

$10,000 TO $15,000

 

Lot #F336, 1971 Ford Mustang fastback, Grabber Blue, modified 351 V8, may not be original motor. 4-speed. Sign says upholstery is “custom”. Looks like a Mach 1, but it’s not. Consigner labeled car as “barn find”, whatever that means here.

The Mustang immediately after crossing the block
The Mustang immediately after crossing the block

Sold for $11,100.

I did not inspect this car, but even if it’s a fakey-doo, it seemed to be priced fairly. These large Mustangs are not to everyone’s taste, but if you like this full-size styling, this was an affordable way to get into one.

 

Lot #T147, 1948 Willys Jeepster, 2-door roadster, yellow, black top, red & black interior. 4-cylinder, stick shift.

Sold for $11,500.

Cheeky. Everything “Jeep” is hot (or at least lukewarm) these days. I test drove one 25 years ago when the ask was $3,500. The drive was not reassuring. But the Jeep people I know don’t care. This one sold under book, so we’ll call it well-bought.

 

NOTABLE NO-SALES

 

Lot #T164, 1988 Ford Mustang GT convertible,  5.0 V8, 4-speed manual on floor. Dark red, red stripe, white top, red plaid cloth interior. Ford alloy wheels with blackwall tires. 41,137 miles on odometer looks believable. Luggage rack on rear deck, convertible top shows no flaws. A nice ’80s look.

NOT SOLD at high bid of $6,900.

This was a clean and unmolested Mustang. The interior was especially attractive in its red plaid cloth, and showed no signs of wear at all. Bid was light by several grand.

 

Lot #T166.1, 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible, Peacock Blue, black soft top, blue and white interior, automatic. Wire wheels with wide whites. Website states that hardtop is included. Looks recently restored to a high standard.

NOT SOLD at high bid of $35,000.

Cosmetically, this car was stunning. I usually prefer the ‘55s (without the Continental spare) or the slightly restyled ‘57s, but this car had lots of eyeball appeal. Two-seat T-Bird values are all over the place. The top bid was a little light, but not by much in this market.

 

Lot #F337, 1989 Ferrari 348 TB 2-door, red, black leather interior, 5-speed manual in gated shifter. Outside unmarked. V8 mounted longitudinally making service much more expensive (engine out timing belt change). Odo is 6-digit affair, reads 026909.

NOT SOLD at high bid of $57,000.

From my experience, it’s rare to see any Ferraris at a Carlisle auction. The Fall 2016 edition featured four of Enzo’s finest. Given the stratospheric rise in prices of Ferraris from the 1950s and ‘60s, everyone else who owns a later car thinks it’s worth a million. This 348 is a prime example. My book shows a top (#2 condition) value of $42,000. If that $57k bid were real, the owner should have cut it loose.

 

Lot #F358.1, 1973 Jaguar E-Type 2+2 coupe, V12, automatic, sable brown, tan interior. Chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires. Exterior bright trim is dull. Some paint defects in rear quarters.

NOT SOLD at high bid of $26,000.

See Ferrari 348 comments above – much the same applies to the Jaguar XKE market. These Series 3 cars, with their modified mouths, fender flares, and extended wheelbases, are not the first choice among those who want an E-Type. But with Series 1 prices approaching quarter-million for the nicest roadsters, the rising tide has lifted these boats too. On this car, some paint problems, a bland color, and the automatic may have held back the bidding. Oh, and the top doesn’t go down.

 

Lot #F373, 1979 Ferrari 308GTS, red, cream interior. V8, 5-speed manual in gated shifter. Ferrari alloy wheels are very dull, and ruin what is otherwise a nice exterior. Reported to be a Euro-spec car with 48,000 km (30,000 miles).

NOT SOLD at high bid of $65,500.

These Magnum P.I. cars couldn’t be given away five years ago; but the market has woken up to these as entry-level Ferraris, if there is such a thing. This one was OK – the dirty wheels were the biggest letdown. Some folks prefer the later fuel-injected and 4-valve cars (this one has Webers). The price was about where 308s are selling today, but this owner wants more. Not sure where he’s going to get it.

 

Lot #F363, 1967 Jaguar S-Type four-door sedan, 3.8L straight-six, automatic on column. One repaint in original white, red leather interior, chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires. Odometer shows 53,863 miles, consignor claims that’s original. Sign claims previous owner had car for 48 years. Wires are a little rusty. Dual gas tanks, “switch-over” switch on dash is taped, so only one tank working. Interior of leather, wool and burled walnut is to die for.

 

NOT SOLD at high bid of $28,000.

This car broke my heart. Once I sat in this car, I didn’t want to get out. While the outside showed a decent repaint in its original color, the interior looked (and smelled) all original. The combination of the leather seats, wool headliner and carpet, and walnut trim was intoxicating. One charming interior detail was a pull-out tray below the center-dash switches.

My book showed this car at $14k for a #3 condition car. I prayed that the audience would ignore it and that I could steal it for $10k. And here comes the heartbreak: the Jag had to be towed across the auction block (the only car in two days of attendance that needed such assist). I spoke to the owner: the ignition key was spinning in its cylinder, so, no crank. Then, to my shock, the audience bid this car to $28,000! What do they care that it won’t start! But did it sell at this number? No! The owner wanted more for this non-runner. I’m going back to German cars: What did that SLK sell for again?

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

Auction Report: Mecum, Harrisburg PA, July 2016

Mecum Auctions came back to Harrisburg PA for the third consecutive year, and held its auction event at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on July 21-23, 2016. Your correspondent was in attendance, also for the third year running, and while external appearances were roughly the same, the men and women of Mecum have been hard at work on incremental improvements.

Mecum builds the same set at every auction
Mecum builds the same set at every auction

Two years ago, parking was confined to off-site lots which required shuttle buses to usher attendees back and forth. Food was only available from counter service inside the building, with limited menu choices. Signage everywhere was poor, leaving many to wander and wonder which way to turn.

YUGE video screens always give you current bid
YUGE video screens always give you current bid

This year, ample parking was available within the Complex parking lot itself, allowing one to be inside within minutes. Food trucks lined the back parking lot, offering the traditional burgers and chicken, plus crab cakes, po’ boys, pizza, and Greek gyros. Not only were large signs posted everywhere; upon entry, all who paid admission (NOT just bidders) were handed run sheets, maps, and daily programs. The improvements were palpable, and it reinforced the juggernaut that Mecum has become in the collector car auction business.

Good crowd, plenty of seating, and A/C
Good crowd, plenty of seating, and A/C

The quality of the consignments seemed rather consistent each of the three years, although this year, there were fewer of the vehicles that light my fire (original and/or unrestored American cars, and European sporty cars). The field was heavy with hot rods and resto-mods, and of course, the always-expected Mustangs, Camaros, and Corvettes (as my friend Larry said of them, “the backbone of the hobby”). The latter three models easily comprised about 20% of the total offerings.

The queue on its way to the block
The queue on its way to the block

Sitting through two complete days of across-the-block auction action, the room was almost constantly abuzz. Real bidders were bidding, and most cars generated a high level of excitement. When that seemed to wane, Mecum seemingly just turned up the volume on the already-blaring PA system to make sure you were awake.

A recent distasteful trend: well-restored cars with modern wheels
A recent distasteful trend: well-restored cars with modern wheels

Sell-through rate appeared strong (SWAG: 70%), helped by Dana himself arm-twisting owners on the spot to drop their reserves and close the deal. Are some prices off their highs of one to two years ago? Yes. Is everything selling at distress-sale levels? Absolutely not. To those who think that the collector-car hobby is in a slump, I hold up Mecum Harrisburg 2016 as Exhibit #1 that it is not. And if it was slumping, it has bounced back with a vengeance.

Mecum staff excellent at organizing cars in staging tent
Mecum staff excellent at organizing cars in staging tent

Below, in lot number order, are my thoughts on an varied group of cars and trucks which were interesting to me. You, no doubt, would have chosen 14 different vehicles to profile. Let me know which of these, if any, you would have bought for the price.

 

 

LOT T41, 1977 MERCEDES BENZ 450-SL

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.

 

 

T114.1, 1985 BUICK RIVIERA

 

Condition estimate: 4

SOLD for $2,000

The scene on the auction block was something I’d never witnessed before. As the car came up, “auctioneer A” could not get a single $1,000 opening bid for it. He asked, begged, cajoled, screamed, and pleaded, all in vain. There was a long pause, and (this was the novel part) Jimmy Landis, Mecum’s well-known town crier, grabbed the microphone and said “let me try”! But still no bids. Jimmy turned to the owner, and into the microphone, said “sir, nobody wants your car!” Finally, someone in the crowd, recognizing that they could buy a running, driving, V8-powered American automobile for cheap, bid $1,000, then $1,500, then $2,000, at which point Jimmy screamed SOLD!!! This entire process took the better part of 10 minutes.

We checked out the car later. The sides were laser-straight, but the black paint on the roof was a little sketchy. The interior was not trashed, and it all seemed to be there. Someone got a driver for very little money.

 

T136, 1972 GMC PICKUP TRUCK

 

Condition estimate: 3-

SOLD for $12,500

There were a large number of GM pickups from this generation (’67-’72) at the auction, most of which were either restored to #1 condition or were rodded. This was one of the few that appeared to be original and unrestored, and the truck had an honest vibe to it. The price seemed to favor the buyer; a few thousand more would not have surprised.

 

 

T140, 2002 JAGUAR XK8 COUPE

 

Condition estimate: 3-

SOLD for $7,000

Jaguar XK8 convertibles outsold their coupe counterparts 10 to 1. Coupes are therefore thin on the ground, and it was nice to see one. However, as I sat in the driver’s seat, “crumbs” appeared on my shirt. Looking up, I saw…. that the car had no headliner. This selling price (no reserve) seems fair, but don’t forget to factor in the parts and labor for a headliner.

 

 

T142, 1993 CHEVROLET CORVETTE COUPE

 

Condition estimate: 2

SOLD for $13,500

Green over tan is popular on MGs and Jags, but not to everyone’s taste on America’s Sports Car. The car was clean and purportedly very low miles. Price was a bit higher compared to what we saw at Carlisle just 3 months ago; are C4s on the way up?

 

 

 

T154, 1984 PORSCHE 944              

 

Condition estimate: 2

NOT SOLD AT $15,000 HIGH BID

As Porsche 911 prices climb beyond a reasonable level for the average collector, other Porsches gain interest. Several years ago, there was no such thing as a five-figure 944. This car, from the model’s third year of production, was highly optioned, and in an attractive and rare color. But it’s the later 944s which are getting bucks in the mid-teens. This car should have sold at this number.

 

 

T172, 1995 JAGUAR XJS COUPE

 

Condition estimate: 2

NOT SOLD AT $10,000 HIGH BID

The 1991 redesign of the XJS actually improved its looks, at which time, the introduction of a 6-cylinder engine and a full convertible meant most were built that way. That makes this late 12-cylinder coupe rare, but as we know, rare does not always equal valuable. The bid price seemed close enough to me, but not to the owner. One would guess we were no more than a few grand away from the reserve.

 

 

T263, 1968 CHRYSLER IMPERIAL

 

Condition estimate: 3-

NOT SOLD AT $7,000 HIGH BID

“I got me a Chrysler it’s as big as a whale” sang the B-52s, and it certainly applies here. This car was fascinating on many levels: its size, originality, color scheme, and details like a shrouded dash with hide-away radio panel. This car was American late ‘60s luxury at its finest (if only it fit in my garage). A weekend spent detailing the land yacht (especially underhood) might have garnered a sale price a thousand or two more than the high bid.

 

 

F25, 1959 AUSTIN-HEALEY SPRITE

 

Condition estimate: 4

NOT SOLD AT $13,000 HIGH BID

All my friends know that I like small cars, and I’ve always been smitten with Bug-eyes. Sitting in this one, I was appalled at the complete lack of attention to detail. The overall vibe was of a car that was quickly slapped together for resale. Bug-eyes routinely trade in the $10,000-20,000 range, depending on equipment and condition. I don’t know what shocked me more: that the bidding reached $13,000, or that the owner didn’t grab the money and run.

 

 

F33, 2000 PORSCHE BOXSTER S

 

Condition estimate: 2-

SOLD for $12,500

The color scheme, bright yellow with a BLUE cloth top and black interior, turned me off, as did the automatic transmission. There are too many other choices among used Boxsters to rate this as anything but on the expensive side for a late model play toy.

 

 

F38.1, 2002 JAGUAR XKR COUPE

 

Condition estimate: 3

NOT SOLD AT $8,000 HIGH BID

The XKR is the supercharged version, and this car (complete with headliner) deserved more. The miles were relatively high at 85k, but a mid-teens sale price would still be fair.

 

 

 

 

 

 

F80, 1965 FIAT 600

 

Condition estimate: 3

SOLD FOR $13,500

I fell in love again with an Italian redhead, but compared to last year’s 2-cylinder job, this girl runs a 4-banger and is water cooled. Thinking I might steal it if bidding stayed under $10k (hey, this audience is here for ‘murican muscle), bids quickly exceeded that and was hammed sold at what is admittedly a fair price. Just don’t take it on the Turnpike.

 

 

 

F140, 1957 FORD THUNDERBIRD

 

Condition estimate: 2-

SOLD for $34,000

The windshield decal claimed that the car has had the same owner since 1969, which seemed to play in this car’s favor, as it gave the appearance of a car that has been well-kept while still being enjoyed. Two-seat T-Bird prices are all over the place; as the final year of the first-gen car in an attractive color, I call this well-bought.

 

LOT F215, 1957 BMW ISETTA

Condition estimate: 1-

SOLD for $25,000

There’s one at every auction – this one was in the frequently-seen two-tone combo of red and white. It appeared somewhat over-restored, save for some orange peel on the door. I spoke to the owner, who acknowledged that he might be out of his element with this audience, then confided in me that he needed to get $30k for it. I guess Dana changed his mind, because the hammer dropped $5k light.

 

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Carlisle Spring Auction, 2016

Spring Carlisle 2016, featuring an automotive flea market and car corral, was held at the Carlisle PA Fairgrounds from April 20th through 24th, 2016. In recent years, parent company Carlisle Events has also hosted a collector-car auction during the same week. This year, the auction was run on Thursday and Friday the 21st and 22nd at the Carlisle Expo Center, one block from the fairgrounds.

The Carlisle Expo Center is across the street from the famous fairgrounds
The Carlisle Expo Center is across the street from the famous fairgrounds

About 350 cars and trucks were driven, pushed, and dragged across the block. This is said with some facetiousness, as overall, the quality of the consignments was quite good. The few rats were obvious, and a cursory inspection of any of the vehicles revealed their true nature.

 

Overall highlights included the aforementioned strong condition of most of the entries, sufficient seating for bidders and spectators, a well-ventilated and well-lit indoor auction area, and plenty of available food and drink (including the hard stuff, which helps to lubricate your bidding arm).

 

On the downside, the Carlisle crew was lax in getting run sheets for Thursday printed when promised. During a phone call made earlier in the week, a staffer stated that run sheets would be ready at 8 a.m. Thursday morning. However, upon my arrival at 9, they were not out yet. Repeated trips to the windows were met with promises that they would have them “within the hour”. They finally made it out at 12:40 p.m, a little more than one hour before the auction’s start. At least Friday’s run sheets were out at 10 a.m.

 

Carlisle Events also seems to allow consignments to be added on the day of the auction; making matters worse, these vehicles in some cases do not show up on the grounds until hours before they are scheduled to cross the block. Prospective bidders have little chance to inspect the goods, and sellers are simply hurting themselves.

 

The auction business is still new to the folks who work for Carlisle Events, and while everyone seems to be trying very hard, the production has an amateurish, mom-and-pop feel to it. However, the crowds were there, cars changed hands, and as long as they keep trying, they should get better at this.

 

Following is a sample of the vehicles which crossed the block. CPI (Cars of Particular Interest) values are from the March-April 2016 price guide, value range is good-to-excellent, with amounts rounded to the nearest thousand. Reserve is shown on no-sale cars if the block announced it.

 

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.

CONDITION: 2-

HIGH BID: $9,200 SOLD!

CPI: $9,000-15,000

 

T106 1993 Chevy Corvette coupe, VIN 1G1YY23P2P5107900, LT1 350, 6-speed manual, mileage is 91000, red, smoke top, red interior, paint looks original, nose is unchipped, Corvette alloys are clean, one touch-up on driver’s door edge, typical wear to C4 window seals, red on red is garish, but driver’s seat shows little wear. If you like red, this was your car. This did not look like a car with 90k on it, and there was little to fault. There were at least 6 C4s among about 30 Corvettes at this auction, and in retrospect, this appears to be one of the best deals of the week.

CONDITION: 2-

HIGH BID: $7,600, SOLD!

CPI: $10,000-16,000

F479 1993 Chevy Corvette coupe, 5.7 V8, 40th anniversary edition, 6-speed manual, mileage unknown.  Teal color is very ‘90s, black leather interior gives dark ambience. Corvette alloys, some chips in nose. 40th anniversary emblems in front fenders. Drivers door window rubber worn out. Driver’s seat bolster worn. Body color roof panel. This was the last car to cross the auction block, at 9:30 Friday night. The crowd had dwindled to less than half of it peak. They were close, but couldn’t get it done.

CONDITION: 3-

HIGH BID: $6,700, NOT SOLD

RESERVE: $7,500

CPI: $6,000-15,000

 

T138 1965 Dodge Monaco, VIN D456138536, 2-door hardtop, 66,000 original miles, 383 4-barrel, automatic, dark burgundy, white vinyl top, burgundy interior. Dent in front of hood is heartbreaking, given how clean and straight remainder of car is. Tires appear one size too small. Car is stunning in person for its originality. Interior is a knockout – center console, buckets, gauges, cane inserts on door panels and seat backs. Glass good, doors shut OK. This was a highlight of the auction, both for its rarity and its originality. Alas, if bidders want a Mopar, they want a hemi, and the reserve was not met.

CONDITION: 2+

HIGH BID: $8,700, NOT SOLD

RESERVE: unknown

CPI: $7,000-17,000

 

F330 1977 Fiat 124 spider, 124CS10120860, blue metallic, black top, black vinyl interior, Fiat alloy wheels. No visible rust, paint looks OK if a bit thick in places, not sure that this shade of blue is a factory Fiat color. Interior decent at first glance; however, steering wheel cracked. Gauges and seats show no obvious problems. With a new Fiat 124 spider due to hit dealerships in the fall, some have speculated that the old Fiats will start to move up the price ladder. The audience here did not agree.

CONDITION: 3

HIGH BID: $4,250, NOT SOLD

RESERVE: $7,000

CPI: $6,000-15,000

F355 1965 Ford Mustang convertible, dark blue, white top, blue interior. VIN 5F08C776691. 289 V8, 3-speed manual, mileage reads 82,548, claimed to be original miles. Ford styled steel wheels, clean underhood, chrome valve covers and open air cleaner. No Power steering, brakes, or AC. Paint defects in LF fender and door, checked and cracked, possibly older paint job that is letting go. Vinyl top OK but dirty. Wood wheel, center console. Interior presentable overall. JVC cassette unit in dash. Plastic rear window OK. Chrome is so-so, with some pitting. Just a driver, but a V8 drop-top driver. Car has many needs, but only if you’re trying to collect trophies. If you’re looking for cruise night fun, this was a great entry into the hobby, and with a first-gen Mustang V8 convertible to boot.

CONDITION: 3-

HIGH BID: $17,500 SOLD!

CPI: $20,000-42,000

F409 1976 Mercedes Benz 450SL, silver, red interior, hardtop, no sign of soft top. Six-digit odometer reads 043998. Very nice shape outside, looks all original and well kept. Blackwalls on MB alloys. Paint looks good. Red interior striking, very little wear which supports mileage claim. Door panels OK. FMVSS label confirms US spec car, mfd. 9/76. Doors shut like bank vaults. Overall very clean and striking looking car. With a half-dozen of these 107-model SLs here, this one stood out. The result was some of the more spirited bidding of the auction.

CONDITION: 2+

HIGH BID: $17,750, SOLD!

CPI: $10,000-21,000

T117 1980 Mercedes Benz 450 SL, VIN 10704412065489, mileage is 129,734. New tires, soft top included, hard top in place. Gold with dark brown interior. Aftermarket lights in front plate look tacky, front fog lights, blackwalls on MB alloys, car is dirty overall. Interior: both seats show leather which is cracked and dried, carpet faded from brown to green. Buyers will step up for high mileage cars which are clean; they will shy away from high mileage cars which are not. There are too many SLs on the market at any time to make this one worth more than what was bid.

CONDITION: 4+

HIGH BID: $5,000, NOT SOLD

RESERVE: unknown

CPI: $12,000-24,000

T198 1988 Nissan 300ZX turbo, VIN JN1CZ14S0JX203504, white, grey and black interior. Six-digit odometer reads 098558. Shiro special edition , 5-speed manual, Recaro seats. Pearl white paint with matching wheels scream ‘80s disco. Minor wear on driver’s seat bolster. Interior looks OK, has T-tops. Black rear spoiler faded to light grey. These Shiro cars, of which a little over a thousand were made, play to a very narrow audience. CPI does not call out a separate price for the Shiro package. Car was seen the next day across the street in the Car Corral, with an ask of $12,900, but on the block, it was said that “10” would get it done. Caveat Emptor.

CONDITION: 3+

HIGH BID: $8,000, NOT SOLD

RESERVE: $10,000

CPI: $5,000-10,000

 

 

T118 1986 Pontiac Trans Am, VIN 1G2FW87F4FN228262, 5.0 V8 fuel injected, rare Recaro seats, T-tops, white, gold trim, black/tan/grey interior. Odometer reads 35,263, claimed to be original. Paint OK, could use buff out, nose unmarked. Screaming chicken reduced to Cornish hen on hood, B-pillars, and rear valence. Interior condition does support miles, as seats show no wear at all. No signs of wear on wheel, shifter, pedals. A decent looking Trans-Am, and the low miles and Recaro seats make it worth a little more than what was bid.

CONDITION: 2-

HIGH BID: $9,500, NOT SOLD

RESERVE: unknown

CPI: $6,000-13,000

F332 1984 Porsche 944  WP0AA0944EN465320, red, tan interior, 2.5L inline 4, 5 speed, sport seats, sunroof, black and silver Porsche alloys. Odometer reads 61,778, might be on first go-round. Paint looks thick in places, but repaint shows well, with no overspray. Body color side rub strips, some small touch ups. Wheels are slightly marked up. Interior not torn, but dirty, leather dry. Aftermarket Blaupunkt sound system. Porsche floor mats. There are a million (OK, a few less) 924-944 cars for sale at any time, with  conditions running the gamut. This car was straight-looking, and if the mileage is accurate, represented a very good buy at the sale price.

CONDITION: 2-

HIGH BID: $4,200, SOLD!

CPI: $7,000-14,000

T160 1969 VW Karmann Ghia coupe, 4-speed, odometer reads 63,989, VIN 149863189, dark red, sign says  “one repaint on rust free car”, black interior. Rear side reflectors, no front reflectors. Wide white wall tires look out of place on late ‘60s car. Nose unbent. Black wipers look out of place, all outside stainless trim is good. Paint looks fresh. Interior smells musty, cracked dash fixed with tape, seat upholstery OK. Carpet shot. FMVSS label confirms US spec car. Overall, car appears original except for repaint. Chrome on bumpers very thin, starting to peel and pit. These sporty VWs used to be all over; the tin worm ate most of the northeast ones, so there was plenty of interest in this honest-looking example, which sold at a number fair to buyer and seller.

CONDITION: 3

HIGH BID: $10,750 SOLD!

CPI: $8,000-19,000

 

QUICKIES:

T147, 1940 Ford Coupe: This Ford looked completely stock on the outside, but had an early ‘50s Cadillac V8 under the hood. It was a no-sale at a high bid of $32,500.

DSC03484CCC

T175, 1977 Pontiac Firebird “Skybird”: a rare factory option package, the blue-on-blue is not for everyone, but it is different. Sold at $9,750.

DSC03483

T183, 1962 Buick Invicta convertible: striking in off-white with a two-tone tan and beige interior, this was one of the few auctions cars almost worthy of a #1 condition rating. Sold for $25,500. Have the only one at the next Cars & Coffee.

DSC03475CCC

F312, 1966 Ford Mustang convertible: a late entry, this car’s two-tone pony interior was striking, but possibly was the only good thing about it. Quickie repaint in blah beige, filthy underhood, it was bid to $17,500 and not sold. Owner should have cut it loose (see lot F355 above).

DSC03477CCC

F314, 1989 Porsche 944: With 81,000 miles, an automatic, and rock-hard leather seats, it is amazing that this car sold for $6,100, or almost $2,000 more than lot F332.

DSC03487CCC

F319, 1974 MGB: Cosmetically, this car was almost perfect. However, we observed the Carlisle staff struggle to get it running on Thursday. Friday morning, we struck up a conversation with the owner while he “tuned it up”. He told us he had just bought it (to flip it), but the spark plugs were hand-tight, and the distributor hold-down was completely loose, so at idle, the engine vibration constantly changed the timing. It did drive OK across the block, where it sold for $13,100.

DSC03486CCC

F434, 1960 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud: My photo does not do justice to the poor paint on this automobile. A literal barn find, one observer was overhead to mutter “the most expensive car in the world is a cheap Rolls Royce”. Bidding shocked me when it sailed past $5,000 to end at $8,900.

DSC03489

F469, 1994 Jaguar XJS V12 convertible: The colors were right, as it’s hard to argue with BRG and saddle, but this car gave off a vibe of neglect. If you’re not afraid of the big 12, perhaps you could do worse than the successful bidder who took this home for $8,500.

DSC03488CCC

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

G. Potter King Atlantic City Car Show Report, 2016

The pushers move a VW Beetle off the block an past the TV screen.
The pushers move a VW Beetle off the block. This one was a no-sale at $4,250.

G. Potter King (GPK) again hosted its winter edition car show in the Atlantic City Convention Center during the last weekend of February. The event features an auction, a car corral, and a swap meet, all of which comfortably fit inside the cavernous hall. One of the main attractions of this show is that it is mostly impervious to the weather, and so gives us hobbyists a chance to relieve our cabin fever.

The swap meet had the usual mix of old and new stuff to tempt us all.
The swap meet had the usual mix of old and new stuff to tempt us all.

This year, similar to what we observed in 2015, the number of consignments seemed to continue to be on the decrease. The car corral in particular had enough empty space for an additional 20 or 25 cars. The auction side of the building was a bit more occupied, yet still could have held a few more cars.

The car corral again included plenty of dealers showing new and classic iron.
The car corral again included plenty of dealers showing new and classic iron.

For the third time in the last 5 years, GPK rearranged the auction stage and seating. This time, the flow of cars on and off the block seemed better integrated, and seating for non-bidders (like me) was more readily available. One downside to the new set-up was the lack of airflow. Non-catalyzed vehicles emitting exhaust fumes in an enclosed space eventually gets to you. There needs to be a way to move more fresh air through the grandstands.

The view of the auction block from the grandstand.
The view of the auction block from the grandstand.

Having attended auctions hosted by Mecum, RM, Bonhams, Auctions America, and Carlisle, it’s frustrating to see that GPK still could improve their auction block screen shots. This year, they took a step in the right direction by superimposing the lot number, vehicle year and make, and current bid onto the TV image. But the wording was not always easy to read, and often, the bidding on screen far lagged the real-time bidding. Mr. King, a suggestion: watch Mecum to see how it’s done.

If old cars bore you, gaze upon this row of new C7 Corvettes.
If old cars bore you, gaze upon this row of new C7 Corvettes.

The show was helped by a decent weekend of dry and sunny weather in southern New Jersey. There were 100 or more early birds who were waiting for the doors to open at 9 a.m. Foot traffic was plenty strong, and the bidders area directly in front of the auction stand was almost filled to capacity. Nevertheless, the sell-through rate, or, the percentage of cars actually meeting reserve and moving to new owners, appeared to hover around 50-60%. This is due to some combination of unrealistic reserves, poor quality offerings, or not the right bidders in the room.

Car show food is overpriced and doesn't taste great. We walk 5 minutes to the AC train station in the same building for great food at Esquire's.
Car show food is overpriced and doesn’t taste great. We walked 5 minutes to the AC train station in the same building for great food at Esquire’s.

It says a lot about an auction company which can attract quality consignments, get sellers to agree to reasonable reserves, and then draw hungry bidders into the process. It may look easy from the outside, but it’s not. The Arizona auctions in January indicated some slight softening of the market, which didn’t help here. But we did see some cars change hands. Below are details on a random sampling of cars which caught our interest from both the auction and the car corral. (“CPI” values are from the author’s copy of the Jan.-Feb. 2016 edition of the classic car price guide Cars of Particular Interest.)

Auction cars, coming or going.
Auction cars, coming or going (sellers hope the latter).

AUCTION CARS

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.

Lot #1712, 1986 Corvette coupe, silver/dark grey, red interior, automatic. Mileage is 109,073. Looks just OK on outside, red interior is very worn. Car offered at no reserve, hammer price was $3,400. We rate it a #4 car, and CPI rates a #4 car at $4,475. If it runs, passes state emissions, and doesn’t leak copious amounts of fluid, someone who just wants to have fun may have gotten a very good deal. As one buddy put it, “drive it for 10 years, then throw it away”.

Lot #1782, 1974 Jaguar E-type convertible, Series III with V12 engine, manual transmission, A/C, dark red with biscuit top and interior. Last year for the E-type. Owner claims 16,000 original miles, and also claims it was thoroughly restored. We didn’t see this one up close, but it did appear to be near a #2 condition car. CPI values a #2 car at $87,750, and this hammered sold at $85,000, so someone was willing to pay full boat for it.

At $85,000, the highest sale we saw on Saturday.
At $85,000, this E-Type was the highest sale we saw on Saturday.

Lot #1716, 1990 Suzuki “Every” mini-mini van. Right hand drive, 3-cylinder, 5-speed, factory air, 2,800 original miles. Sliding doors, 2 rows of seats, roomy looking interior. Tall, narrow box on 4 wheels. Everyone was all over this little thing, but it was declared no-sale at a reported high bid of $8,250. We hope it sells just so you can claim to be the only person in your state with one.

Lot #1783, 1965 Austin-Healey Mark III, inline 6, light blue over white paint, with dark blue leather interior. Chrome wire wheels, blackwall tires. Odometer reads 77,000. Car looks very clean overall, no blemishes outside or inside, but appears that restoration may have been done a few years ago. CPI rates a #3 car at $52,500 and a #2 car at $100,000, so that’s a huge spread, mostly defined by condition as there were few options. This one sold for $58,000 which was fair to buyer and seller.

Lot #1784, 1939 Packard, 4 door convertible sedan, black, off-white convertible top, dark red interior. Odometer reads 50,166. Whitewall tires, Packard hub caps, everything looks stock. The car gives off the vibe of a vehicle that was restored 20-30 years ago. It’s all there, and may run out well, but everything has the look and feel of a 20-year-old used car. Rare and unusual body style not seen much, where the B-pillar is removable for a full-open look when the top is down. Car hammered sold for $38,000, which may seem rich, but A) it’s a Packard, and B) try to find another convertible sedan in that price range. Join AACA and go on a tour.

Inside shot of B-pillar shows latches
Inside shot of Packard B-pillar shows latches

Lot #1755, 1956 BMW Isetta, bubble-window coupe, red/white, white sunroof, white vinyl interior. Restored to an acceptable cosmetic standard. Like most Isettas, interior not done to original style. Car has original ISO-designed side windows, as well as coveted “Z-molding” on the side. Every auction seems to have at least one Isetta. This one had shiny paint but little else to rave about. In the opinion of this former Isetta owner, if you plan to drive the thing, get the sliding-window model, as airflow through these tiny pivoting triangular windows is next to non-existent. CPI rates a #3 Isetta (which this one barely was) as worth $30,000. The car was sold for $33,500, so someone paid a slight premium for 13-horsepower worth of cute.

 

CAR CORRAL ENTRIES

1986 Corvette coupe, red, tan interior, automatic, claimed to have 23,000 original miles. Asking $13,900. Car was fairly clean yet obviously used. Rear panel has been resprayed, and that red does not match rest of car. Lots of swirl marks in paint. Car is in CPI between $8,000 (#3) and $14,700 (#2), and this car just didn’t look like a 23,000 mile car. $10,000 would be all the money, however, there are lots of C4 Corvettes for sale all the time, many of them under $10k .

1958 Edsel Pacer convertible, unusual off-white/pale yellow exterior, black interior. Sign claims 35,000 miles, yet car looks restored, not preserved. Very straight overall, interior very nice, engine compartment especially well-done. The entire car does pop, but so does the asking price of $100,000. That is not a typo. CPI values a #2 car (which this is) at $66,000. Even if you pay a premium for the low miles, what do you do with it? Every mile you drive it will depreciate it.

1963 Mercedes Benz 190 SL, dark silver, black convertible top, red interior, narrow whitewall tires, MB hub caps in red, cosmetically very pretty car. No asking price displayed. (Why would you put a car in the car corral and not show a price?) All 190s have 4-cylinder engines and manual gearboxes. Having never driven one, I’ve read that the driving experience is nothing special. Up until about 2 years ago, these languished in the $30k-40k range. Suddenly, as 300SL Gullwings and Roadsters regularly broke through a million, the baby brother 190 came along for the ride. Prices broke $100,000 and seemed headed to $200,000. Now that there’s been a slight cooling, more level-headed thinking has pushed these values back into the high-fives. Whatever he’s asking, I wish him luck.

1980 MGB convertible, odometer reads 45,822 miles, odometer may have turned over once. White with black interior, stick shift with overdrive switch in shift knob, MG-style mag wheels, trunk-mounted luggage rack. Engine compartment a bit of a mess. Last year for the MGB in this market. This car might be unrestored, as it’s all there but nothing is tidy. We would rate this car as a #3- or even a #4. CPI puts a #4 car at $4,150 and a #3 car at $8,000. The ask here is $8,995. Offer $6,000 if a rubber-bumper MGB is on your bucket list and you’re feeling generous.

 

All photographs copyright © 2016 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

Larry Moves The Mercury At Mecum

“A roller coaster”: Those three words, direct from my friend Larry, summed up his experience as a first-time seller of a vehicle at a public auction. But this was no ordinary car, and certainly was an extraordinary auction. The car was his 1963 Mercury Marauder, a one-family car previously owned by his late aunt. (Regular readers of this blog have likely seen the coverage of this gem of an automobile. For those who may have missed it, you can find the story here.) It was Larry’s decision to liquidate it via his chosen venue, the Mecum auction in Harrisburg PA.

We’ve known for months that the vehicle would cross the block on Thursday July 30, the first of three selling days. We’ve also known that the lot number, T75, ostensibly meant that his would be the “75th car” to sell that day. Initial concerns about the car going up too early in the day evaporated when The Selling Day arrived. More about that in a few moments.

Larry had previously arranged for the car to be transported to the auction site via truck. Our plan was to arrive on Wednesday, do a final prep of the car, and check out the other cars for sale. We would be back early Thursday to stay with the car during its final roll under Larry’s ownership, and Friday would be our day to return to the auction in a more relaxed mode. Most of that went according to schedule.

After the requisite stop for a road-trip breakfast of Dunkin’ Donuts bagels and coffee, we were at the Farm Show Complex by 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. Credentials were quickly issued (registering ahead of time has its perks), and our lanyard-mounted badges allowed us access to the entire building. Your author attended this auction last year, but never left the main auction room. Much to my surprise, we found that there are many additional rooms throughout the complex. This is where all the cars and trucks (and tractors) sit waiting their turn. Finding the Mercury meant wandering among these rooms, although we were helped by the “Thursday”, “Friday”, and “Saturday” signs providing direction. As the Complex is used primary for animals, these back rooms are not air-conditioned (the main hall is), and have a musty, dingy feel to them. It’s not the most appealing arrangement for classic cars and trucks.

The Merc as found in Thursday's holding pen
The Merc as found in Thursday’s holding pen

The Merc was in the Thursday room, and looked pretty good after its journey. In fact, we decided based on the conditions in the holding pen that any final detailing would best wait until early Thursday morning. This was our excuse to spend the rest of Wednesday checking out the merchandise! By late afternoon we learned that drivers would be restaging Thursday’s cars from the pen to the tent immediately outside the main hall’s entrance. At around 5 p.m., “our” driver arrived, and suggested that we hop in for the ride, which of course we did. This was my first time in the Marauder with it moving under its own power, and it was Larry’s last time. As we coasted into our parking spot, I saw that we had a good location: the fourth row, near the front of the tent, very close to the main room’s entrance ramp.

Under the big tent
Under the big tent

The Big Day arrived soon enough. We were on site by 8 a.m. in order to secure a close parking spot for the daily driver, detail the ‘63, and chat up any potential prospects. Fears that we would not have an audience due to our rather early time slot were allayed when we saw A) the mob lined up at this hour to get into the building, and B) all the attention the Mercury was getting under the tent. Of course, there were about 150 other cars sharing the tent with us, many of them real beauties. But surreptitious listening to observers’ comments reinforced what we already knew: this was a nice car. Most onlookers told each other (or us) that it was great to see such a rare car; that the car’s condition was “fantastic” for an unrestored vehicle; and that it was one of the more striking cars in the tent that morning. We were feeling good! One gentleman in particular lingered long enough that he asked for the car to be started, and he was the only one to peer into the trunk. He told Larry that he would be bidding.

Detail bucket deployed for final time
Detail bucket deployed for final time

Mecum’s schedule said that automobilia would be sold starting at 9:30, with the first automobile crossing the block at 10 a.m. We do not know why cars did not start rolling out of the tent until about 10:45. However, once they started to roll, they moved quickly. Official drivers, distinguished by their neon green Mecum caps, were staged at the top of each row, and dispatched to the cars in plenty of time to start them, warm them up a bit, and begin the parade.

DSC01050
In case his green hat isn’t obvious enough, his badge says DRIVER

A few digressions: perhaps it’s me, but wouldn’t you think that if YOU had a classic car that you planned to sell at auction, YOU would make sure that the car would start at its appointed time? When I say “start”, I’m referring to “crank”, as in “have a charged battery in the car”! To my utter amazement, I saw not one, not two, but THREE cars ahead of us in the tent require the services of the jump-start cart in order to become motorvated (Chuck Berry’s word). In at least one of those cases, the jump attempt failed, and the good ol’ golf-cart-with-a-tow-rope was deployed. Once inside and on the smooth level ground, the white-gloved pushers move the car along with the engine off, and most of the bidding audience is never the wiser.

Golf cart doubles as tow truck
Golf cart doubles as tow truck

One of the volunteer drivers, a middle-aged woman assigned to move the ’67 Dodge next to us, chatted me up about the Merc, saying that while she liked it, she and her husband collected Pontiacs. I used the opportunity to inquire how she landed this prestigious job, and she told me that their club, the Susquehanna Valley GTO Club, volunteered their services to the auction company. So these drivers knew each other, and were on site primarily for the fun of it. She then confided to me that she did not drive a manual transmission, and she was quite nervous hopping into these “strangers’ cars and figuring out the controls”! Having worked for years at car dealerships, I told her that driving many different new and used cars every day becomes second nature.

It was time. Even with the late start, we had predicted that Larry’s car would cross the block between 12 and 12:30, and here it was just a few minutes before noon. The driver assigned to the Marauder asked Larry if there was anything special to the starting procedure. “Hop in and she should start right up” was the reply. He did and she did.

In the building at last
In the building at last

The Mercury cruised effortlessly up the ramp and into the queue. Once in the main building, the excitement level for both of us jumped up several notches. First, the car looked even more incredible under the neon lights. Second, the inside crowd mobbed this car (in truth, they mobbed every car in line). We got the sense that these folks were the more serious potential bidders, rather than the tire-kickers outside. The car got a more thorough going-over during these brief moments than it had at any point prior. Third, this line was moving fast! It felt like less than a minute before the Marauder was about to make the 90° right turn toward the block.

Then…everything stopped. A charity appeal began, in order to raise money for childhood cancer. This was a truly noble cause; and while $10,000 was raised, it gave us a chance to catch our breaths.

Mecum Man talks to the owner
Mecum Man talks to the owner

Like a light switch on at full brightness, then turned off, it was switched on again. I couldn’t tell you a thing about any of the cars that crossed the block ahead of us, whether they sold or not, and if they did, for what amount. My eyes were glued to that Merc, headed to a new destiny. The auctioneer’s voice was suddenly clear enough for me to understand every word: “Lot T75, 1963 Mercury Marauder, 45,000 original miles, unrestored barn find, one family since new, do I have 20,000, 20, 20, who will bid 20? Can I have 15, 15,000, anyone? 10,000, 10,000 for this Mercury? Do I have 5?” Finally, a bite. While I knew he would start high, there was a slight sinking feeling when I heard the opening bid drop all the way to 5,000. The auctioneer continued: “6,000, I have 6, 7,000, who will bid 7? 7, now 8,000?” And so on, as it quickly jumped to $10,000. “Eleven thousand dollars, who will bid 11? 11? 11?” Nothing. It stalled at 10,000. Larry, in the “batter’s box” as they call it, directly below the auctioneer’s podium, was getting pressure from the Mecum man to lower his reserve from $12,000. Larry would not. It was over. The car did not sell. It was 12:15 p.m.

We had 10; asking for the 11 which never came
We had 10; asking for the 11 which never came

Shock. Disappointment. Dismay. We could only repeat “I can’t believe it!” to each other over and over. The car missed Larry’s reserve by $2,000. It got a “The Bid Goes On” sticker stuck to its windshield, and was relegated to one of the back rooms normally used by horses and cows. Our cell phones went into overdrive, but instead of broadcasting success, our emails and texts informed our friends that Larry still owned the Mercury. Which brought up this realization: it would be Larry’s responsibility to move the car back home, on his dime. Time to stop thinking about it so much. Time to take a break and not worry about it for a while. We decided to have lunch.

After eating, we convinced ourselves that watching and enjoying the auction proceedings was a good thing to do, so we did. A calmness settled in, combined with an acceptance of the outcome. Larry would do what needed to be done, and I would do my best to support him through this.

Close to 5pm, almost 4 hours after the car failed to sell, Larry’s cell phone rang. It was a brief conversation. The Mecum rep who called told Larry that they had just gotten a bid from an absentee bidder (phone or internet) for the reserve price of $12,000. The car was sold. There was nothing he needed to do. Relief, not joy, was the emotion of the moment. We could talk all day and all night about how the car was worth more; about the lack of real interest among the in-person bidders; and about the sale going to someone who presumably didn’t even see the car in the metal. Finally, the goal was achieved, and a real sense of “done” settled over us. The beers with dinner that night tasted especially good.

DSC01039
We returned bright and early on Friday morning to watch more of the auction without the pressure of the Mercury hanging over us, but we were tired. We hung around until right after lunch, when it seemed our best course of action would be to get on the road and ahead of the upcoming weekend’s traffic. The trip home gave us a chance to review everything that went down over the preceding several days.

There were some lessons learned about the entire auction process. Much of what occurs on the block is not predictable. While some nice cars sold for strong money and a few poor cars sold for cheap prices, good cars were not always bid up to a fair value, and some junk sold for what seemed like crazy high dollars. With all the effort we put into representing the car on Wednesday and Thursday, it ended up selling to someone offsite. Mecum’s cars and trucks tend to be all about the sizzle, whether they are bondo-filled quickie repaints, 100-point restorations, or dolled-up restomods. The Mercury was none of these. Did that affect its outcome? Who knows, because we don’t. Would the car have found a more receptive audience on Friday or Saturday? Again, perhaps, but perhaps not. Finally, would it have done better somewhere else? If so, where? One attraction about Harrisburg is its closeness. Taking it to another locale would have raised the costs of doing business for shipping and accommodations.

The collector car hobby is immensely fulfilling in so many ways. Auctions are only one part of it. At times, they’re a necessary element to help us continue with our passion. In this case, after the ups and downs of the roller coaster, the ride ended, and the players got what they needed to get out of it.

All photographs copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.

Mecum Harrisburg PA Auction Report, Jul-Aug 2015

Mecum Auctions returned for its sophomore performance at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, PA on July 30-August 2, 2015. This is the only Mecum event held in the Northeast. (Their next closest auction is in Indianapolis.) Given the TV exposure they garner, combined with the number of shows held in all 4 corners of the contiguous 48, the name “Mecum” has risen above collector car stalwarts like Barrett-Jackson to become synonymous with “collector car auction company”. The crowds in attendance in Harrisburg bore that out. (Your author was on site for Wednesday’s preview, plus Thursday’s and Friday’s auction action.)

After last July’s inaugural run proved they had a market here, everyone came back for more. And could they have chosen a better locale than Harrisburg, centered between Carlisle and Hershey? Those of us in the hobby have been attending events in Carlisle since the mid-1970s. Hershey has hosted an AACA Eastern Fall Meet since the early 1950s, and that show has grown to become the single largest hobby car extravaganza in the country. The Farm Show Complex building, while not ideal because of limited on-site parking and air conditioning limited to the main hall, does allow lots of spread-out room.

Attending on Wednesday gave me the chance to see first-hand the huge logistical effort that is involved. Vehicles must be checked in, and more importantly, staged in lot number by day. We’re talking over 1,000 cars and trucks. There are also the motorcycles and the memorabilia, such as neon signs. Since this is a televised event, the stage and all its electronic accoutrements must be assembled. As we departed around 7pm on Wednesday, the Mecum staff was far from finished. Arriving at 8am the next morning caused me to conclude that they worked through the night, because everything was ready for show time.

My friend Larry (who was there to sell his 1963 Mercury Marauder) was with me. He has watched enough Mecum TV to know the auctioneers, TV commentators, and ringside “ushers” by name. Frankly, I was impressed. Of course, all the lights, music, and personalities in the world don’t mean a thing if bidders aren’t bidding. But people were there to buy cars. Like clockwork, the cars crossed the block in correct order; the auctioneers cattle-called in their unintelligible babble (thank goodness for the super-large display screen always showing the current bid); the “ushers” cajoled the last dollars out of anyone who dared to scratch their nose, ear, or elbow, signaling intent; and cars were either declared ‘SOLD SOLD SOLD’, or, as Mecum likes to say ‘the bid goes on’ for cars not meeting reserve.

This man just bought a car!
This man just bought a car!

Thursday’s offerings were a bit different than Friday’s. Because Larry was only offered a Thursday slot, we learned that Mecum holds Thursday’s lots to vehicles below a certain estimated value, likely around $25,000, based on observed results. While a good number of Friday’s cars sold below that too, the average price was higher, with more than a few sales approaching $50,000. Saturday is reserved for the crème de la crème. We missed it. I’m sure you can find it on reruns.

Not all cars left the tent under their own power
Not all cars left the tent under their own power

The sell-through rate was certainly better on Thursday. Counting only the 81 vehicles we personally watched cross the block, 53 cars sold, for a 65% success rate. Friday’s on-site observations totaled 51 lots, with 25 of those (49%) finding new owners. One would hope for everyone’s sake that the results got better as the weekend went on.

Presented below in lot number order is a small sample of the Harrisburg offerings, weighed heavily in favor of “cars I like”, mostly European stuff (which make up a very small percentage of the offerings). The “CPI Range” is the good-to-excellent values from the July-August 2015 edition. Note that the prices listed below (as well as those at http://www.mecum.com) do NOT include buyer’s commission.

Your comments, critiques, and questions are welcomed! CLICK ON THE PHOTOS TO ENLARGE THEM.

1. Lot #T55, 1999 Porsche Boxster, non-S (S did not come out until 2000), silver, black top and interior. 5-speed stick. 36k original miles. Original paint shows scrapes in front bumper, blemishes on hood, gouge in driver’s door. Wheels and tires look small (compared to all the 22”s at the show), but are factory correct. Black interior shows normal wear for age and miles. Rear spoiler stuck in erect position. Overall, a used car that looks OK but for lack of a detailing. CPI RANGE $10,000-15,000, SOLD FOR $11,000. Good used Boxsters are an inexpensive entry ticket to the Porsche ownership experience. This one needed someone to love it. Make sure the IMS (intermediate shaft) bearing has been done.

2. Lot #T68, 1967 Sunbeam Alpine convertible. Red with aftermarket Minilite-style wheels. Black interior. Odometer reads 43,000. Red paint is just average with lots of orange peel, uneven spray, ripples in front fenders. Talbot-style outside mirror. Outside chrome is good. Interior is fine except for missing dash pad. Top is down, so cannot inspect. Exhaust tip extends too far past rear bumper. While the wheels help with overall appearance, the car is a true 20-footer. CPI RANGE $9,000-20,000, SOLD FOR $7500. What, no V8? Most folks would look at this and mistake it for a Tiger. This is one way to get the look but not the performance at a steep discount. A fun and affordable way for someone to enter the hobby, while driving something a little different than what everyone else has.

3. Lot #T113, 2001 Mercedes Benz CL600 coupe. 12 cylinders, automatic. Silver paint with grey interior. 20” factory wheels. Very clean for a car with 102,000 miles showing. Nice overall condition for what is nothing more than a 14-year-old used car. CPI RANGE $13,000-17,000, SOLD FOR $11,000. Window sticker claims an original MSRP of $117,000. If you need 12 cylinders, might be worth waiting for the depreciation. Bring a gas card.

4. Lot #T126, 2000 Jaguar XK8 convertible. Silver paint with taupe interior. Odometer reads 126,000. Aftermarket oversize wheels and tires detract from overall presentation. Car is otherwise stock. Interior is decent for this mileage, but e-brake boot is torn, driver’s seat bolster is worn, as is steering wheel. Scratch on outside mirror cover. Probably original paint, car looks good considering the miles. Biggest improvement would be return to factory wheels. CPI RANGE $10,000-14,500, SOLD FOR $6,500. We’ve seen innumerable XK8 convertibles at recent auctions, and they all seem to sell in the $6,500-8,000 range. With supply outpacing demand, hold out and be picky if you want one. This might not be that one.

5. Lot #T153, 1979 MGB convertible with V8 conversion. Black paint, stripes, black top, tan interior with black piping. Odometer is 78,000. FMVSS label in driver’s door jamb gives it away as U.S. spec car, so was born with a 4-cylinder. Rover V8 engine swapped in. Black paint is OK, top is decent, interior is nice if obviously reupholstered. MG-branded alloys look good. Both front and rear bumpers fit poorly with large gaps. Engine install looks clean, but underhood wiring is sloppy. And why use blue electrical tape? Ran out of black? Would be fun to drive, as that V8 doesn’t weigh any more than the factory 4-pot. CPI RANGE $7,000-16,000, SOLD FOR $16,000. We watched this bid to $15,000 where it was declared “not sold”, and the house was told it would take $20,000. But the website shows it sold for $16,000. Your choice: a very clean and correct MGB, or this rough-around-the-edges one, for the same money. Sometimes you gotta date the wild ones, even if the maintenance is high.

6. Lot #T181, 1972 BMW 3.0 CSi 2-door hardtop, black paint and interior. Six cylinder with stick shift. BMW alloy wheels. Odometer is 85,000. Let’s start with the good: the interior is decent. The original design is stunning, and except for an aftermarket wheel, it appears to have held up. On the outside, the black paint is shot, especially on all the horizontal surfaces. Rust bubbles threaten to bust out of the paint and choke you. The car by design has no B pillar, but door and quarter windows on both sides fit so poorly that door windows overlap quarter windows by ½”. A true fright pig that needs a full restoration. CPI RANGE $31,000-59,000, SOLD FOR $24,000. The CPI values are for a car in good to excellent condition, which this car was not. I was floored by the final bid. If someone dares to undertake it, the restoration will cost more than today’s top value. It will be a long time before the restorer recoups his/her money. Or just drive it until the rusty front fenders fall off.

7. Lot #T274, 1978 Datsun 280Z, silver paint with black interior. Odometer reads 78,000. Inline 6 with 5-speed. Aftermarket alloy wheels nicely set off the car. Repaint looks good and glossy but paint is thick in places. Sign on the car claims original interior, and that is believable. Aftermarket racing pedals so out of place on otherwise decent interior. Dash pad cracked in several places. Rear hatch won’t open past half way. The 1978 was the last of the original Z cars, as the 1979 model was the ZX. CPI RANGE $8,000-18,000, SOLD FOR $15,000. While the hammer price is in the upper end of the book value range, the earlier 240Z’s are well above this, having accelerated beyond what many hobbyists can afford. This 280Z gives you the same look, with Japanese reliability and maintenance ease, in a package that can be enjoyed for years. You likely will not lose money down the road.

8. Lot #T301, 1999 Porsche Boxster, 5-speed, black paint, top, and interior. Shows 34,000 original miles. Wheels are 19” factory. Same year as lot #T55, the silver Boxster, but this one looks so much sharper, as paint is better, and Porsche wheels set off entire stance of car. Minor wear on driver’s seat, some hard plastics worn in interior. Otherwise hard to fault. Hot (in both senses of the word) in triple black. CPI RANGE $10,000-15,000, SOLD FOR $11,000. Sold for the exact same price as T55, but of the two, this was the one to have, provided you’re OK with driving a black convertible in the summer sun. Like the silver one, this is an inexpensive and reliable opportunity to enjoy a Porsche. 

9. Lot #F77, 1969 Fiat 500L, blue with tan interior. Air-cooled, rear-engined 2-cylinder motor, stick shift. Done up as some kind of Abarth replica, with 13” Abarth wheels, decals, requisite open engine lid. Fabric sunroof. Lots of “cute”, likely the cutest thing at the auction. Looks good, but not without some faults: steering wheel center button hanging by its wire, passenger seat upholstery torn, aftermarket gauges in dash look tacky, window moldings rough. What is replica and how authentic are these changes? THIS MODEL NOT IN CPI; EARLIER GENERATION CAR IS $12,500-29,000. SOLD FOR $17,500. Fiat 500s are hot in the marketplace right now. Jerry Seinfeld collects these (he also rolled one). If the Abarth mods added any useful horsepower, would be a blast to drive. Yes, I adored it, even with the (fixable) flaws.

10. Lot #F82, 1932 Essex Super 6. 3-speed. 2 door coupe with rumble seat. Dark blue-green with dark tan leather interior. White wall tires, painted wire wheels. Striking looking pre-war car. Sign claims former AACA award winner, but does not state which decade award was given. Looks like a slightly older restoration which has held up very well. Suicide doors, tight entry into tight passenger compartment, the governor of NJ need not apply for entrance. Paint, pinstriping, chrome look great. Hood not open, so no opportunity to view engine compartment. Lots of neat styling details like V-radiator and headlights. NOT IN CPI. SOLD FOR $24,500. This car drew me in because of its style and overall condition. Looked good enough to show, but not so perfect that you’d be afraid to drive it, which is what I’d do if it were mine. Price seemed fair just for the uniqueness (when did you last see an Essex at a car show?).

11. Lot #F110, 1984 Jaguar XJ6 1984 sedan, black with grey leather interior. Jag’s inline 6, automatic, sunroof, 56,000 miles. Black wall tires on chrome wire wheels. Not a single flaw in the entire black surface, not a single swirl mark. Interior presents well with minimal wear on driver’s seat. Side moldings detract from classic XJ lines, but may have saved it from door dings. It’s striking to see any 1984 Jaguar that sparkles like this. Cannot open hood. Trunk full of documentation going back to original sales order. Car from dealer in Kansas, alleged to be two owner car. CPI RANGE $4,300-8,500, SOLD FOR $10,000. I expected this car to sell in the $6,000-8,000 range like most ‘80s era XJs, but it exceeded book value, and was worth the premium. One of my favorite cars of the hundreds I looked at over three days.

12. Lot #F261, 1962 Triumph TR-4 (first year for this model, still on solid rear axle; TR-4a indicates IRS). Red paint, black top, black interior with white piping. Odometer reads 60,000. Chrome wires. Red paint is spotless, entire car looks great from a few feet away, but car is let down by some details, such as pitted door handles. Underhood looks good except for blue tape on harness (restorer borrowed roll of tape from owner of the MGB V8). Interior looks good, metal dash is painted white, as per factory arrangement. CPI RANGE $18,500-36,000, NO SALE AT HIGH BID OF $34,000. Like so many cars we saw at the auction, the restoration work takes it to 90% or 95%, and the final details get missed. Or the restorer burns out, or runs out of money, who knows. This TR was very nice, and should have sold at the top bid. Now owner gets to take it home and do what with it? Take it to Monterey?

All photographs copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.