One of the principal reasons for attending the Spring Carlisle Auction this year (a two-day event, which ran on April 21 & 22, 2022) was to take the temperature of the collector car market. It’s no secret that special-interest car pricing has exploded since the Covid shutdown began in early 2020. It’s difficult to pin down the exact reasons, but there’s been some influence from new and late-model used vehicle pricing having jumped sky high. We also have collectors who have decided that there’s no time like the present to get the toys of their dreams, and are willing to break open their IRA piggy banks to fund such dreams.
Online auctions, led by Bring a Trailer (BaT), provide real-world results, not just asking prices. A general observation has been that many collector cars are selling for double or triple what they might have fetched several years ago. This in turn has brought back the age-old argument that “the collector car hobby is too expensive! Everything is priced completely out of my range!” And for the umpteenth time, I’m here to argue that this is simply not true, provided you’re open minded as to what you would consider as a ‘collector car’.
I cover 13 sales results below from last week’s Carlisle event. Although I wasn’t necessarily targeting the lower end of the price range, 11 of the 13 cars listed below sold for under $10,000. And these aren’t junk. They are mostly domestic product, with a German economy car and two British sporting roadsters included. Yes, a few of them are 4-door sedans, however, that body style is gaining respect in the hobby. Four of them are convertibles. There are 4-cylinder cars, 6-cylinder ones (including one supercharged) and many V8s. Again, open-mindedness gets you something fun, and most importantly, a foot into the hobby, meaning a car you can drive to a Cars & Coffee event, a Cruise Night, or on a tour with a car club.
Carlisle Auctions is primarily attended by dealers who are looking to pay wholesale so they can flip for a profit. For the individual collector, this event continues to present an opportunity to buy a first or a twenty-first collector car at a price that’s more than fair.
As always, Richard’s Car Blog sorts the auction results IN PRICE ORDER, to give the reader an idea of what types of vehicles sell in similar price ranges. The blog also strives to provide multiple photos of each car, capturing the front, rear, interior, and engine compartment whenever possible.
$3,000 – $5,000:
T215, 1996 Cadillac Eldorado, dark blue/green, taupe interior. Northstar V8, auto, factory alloys, blackwalls. Interior shows expected wear for age. Sign claims “low actual mileage” but miles not verified.
SOLD $3,000. The deal of the day or a never-ending money pit? This car sold midday on Thursday, and I didn’t check it out until after the sale. Is there a bad CarFax? Branded title? Major accident repair? I don’t know, but someone may have done well just to get a running driving car for this money.
T112, 1976 Buick Electra 4-door pillarless hardtop, silver, red vinyl roof, red interior. 455 V8, auto. Clock shows 87k. Blackwall tires, full wheel covers, fender skirts, faded bumper fillers. Paint is shot, silver looks more like primer. Interior ok, driver’s door armrest deteriorated. (No mention if roll of duct tape is included.) Engine compartment a mess. Last year of GM’s full-size cars before the Big Downsizing in ’77.
SOLD $5,000. A neglected old boat, only for the Buick devotee. But hey, who says you can’t get into the hobby cheap? Bring a gas card.
$5,700 – $6,500:
T145, 1960 Rambler 4-door sedan, 6-cylinder, auto (push button!), dark blue body, white top, blackwall tires, white painted wheels with Rambler hub caps. Sign claims 41k original miles, could be true. Interior multi-grey, rubber mats on floor. Quite basic transportation even by 1960 standards.
SOLD $5,750 Rambler/AMC collectors are out there (I know a few), but this car is as plain as plain gets. Perhaps the best one can say is to acknowledge that the car survived. Only for the hardcore Rambler enthusiast.
F470, 1964 Chevrolet Corvair convertible, yellow, white convertible top, wire wheel covers, whitewall tires, aftermarket brown velour seat upholstery, dash cover. Flat-6, 4-speed, claimed 67k miles.
SOLD $6,000. To me, car’s appearance was greatly held back by incorrect seat upholstery; should be all black. No engine specs stated, so presumed this is lower HP version (110?). If underbody is solid, this is something of a deal on a 1st gen Corvair droptop (with the manual a plus). Recent BaT sales have been higher than this.
T101, 1979 Pontiac Bonneville 4-door sedan. V8, auto, Two-tone brown/cream, beige interior. Odometer shows 85k, could be actual. Fender skirts, whitewalls, full wheel covers, color-keyed bodyside molding. Interior shows little wear (driver’s door panel looks amazing for age and miles). Engine compartment could use a detail.
SOLD $6,250. Four door sedans are gathering more respect as collectibles, helped in part by rising values of two door cars. If you’re ok with pillared sedans, this one was nice. The orphaned marque could help or hurt depending on your point of view. (Saw this car in the Car Corral the following day, ask was $10,500.)
F450, 1996 Buick Riviera, 3.8L supercharged V6, auto, FWD. Black paint, chrome factory wheels, grey leather interior. Sign claims 69k original miles. Looks like a 10-year-old well-kept used car.
SOLD $6,500. A great touring car, eligible for all AACA events now that it’s over 25 years old.
$7,500 – $8,250:
T102, 1974 VW Super Beetle, light blue, white interior. Sign claims 53k original miles. Blackwall tires, VW hub caps. Exterior shows well except for (hopefully removable) decals. Interior has cracked dash, paint chips on inside driver’s door, lace-on steering wheel cover, coco floor mats. Engine compartment clean, shows signs of recent service.
SOLD $7,500. #3 condition car sold for #4 money, a rare deal in today’s market. Was the 2nd car run on Thursday, to buyer’s delight and seller’s chagrin.
F492, 1996 Ford Mustang GT convertible, 4.6L V8, auto, sign claims 65k original miles (and 6-digit odo backs that up). Teal green, tan top, tan cloth interior. Blackwall tires on factory alloys, factory rear spoiler. A decent looking used car.
SOLD $7,500. These SN-95 models succeeded the Fox-body cars, and the original styling was derided as being a bit too soft (rectified in the 1999 refresh). These mid-to-late ‘90s Mustangs represent a tremendous value if you’re looking for pony car fun, especially in top-down mode.
T121, 1975 Triumph Spitfire, red, black top, non-original two-tone black/red interior. Painted wheels, center caps and trim rings, blackwall tires. Sign claims 45k original miles. Engine compartment clean.
SOLD $7,750. It doesn’t get much simpler than a Spitfire. You might want to try one on for size before plunking down your hard-earned cash. Still, lots of wind-in-the-hair fun for little money. Great first collector car, as parts are plentiful and the wrenching is easy.
F472, 1952 Packard 200 4-door sedan. Light green, full wheel covers, whitewalls, fender skirts. Original selling dealer emblem on trunk lid. Interior is grey/black, odo reads 23k, no mileage claim. Straight-8 flathead, stick shift, 6 volt. Trunk shows a wide-white 7.60-15 bias-ply tire on spare wheel; how old is that tire?? Sign claims “all original survivor”.
SOLD $8,250. I looked over this car as carefully as I could and could find zero evidence of a respray. It’s entirely possible this car was wearing factory paint. No rust-through was found during a cursory inspection. I’m smitten by any car that can remain as original as this one appears to have done. If true, a wonderful find for the Packard aficionado.
T134, 1997 Jaguar XK8 convertible, V8, auto, dark red, tan top and interior, 88k miles, factory alloys, blackwall tires, interior shows little wear. Sign claims recent service to timing chains and coolant inlets. First year for the XK8.
SOLD $8,250. These have consistently sold in the high four-figures up until recently. Several BaT sales earlier this year were in the mid-teens, so based on that, consider this sale a bit of a bargain.
$17,000 – $32,000:
T217, 1988 Ford Mustang GT convertible. 5.0 V8, automatic, claim is 46k original miles. Blue paint, grey lower cladding, dark blue convertible top, luggage rack, factory alloys, blackwalls. Interior is grey plaid cloth. Overall hard to fault.
SOLD $17,000. Halfway between a CPI #3 and #2 value, price was fair for both parties. I maintain that Fox-body cars are still somewhat of a good deal in this overheated collector market.
F449, 1967 Buick Sport Wagon (with 2nd windshield above passenger seat). Silver, black interior, roof rack, what look like later Buick alloys with oversize tires. Buick 340 V8/automatic. Sign states upgraded with 4-wheel disc brakes and 4-wheel air ride suspension. Interior stock except for auxiliary gauges below dash and light grey floor mats.
SOLD $32,000. This result blew me away. It’s almost twice what CPI shows for a #2 car. Overall, the car was ok but was not presented in a very detailed manner. Perhaps the relative rarity of the Sport Wagon body (similar to the Olds Vista Cruiser) drove the bidders to exuberantly wave their bidders’ cards.
It can be entertaining to reminisce about “the one that got away”. Whether it’s the big fish that broke loose from your hook, or the college flame you think you should have married (and admit it, it wouldn’t have worked out), we occasionally think about the “almost” events from our past.
Those of us in the collector car hobby are particularly expert at this game. I haven’t met a single classic car fan who hasn’t cried on my shoulder about the one that should never have left the garage. A variation of that theme are the cars we could have purchased at auction and didn’t.
The recent release of Hagerty’s Bull Market List for 2022 provided something of a prompt for this post. I have no beef with their choices and have no plans to rebut them or offer my own. However, the list implies if not outright claims that certain cars will increase in value, some more quickly than others. We therefore swing back to the question of whether one can buy cars, especially at an auction, enjoy them for a while, and then sell them for a profit.
I decided to revisit my blog posts of five years ago, 2016, a year in which I attended auctions in Atlantic City, Carlisle, Harrisburg, and Hershey. Scanning the results, I spotted a few cars which seemed to sell on the low end of pricing compared to what they might bring today. (Let’s temper all this talk about “making a profit” by pointing out that the buyer must cover overhead such as auction fees, taxes, registration, shipping, insurance, maintenance, repair, and storage. Ownership of a car is not “free”.)
Below is my one pick from each of the five auctions I attended that year. The text and photo are carried over from my initial post, and I’ve added comments along with book values and an example of a recent sale.
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.
F464 1991 Chevy Corvette coupe, VIN 1G1YY2386M5104468, white, smoke glass top, 5.7L V8, automatic, 24,000 original miles, just serviced. Corvette alloy wheels are unmarked. Nose shows no paint chips or scrapes. Door seals in good shape. Interior is blue/gray, automatic, with slight carpet wear. Interior supports mileage claim. Paint looks original, all looks presentable. Glass OK. This car was very late in crossing the block, but bidder interest was high, possibly because of the low miles. Car was still sold within the CPI “good” range, so we’ll call this one well-bought.
HIGH BID: $9,200 SOLD!
Here are my thoughts in 2021:
This was when I started noticing how inexpensive C4 Corvettes were. To me, this car was a trade-off between the low miles and the auto gearbox. Since then, I’ve noticed that C4 values have been flat, as evidenced by the CPI numbers in the Dec. ’21 book: good-to-excellent values are between $7,000 and $13,500, meaning they’ve actually dropped in the last five years. On BaT, almost all the C4s are either ZR-1s or convertibles, and all have low mileage. The closest comp is this ’91 with 16k on it which sold for $15,000. The buyer of this white car would only be ahead if the car remained parked, and what’s the point of that?
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.
Here are my thoughts in 2021:
Awfully cheeky of me to write that, eh? Actually, R107 (platform name) Benzes have stayed hot, but particularly the final iteration, the 560SL models which were offered through 1989. Values of older ones like this 450SL are highly dependent on condition. I rated this car as a 2+. The current CPI values these between $12,800 and $28,000 for a good-to-excellent car. So I’ll stand behind my words from April 2016 and state that you could sell this car in this condition today for “a little more” than you paid for it in 2016. Here’s a recent sale of a ’78 450SL for $20,500 on BaT which supports the value range.
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.
Here are my thoughts in 2021:
Of all the cars from my youth, I confess that air-cooled VW Bugs were my guess for cars to least likely appreciate and become collector-car-worthy. Of course, I was wrong. Exhibit A as represented here are the final run of Beetle convertibles, especially the 1979 final-year ones. This ’78 is close enough to that. I did note that at $5,750, this car sold “for about half book price” making book price back then about $12,000. The Dec. ’21 CPI puts these drop-tops between $15,000 for “good” to $32,000 for “excellent”. Earlier this month, BaT sold a black-on-black ’79 for $15,000, so our orange Beetle owner would do ok if they sold it today.
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?
Here are my thoughts in 2021:
Mercedes-Benz 300SLs, both Gullwing and Roadster, are true blue-chip collectibles, meaning that their values are better than money in the bank. While there may be the occasional backslide, the law of supply and demand (few cars exist, moneyed buyers are a-plenty) means that waiting out any blip is simply a matter of patience. Yet as I asked above, did this one slip through the cracks? The only fault was the color change, and as long as factory colors are chosen, there is no real knock to value. Today’s CPI puts this car between $1.2 and $1.5 million (if you have to ask….). If it was flipped for a profit, let’s hope the owner at least got to enjoy driving it a bit. As you might imagine, online sales are few and far between. BaT did sell a Roadster in July of this year for $1.4 million.
It’s easy to be the armchair quarterback and say “you shoulda bought that one, you coulda doubled your money!”. Sure, like I had three quarters of a mil hanging around. Even the least expensive car of these five, the VW, would have likely cost closer to $7,000 when one was done with the initial outlays, including replacing those ugly wheels. My close friends and I agree: the Number One rule is buy what you like because you like it. The speculation game is a gamble and relies on good luck as well as a good eye. It can and does happen, but my experience is that turning a profit on a resale can mean holding onto a car for a while.
For the first time since October 2019, I attended a live collector car auction last week when I found myself at the two-day extravaganza known as the Spring Carlisle Auction. The coronavirus pandemic shutdown, with but one exception, had slammed the door on in-person hobby activities in 2020 for me. What changed? A combination of my being fully vaccinated along with the option to spend much of this auction out of doors encouraged me to accept what seemed to be a reduced risk. As an aside, while the Carlisle Auction website “promised” adherence with certain pandemic protocols such as mask-wearing and social distancing, sadly, much of the audience ignored them. I was prepared for such flouting of the prescribed requirements and adjusted my behavior accordingly.
With that said, the Carlisle Events staff did their usual fine job: registration was smooth, run sheets were available early in the a.m., cars were arranged in lot order, the action started promptly at noon, about 25 cars per hour were run across the block, and they drove, pushed, or dragged about 200 cars on Thursday and another 175 on Friday into and out of the Expo Center. Sell-through rates seemed high, helped by a number of no-reserve lots, and while there were few bargains, prices seemed fair if a bit closer to retail (this is still very much an auction dominated by dealers here to buy and sell).
While it’s easy for me to look at the entire consignment list and opine that it consisted of the usual suspects (GM and FoMoCo products of the ‘50s, ‘60s, & ‘70s), I was struck by the number of pre-war, meaning 1942 and older cars, offered here. While a few were “rodded and modded”, many were either unrestored or restored to original spec. These included a 1931 Chevy, a 1925 Nash, and a 1942 Studebaker. The two documented below, the 1931 Pontiac and 1939 Packard, sold between $10k and $15k, so this segment of the hobby remains both accessible and of interest to some.
Do you like the final-generation Thunderbirds? There were four, and all sold, at prices between $7,500 and $12,500. What about orphans? Seven Studebakers ran across the block, although only two met reserves. Pontiac GTOs did well, with 4 out of 5 selling for numbers ranging from $38,500 to $56,000.
Twenty-two of my choices are detailed below; all these cars sold. There were many more which I found interesting, however, I am omitting coverage of cars which did not meet reserve. As always, sold cars are presented in sale price order, and multiple photos are supplied, including interior and engine compartment shots when access was there.
Note that EIGHT of my choices hammered at $10,250 or below (and there were many more not included in this report). For the umpteenth time, to those who maintain that the collector car hobby is no longer affordable, I again provide Exhibit A and remind you to be open-minded about the type of car you’d welcome into your garage.
$3,500 TO $10,250:
Lot T109, 1972 MG Midget, red, black vinyl convertible top, black vinyl interior, 4-cylinder, 4-speed manual, clock shows 63,823 miles (who does that in a Midget?), MG Rostyle wheels are rusty, blackwall tires. Car is somewhat rough all over, but at least shows no rust-through, and appears to be all there. Sold at no reserve.
SOLD for $3,500. I got to speak to the owner as he cleared the snow from the car early Thursday morning. He was a young guy, perhaps early 30s, and said he had several other cars in the auction. This MG was not his usual “flip”, and he, over 6 feet tall, barely fit in it. I ran into him later and asked if he was ok with the result. He said yes, as he had about $2,000 into it. Postscript: walking the Carlisle fairgrounds Car Corral on Friday, I saw this car there with an ask of $7,900. Quick flip attempt indeed.
Lot T103, 1983 Porsche 944 2-door coupe, 2.5L 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual, green, light brown interior. Odometer shows 18,552, likely on its 2nd orbit. Black & silver Porsche alloys, blackwall tires. Underhood condition crusty. These Porsche interiors from the 1980s did not hold up well, and this one shows it, with cracked dash (hidden by dash toupee), worn steering wheel cover, various faded beige and brown bits. Sold at no reserve.
SOLD for $3,500. Porsche is just one of several brands about which it is said “there is no such thing as a cheap one”. Even if it runs well, figure on the need to catch up with postponed maintenance. But it does grant you entry into the PCA (Porsche Club of America).
Lot T104, 1993 Pontiac Grand Prix 2-door coupe, white, grey cloth interior, 76k miles, white wheels, blackwall tires, sunroof, 3.1L V6/automatic, rear spoiler, door-mounted 3-point seat belt in lieu of driver’s air bag. No obvious faults, just a ‘90s used car. Sold at no reserve.
SOLD for $3,800. For under 5 grand, someone got a car which at least in NJ is eligible for antique plates, does not require state inspection, and qualifies for showing at any AACA event in the country.
Lot T110, 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLK230 retractable hardtop-convertible, 2.3L 4-cylinder w/supercharger, automatic, red metallic, two-tone beige & black interior, Mercedes alloys with blackwall tires, 6-digit electronic odometer shows 79,901 miles, interior clean for age and mileage. Sold at no reserve.
SOLD for $6,500. Presuming that the hardtop retracted properly, this could be a fun daily driver, and was slightly well-bought, about two grand below book for a “good” condition car.
Lot F471, 1968 Morris Minor Traveler “woody”, RHD, dark red paint, red interior, 4-cylinder engine, 4-speed manual transmission, hub caps on cream-painted steel wheels, whitewall tires, driving lamps, headlight eyelids, dual outside mirrors, wood-framed rear quarters and tailgate.
SOLD for $7,000. Another LBC (little British car) that could be had for under five figures, this one looked great, with the only strike against it its RHD (about which I’ve read that you get used to it in about 10 minutes). You’re guaranteed to have the only one at the next Cars & Coffee.
Lot F443, 1966 Ford LTD 2-door fastback, beige paint and interior, Ford wheel covers with narrow whitewall tires, 352 V8/automatic, Ford blue engine looks like it was dipped in a vat of paint, no A/C and no power brakes, cloth upholstery shows some dirt and wear, steering wheel cover color clashes.
SOLD for $8,000. In the earliest days of the hobby, when only pre-war cars were collected, Ford’s Model T and Model A were two of the most popular affordable collector cars. When baby boomers entered the hobby, interest in the full-size Chevys of the ‘50s and ‘60s surged past similar Fords. Most car people don’t think of this ’66 LTD fastback when considering something from that decade, so it was refreshing to see one that survived. This particular example had a number of demerits against it, including blah colors, lack of A/C, and poor attention to detail. However, if Ford Blue runs through your veins and you wanted a full-size car, you could enjoy this one. Fitting an aftermarket A/C system would probably not detract from its value.
Lot T183, 1963 VW Beetle 2-door sedan, red & black paint, red & white interior, VW hub caps on white-painted steel wheels, blackwall tires, 1.6L flat four, four-speed manual, black dash, white wheel, white seats, red & white door panels. Engine compartment clean if not totally original, with open air filter and painted cooling fan.
SOLD for $9,000. Beetles long ago moved up and away from being cheap auction cars. This price seems on the low side, but I didn’t care for the colors (I don’t like this non-original two-tone treatment), and the interior colors seemed wrong (did the door panels fade to orange?). Hopefully the mechanicals check out.
Lot T113, 1939 Packard 4-door Touring Sedan, flathead inline-6, 3-speed manual transmission, black paint, brown mohair interior. Packard hub caps on steel wheels, wide whitewall tires, possibly bias-ply. Odometer reads 29,000 miles, handwritten note inside car claims original miles, and looks believable to me. Black paint is mostly ok, but buffed through along some sharp body creases. All exterior fittings are in place. Interior looks unrestored. Gas ration sticker in back window, service station sticker in driver’s door jamb shows 24k miles in 1977. Some wear on driver’s seat bottom and door panel, but rest of interior looks like it has survived the last 82 years quite well. Sold at no reserve.
SOLD for $10,250. This was one of several cars at the auction which captured my complete attention because of its believable alleged originality. First, it’s a Packard, albeit a “Junior” one with the six, but still a brand that continues to command attention among collectors. Next is it original condition (the car wore an AACA HPOF emblem). Third, it’s a pre-war car that looks like it could potentially complete some tours. It was bought by Country Classic Cars, a collector car dealer in IL, and they obviously see some upside to it at this price.
$11,250 TO $19,000:
Lot T184, 1972 Honda Z600 coupe (incorrectly ID’d as “CVCC”), dark olive green, black interior, black wheels, blackwall tires, 2-cylinder air-cooled engine, 4-speed manual, FWD, shows 42,664 miles, appears repainted and I won’t swear this is an original color, spartan interior shows no defects, tach redlines at 6,000 rpm, and that 600cc twin must scream at those revs.
SOLD for $11,250. The Beetle parked next to this emphasized how tiny this Z600 is. Hammer price fell right between ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ in my price guide. If you’re ok with the color, then it was a fair price; besides, if you want one, when will the next one show up on the block?
Lot T144, 1947 Dodge Deluxe 2-door coupe, black, brown interior, Dodge hubcaps on steel wheels, wide whitewall tires, flathead inline-6 with 3-speed Fluid Drive, sign on car claims 48,000 miles, not impossible to believe. External sun visor looks like an air foil that would keep top speed to 45 mph. Cheap (and easily removed) steering wheel cover detracts from what is otherwise a clean and original interior.
SOLD for $11,500. This immediate post-war Dodge still wears pre-war styling, and this one was in great shape overall. My reference books tell me that this straight six had 230 cubic inches and put out 102 horsepower, just enough for it to get out of its own way. This was a good buy for the few people who might be looking for a ‘40s Dodge.
Lot F424, 1952 Triumph TR2, red, black top & side curtains, black interior, Triumph hub caps on grey steel wheels, blackwall tires, dual fender-mounted outside mirrors, inline 4-cylinder, 4-speed manual transmission, “Pittsburgh Grand Prix” decals on doors, sign claims 59,000 miles.
SOLD for $12,000. While TR3s are seen relatively frequently, it’s rare to spot one of these “small mouth” TR2s. The lack of outside door handles means gaining ingress is accomplished by reaching through the unzipped side curtain to tug at the door pull; that worked fine on the passenger side, but the pull strap was broken on the left side. Paint, which appears too thick to be original, is cracked in various spots, possibly from body flexing during rigorous driving. Based on the decals, it’s nice to know the car has seen use as intended. This was a great buy of an unusual car, and a nice way to get into the British sports car scene.
Lot F451, 1982 Alfa Romeo Spider, cream paint, black convertible top, dark tan interior, 2L inline 4-cylinder, 5-speed manual transmission, aftermarket alloys with blackwall tires, 6-digit odometer reads 35,083, engine compartment clean but not detailed. The model year 1982 Spiders are a sweet spot: Bosch fuel injection replaced the Spica system, yet the cars kept the Series 2 “Kamm tail” rear end styling. Only two minor faults noted: remote trunk release lever loose in its bezel, and battery hold-down lying next to the trunk-mounted battery.
SOLD for $13,000. My photos fail to document the incredible level of originality, correctness, and supremely fine condition of this Alfa. I spent well over 30 minutes crawling on top of, inside of, and under this car, and aside from what is mentioned above, could find no faults with it. My former car-dealer buddy was with me, and he, with his much more critical eye, agreed with my assessment of the car. Paint was original and near perfect, interior showed no wear, top and tires looked new (tires had 2020 date codes), and upon popping the trunk, we found a manila folder full of service receipts going back over 20 years. The only “rust” was a minor scrape on the front belly pan where a curb impact chipped away an inch of paint. Simply put, this was the absolutely cleanest unrestored Alfa spider I have ever seen at an auction. It truly looked like a 4- or 5-year-old used car. Full disclosure: I was prepared to bid on this car, hoping that the American-car-leaning Carlisle audience would ignore it and allow me to steal it for under $10k, but it quickly sailed past that, ending at a somewhat high $13k. Whoever got it has a car to cherish.
Lot T202, 1950 Packard Deluxe, taupe grey, tan cloth interior, Packard hub caps, blackwall tires, straight-eight engine, 3-speed manual with overdrive, odometer shows 56k miles, service stickers on door jamb support mileage, nice woodgrain paint on dash, seat upholstery shows little wear and appears to be unrestored, Packard rubber mats protect carpet, original radio in box in trunk.
SOLD for $13,250. Was consigned by the same owner as Lot T109, the 1972 MG Midget. He told me the Packard came out of dry storage in Kansas, where the owner had put “dozens” of cars up on blocks. This Packard looked like an honest survivor. I’m personally not a fan of the so-called Bathtub Packards, of which this is one, and I preferred the ’39, but this ’50 would be the more usable car of the two.
Lot T186, 1931 Pontiac Custom 2-door sedan, blue & black paint, grey cloth interior, yellow painted wire wheels with wide whitewall tires. Straight six engine, 3-speed manual transmission, spare tire out back. A handsome car and a nicely-done restoration.
SOLD for $15,750. The auctioneer announced at $14k that the “reserve is off”, and with just a few more bids, it sold. This early ‘30s car has the advantage of being enclosed, which makes it more inviting and practical for touring use. This was one of the more attractive pre-war cars here.
Lot T154, 1955 Ford Thunderbird, red, red non-porthole hardtop, red & white interior, full T-Bird wheel covers on red-painted wheels with whitewall tires, 292 V8/automatic, power steering, power seat. Sign on car claims car came from estate. While looking good from 20 feet, a closer inspection shows that much of the paint is crazed, cracked, and flaking in spots. Possibly original paint. Interior is presentable.
SOLD for $16,500. Prices on the 2-seat Birds (Baby Birds) are all over the map, as so much depends on condition, colors, and options. A few years ago, I noted at Hershey that prices seemed to have bottomed out around $20-25k for decent cars; values have since headed up, but only slightly. This may have been cheap for a Baby Bird, but you would need to live with the paint as-is; any attempt to restore it at this price would put you underwater.
Lot F510, 1966 Ford Mustang coupe, emberglo paint, beige interior, 289 V8/automatic, Ford styled steel wheels with whitewall tires, underdash A/C (sign indicates A/C inop), wood steering wheel, aftermarket center console. VIN indicates that car left factory with a 2-barrel carb, now has 4-barrel.
SOLD for $17,500. Car looked very sharp in person, helped by emberglo color, a personal favorite. I did not spend much time looking over this car, but if it’s solid underneath, this was a good deal for a 1st gen Mustang coupe; many of them from my observation trade closer to $20k in this condition.
Lot F480, 1969 Buick Riviera, brown metallic, tan vinyl roof, tan interior, Riviera wheel covers, whitewall tires, V8/automatic, sign claims 84k miles, front cornering lights, bench seat, column shifter, detailed engine compartment. Car appears to lack A/C: can’t see a compressor, and dash controls don’t show a “cool” choice.
SOLD for $19,000. This one’s a frequent flyer: I spotted this same car at the RM Hershey auction in 2018, at which time it sold for $16,000. Two and a half years later, and it sold for three grand more, but with consignment fees and transportation costs, it was likely a wash or even a slight loss for the consignor. Overall, an attractive car with nothing extraordinary about it. These are nice looking Rivs, but it’s very disappointing to see an American luxury car from this era without air.
$23,000 TO $27,250:
Lot T142, 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7 2-door hardtop, white, black vinyl top, black interior, Cragar chrome wheels with narrow whitewall tires, aftermarket side body molding and trunk-mounted luggage rack, 289 V8 with C4 automatic, some chrome upgrades underhood. Allegedly a Texas car, clock shows 34,597, could be first or second time around, but either way, car looks clean and straight, if a bit boring in these colors. I hope that side molding is glued and not screwed into place.
SOLD for $23,000. While not a steal, was a fair price for a pony car that looked like it needed nothing to begin enjoying. The strength of Cougars is that they are still undervalued compared to Mustangs of the same vintage and condition, and I’d argue that the ’67-’68 Cougars are slightly better-looking than the same generation Mustangs.
Lot T175, 1965 Chrysler 300 “L” convertible, light blue, white convertible top, blue interior, full wheel covers on steel wheels, narrow whitewall tires, factory a/c, 413 V8, automatic, final year for the famed letter-series 300 models.
SOLD for $24,000. I originally thought this to be quite a bargain, but my price guide shows this price to basically be retail. It’s the 300 letter-series cars from the late ‘50’s to very early ‘60s which can command numbers approaching $150k. Yet this car still has an air of exclusivity to it, with its 360 hp engine (up from 340 in the New Yorker) and subtle styling touches. When new, pricing started at $4,716 (only the New Yorker station wagons were pricier) and only 400 ’65 droptops were built. This was a nice buy in a powerful and exclusive full size Chrysler.
Lot F435, 1967 Plymouth Barracuda 2-door fastback, silver, red interior, aftermarket wheels, raised white-letter tires, 340 V8, automatic, sign claims “full restoration”, but also notes that interior and undercarriage are original and untouched. Cheap steering wheel cover detracts from what is otherwise a pretty interior. Open air cleaner element dirty, engine compartment could use a detailing.
SOLD for $27,250. While the 1970 and on E-bodies get most of the attention among Barracuda fans, the 1967-1969 cars, available as coupe, fastback, or convertible, have their admirers, your scribe included. This was a nice car that had been taken about 80% of the way toward “excellent”, yet it earned a sale price several thousand above what my price guide shows for an excellent car. Well sold.
$34,500 TO $44,250:
Lot F433, 1957 Ford Thunderbird, grey, white hardtop, red interior, chrome wire wheels with wide whitewall tires, 312 V8, automatic, unable to open hood, but interior shows power brake pedal and add-on A/C unit hanging under dash. Online photos show black soft top and engine dress-up kit.
SOLD for $34,500. This was a cosmetically stunning Baby Bird, helped by the unusual but factory-correct gunmetal grey paint. The colors and condition warranted the price for a car that would be equally at home on a showfield or on a tour.
Lot F546, 1991 Acura NSX coupe, red, two-tone red & black interior, aftermarket alloys with blackwall tires, odometer reads 73,234 miles, mid-mounted V6 with 5-speed manual, car not detailed, interior looks somewhat garish, gives the vibe of “just a used car”.
SOLD for $44,250. After seeing one at the 2013 New England 1000 rally, I briefly considered getting one when prices were around $30k. Of course, they quickly shot up after that, with very clean and low mileage cars almost touching six figures. They have dropped back from their highs of a few years ago, but still command good money. This one had higher miles and didn’t show signs of extraordinary care, and sold for a fair price considering the unknowns.
Richard’s Car Blog continues to provide the only online auction reports with:
Multiple pictures of each car;
Results in sale price order; and
Timely posts within days of auction end.
Carlisle Auctions held its spring 2019 event on Thursday and Friday, April 25 and 26, 2019. As a sign of its increasing success, auction start times were moved up to 12 noon on both days, compared to 2pm in previous years.
Each day’s run sheets had about 225 vehicles on them, and the necessity of staging 450 cars and trucks had the Carlisle staff again extend their parking arrangement into the Tree of Life church lot across the street. The weather held up, with only intermittent sprinkles and the briefest of downpours, and the crowds were of decent size both days.
On both Thursday and Friday, I observed the first 40 or so cars to cross the block, and things started slowly, as the sell-through rate was a none-too-impressive 46% (17 out of 37 on Thursday, and 19 out of 41 on Friday). Things picked up later, helped in part by “no reserve hour” on Thursday, which guaranteed a 100% sell-through. Like any auction, some reserves were unreasonable, some cars sold for fair money, and there were some deals to be had.
Interestingly, on Friday before the auction start, Bill Miller (who founded Carlisle Events) announced that they had “done about $2 million yesterday, and we’re hoping for 3.5 [million] today”. Around $5.5 million dollars in sales doesn’t sound too shabby for this independent auction house that has grown larger and more organized year after year (check out my 2015 and 2016 auction reports to see how far they’ve come).
Twenty-seven cars which struck my fancy are featured below, arranged in sold price from $2,000 to $24,000. For those who continue to insist that “the hobby is too expensive, and I can’t afford to get into it anymore”, note that I’ve included FIVE running vehicles which hammered below five thousand dollars.
UNDER $5,000 (5 CARS)
T161 NO RESERVE 1990 Mazda MX-5 Miata, blue, black convertible top, black leather aftermarket kit looks good enough to be mistaken for factory upholstery. 158,000 miles on odometer. Paint looks very good for age and mileage. Entire car let down by gaudy chrome wheels which are about 6” larger than factory. Underhood looks decent, shocked to see that brake fluid appears to have been recently serviced. Ugly wheels are an easy fix.
SOLD FOR $2,000– Based on my observations of the first-gen (NA) used Miata market (I own a ’93), one could do a lot worse than spend 2 grand on this car. The mileage didn’t scare me as the car looked maintained. The lack of typical rust was a major positive. Spend $500 on OE wheels and enjoy it.
T163 NO RESERVE 1977 MGB roadster, burgundy, black convertible top, black leather interior, new battery, wood steering wheel is nice touch. MG alloy wheels with black wall tires. 71,341 miles on odometer is believable, no obvious rust. Engine compartment shows some tasteful mods: finned valve cover, Weber carb, header, Ansa exhaust. Fun starter car, as the rubber bumper cars gather interest with the chrome bumper cars moving up in price.
SOLD FOR $3,000- I looked at this car before it crossed the block, and knew it would sell cheaply, but this price floored me. Carlisle is not the place to sell imports. Someone got a fun British roadster at half off.
T115 1965 Chevy Corvair 4-door hardtop, gold and gold, 110 hp, Powerglide, mileage is 51,554, sign on car alleges original mileage. Fake wire wheels, ugly black rub strip down sides, rear luggage rack can double as pizza warmer. Bucket seats. Alternator drive belt off its pulleys (a common Corvair conundrum). Car shows no signs of maintenance or care. Entire car is dirty, rust in rear quarter panels.
SOLD FOR $3,200- The 2nd gen Corvairs (1965-1969) are beautiful, and have collector interest, but primarily the 2-door coupes and convertibles. Even at this price, I see no upside here.
T192 1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, triple black, Alfa Romeo alloys, blackwall tires. Odometer is 77,000. Paint shows well, rear rubber duck tail blends well with paint. Some spotting in paint near fuel filler. Underhood could use a detailing, but no obvious defects.
SOLD FOR $4,000- Like Lot T163, the MGB, this result is a shock. While these Alfas are known to rust, this one looked clean and straight (full disclosure: I did not get on my knees and peek under it). The deal-breaker for me was the black paint/black top/black interior (WHO orders a convertible like that??) Even so, this was a dirt-cheap entry fee into the Alfa club.
F407 1984 Old Cutlass Supreme Brougham 2-door formal coupe. Light cream paint, dark red half-vinyl roof, red velour “loose pillow” interior. V8, automatic. Olds alloy wheels and trim rings, Mastercraft tires. One of the last RWD Cutlasses. Funny lights added to grille; rear spoiler detracts from formal look. Odometer reads 55,892 which looks accurate. Outside is OK, no obvious defects. Olds Club of America decal! A little dirty inside. Both doors along bottom inside edges show filler and paint as if to head off some early rust, not showing through outside. Yet.
NO SALE AT HGH BID OF $3,700- auctioneer announced that reserve is $5,000. Website says car sold for $4,000.Seller obviously came to his senses and sold the car $1,000 below his reserve. Even with the door rust, which might lie dormant, buyer got a reliable, good-looking and good-sized American car that has another 100,000+ miles remaining in it before any serious work is needed.
$5,000 TO $9,000 (8 CARS)
T117 1965 Ford T-Bird 2-door hardtop, dark green, black vinyl roof, landau bars, full wheel covers, whitewall tires. Mileage is 21,966, best guess is to add a “1” to the front of that. Car is dirty on outside, hard to determine paint condition. Underhood is a complete disaster. Interior is light gold or green, hard to tell as interior has faded to various autumnal shades. Factory A/C, driver’s door panel torn and taped, carpet worn, chrome pitted, entire interior needs a deep cleaning. There may be a decent car hiding under the mess.
SOLD FOR $5,700- I shouldn’t be shocked, but I am, at the overall condition of many of these auction cars. This T-Bird in particular rates a condition ‘4’ on the traditional 1-to-5 scale. But a weekend spent cleaning and detailing it could have brought it up to a solid #3 or even a 2-, which would have brought another $2,000-3,000 on the block. If a flipper bought it, that is exactly what he is going to do.
F532 1999 Jaguar XK8, silver, black convertible top, black leather interior. Jag alloy wheels, blackwall tires. Top looks spotless. 45,208 original miles. Some signs of wiring repairs underhood. Interior shows more wear than expected for mileage, especially driver’s seat bottom. Bland color combo, looks like nothing more than another used car.
SOLD FOR $5,900- These first generation XK8 convertibles are an auction mainstay. Most of the ones I’ve seen have higher mileage, and have been bringing around $7,000-9,000. This one had lower miles and brought less money, which is great news for the buyer and not-great news for the seller.
F421 1982 Mazda RX-7 GSL, 82040 miles, factory alloy wheels, sunroof. Metallic red, red cloth interior. Rotary engine, 5-speed transmission. Paint OK, but black on exterior glass trim has worn away in spots. Both underhood and interior are dirty. Floor mats worn out, driver’s seat bolster worn.
SOLD FOR $6,200- First-gen RX-7s have a cult following, but they have yet to bring the bucks. This one, like so many other cars here, was dirty and looked unloved. The good news is that it had not been messed with, as it retained all its factory equipment. Sale price was fair to both buyer and seller.
T105 1964 Ford T-Bird hardtop, 390/automatic, aqua, white vinyl top with landau bars, aqua interior. Odometer reads 99,556. Paint looks old, and is faded and blotchy all over. By contrast, interior is very clean except for cracks in steering wheel. Upholstery is so nice it’s likely been redone. Underhood surprisingly clean. A car to drive, or paint it to bring it up a notch.
SOLD FOR $6,300- The ’61-’66 T-Birds are favorites of mine. I prefer the ’61-63 Bullet Birds, but I wouldn’t turn down a ’64 like this one. These are large cars which float down the road. There’s nothing sporty about the driving experience, but it is luxurious. This was a fair price for a car in a nice color combo that needs paint.
T260 1954 Packard Patrician, 4-door sedan, straight 8, automatic. Green inside and out. Might be factory paint, with some blended-in repainted areas which don’t match. Full factory wheel covers, white wall tires look like bias-ply. Mileage is 45,000, sign claims that is original. Sign also claims long-term one-family ownership. Interior completely original and looks well cared for, if a bit worn and faded in places. Painted metal dash in great shape. Rear seat footrests still in place. Car oozes charm and patina. A true survivor which will be held back by its sedan body style.
SOLD FOR $7,500- I spent about 20 minutes checking out this car, and sat in both front and rear seats. While the $3,000 MGB or the $4,000 Alfa Spider are more to my taste, I’ve been smitten lately with Packards. As one friend joked, at this price, this is about a dollar a pound (a slight exaggeration). I hope this car is not restored, but is preserved. It’s a piece of rolling history.
T176 NO RESERVE 1994 Ford Mustang LX convertible, 68,077 miles. 5.0 V8, 5-speed manual, white, white top, red cloth interior, blac wall tires, luggage rack on deck. Paint could be original. Factory alloy wheels, no curb rash. One headlight is opaque. A 25-year-old survivor.
SOLD FOR $8,500- Lots of fun in a Fox-body V8 drop-top. A fair price in a quick and reliable car, AND it’s now AACA-eligible!
F471 1974 MGB-GT, 1.8L 4 cylinder, 4-speed manual. Odometer reads 46,143. Citron Green paint, black interior, seats have seat covers on them. Painted wire wheels, black wall tires. Rubber bumper car. Clean underhood. Outside relatively unmarked. Both door panels are wrinkled as if they had gotten wet. Car not modified, looks like it’s all there. Drilled holes and plugs in jambs from rustproofing treatment, “Rusty Jones” sticker verifies it.
SOLD FOR $8,500- Unusual color not to everyone’s taste, but a GT can swallow a weekend’s worth of luggage if you’re willing to give up top-down motoring. Some (including me) even prefer the looks of this over the roadster. This was no bargain, but the buyer didn’t overpay either. He got a good car that you can’t lose in a parking lot.
T116 1965 Chevy Corvair convertible, aqua, white top, black vinyl interior, odometer reads 55,260, sign on car claims that is original mileage. Fake wire wheel covers, whitewall tires. Driver’s door sagging and hitting jamb. Buckets, 4-speed manual, 110-hp engine. Fan belt sits correctly on this one.
SOLD FOR $9,000- Hopefully the door fit issue is an adjustment and not the beginning of a sagging body. Folding top and 4-speed make up for low output motor in a nice looking Corvair.
$10,500 TO $11,500 (6 CARS)
F418 1965 Ford Mustang, 2 door hardtop, white with white interior. Odo reads 03088, but windshield decal claims 24k original miles. 200 c.i. 6, 3-speed on floor, center console. Black rocker stripe not factory. Mediocre repaint, poor sealant job along windshield. White-on-white looks unusual. Driver’s seat worn, interior dirty, can of starting fluid on front floor not reassuring. Sign claims history as Southwest car, but other signs point to need to inspect undercarriage carefully.
SOLD FOR $10,500- While on the block, the auctioneer repeatedly referred to this as an “original 24,000 mile car”, yet I saw the odometer with my own eyes. I am beyond being able to rationalize the discrepancy. This actually happened once before at a Carlisle auction, when the screen’s mileage and the car’s mileage were wildly divergent. The auctioneer stopped the auction, wound it back to the top, and restarted. I hope whoever paid $10,500 for this car has a better understanding of the mileage situation than I do. NOTE: I now observe that this car is NOT on the results page of Carlisle Auction’s website. Was the deal voided?
T185 1994 Jaguar XJ-S convertible, 4.0L inline 6, automatic transmission. Dark red paint, tan top, tan leather interior, alloys, blackwall tires. Odometer is 35,000, sign claims original miles. Interior is so worn that it makes mileage claim hard to believe. Driver’s seat and door panel very worn. Another convertible parked with the top always down?
SOLD FOR $10,500- The restyled XJ-S cars like this one are an improvement over the originals, with their smoothed rear quarters and more legible instrument clusters. Like the later XK8s, these have been auction regulars too. The 6-cylinder engine has its fans among those who are put off by the complexities of 12 cylinders. The interior on this car was bothersome, but I guess it didn’t bother someone willing to spend $10,500 plus commission. I’ve seen nicer ones sell for less, but that was a few years ago.
T195 1980 Fiat Spider 2000. 2.0L inline 4, fuel injected, 5-speed manual. Red, tan top, tan vinyl interior (sign incorrectly claims it’s leather). I spoke with the seller, who recently bought the car from its original owner. Car has 20,000 original miles, and looks like a 3-year-old used car. Some swirl marks in the horizontal paint surfaces. Trunk lid got minor dent when it was shut onto something oversize. Overall, car is immaculate for a 1980 anything, much less a Fiat.
SOLD FOR $10,700- The seller, a flipper, must have stolen this from the original owner. Fiat Spiders aren’t overly valuable, but prices have crept up ever so slightly in recent years. I (wrongly) guessed there would be a reserve of around $12,000. Someone got a clean and desirable spider at a 20% discount.
T168 NO RESERVE 1972 Porsche 914, white, black targa top, black interior, repaint shows overspray in various spots. Interior is straight but spartan as all 914 interiors are. Engine is 1.7L as per online listing.
SOLD FOR $10,800- All Porsches are collectible; some are just more collectible than others. With 911s selling for $100,000+, and 356s (the more covered in dirt the better ) selling for $250,000+, what’s a poor person to do? Buy a 914, that’s what. Personally they’re nothing to look at (and white over black is as bland as it gets), but I’m told it’s like driving a go-kart on the street. Let’s hope this one gets driven.
T219 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350, automatic. Odometer reads 78,614. Dark silver metallic, black interior. Outside is OK. Underhood is unkempt. Heater hoses look so old they may have been transplanted from a 1953 Star Chief. Buckets, aftermarket gauges. CB radio in center console has been there almost as long as the heater hoses.
SOLD FOR $11,250- I looked at this car because a) it wasn’t a Camaro, and b) it’s the last year of the original nose introduced in 1970, and I like that look. Most of these cars have not survived. The car had a nasty rumble to it while underway, which had me suspect undisclosed engine or exhaust mods. A similar Camaro might have sold for twice this, so the buyer did well.
T223 1986 Pontiac Fiero GT, V6, automatic, red, grey velour interior, sunroof. 10,000 original miles, and it basically looks it. Factory alloys, Goodyear blackwall tires. Some driver’s seat wear. Car’s main claim to fame is low mileage.
SOLD FOR $11,500- Fieros are starting to gain some collector interest, but even with the ultra-low miles, this result surprised me for a car with an automatic. I had it pinned to sell for half this (shows you what I know).
$13,500 TO $15,500 (4 CARS)
F438 2006 Jaguar XKR supercharged coupe. V8, automatic. Light blue metallic, light cream interior. Jaguar alloy wheels, blackwall tires. Odometer reads 35k and the car looks it. Overall clean and straight. Headliner is not falling down, a known issue on these coupes. Cassette player in dash – who besides me still has cassettes?
SOLD FOR $13,500- The XK8 convertible-to-coupe sales ratio was about 10-to-1, so it’s rare to see any coupe, much less a supercharged one. I’m not a fan of this shade of blue, but the immaculate state of the interior absolved any other sins. This was a great price on a car that can serve as an alternative to domestic air travel. I can loan you the cassettes.
T171 2002 NO RESERVE Porsche Boxster, grey, black convertible top, black leather interior. Porsche alloys, blackwall tires. H6, five speed manual. First gen Boxster with “broken egg” headlights. Sign claims 33,000 original miles. Clean inside and out.
SOLD FOR $13,500- Sold during “No Reserve” hour, this price was slightly higher than I’ve seen other Boxsters sell for recently. In its favor, it was spotless and the mileage was unusually low. But was the IMS bearing done? 😉
F442 NO RESERVE 1956 VW Beetle, green, black interior. Odometer reads 72,452. 4-cyl, 4-speed. Mix of original and custom. Black fabric sunroof, roof-mounted luggage rack looks aftermarket but period-correct. Cheap looking alloys, blackwall tires. Oval rear window and small taillights which Beetle collectors love. Front and rear bumpers without traditional over-riders. Dashboard is non-original, with additional gauges on left and “1956 Oval” sign in center. Upholstery is decent.
SOLD FOR $14,500- Did they devalue the car with customized touches? It’s hard to say, as I’m not sure of the oval window market. On one hand, this seems like a lot of money for a Beetle, but on the other hand, the car was in great shape overall, and the worst of the custom touches (wheels, luggage rack) are easily reversed. Sold at no reserve, so the market decided.
T109 1963 MGB roadster, red, red convertible top, black upholstery with red piping. Painted wire wheels, knockoffs, blackwall tires. Chrome bumpers. Underhood is clean as is interior. “Bent” shifter as early MGB’s have. Sign claims original top- were they red in ’63?
SOLD FOR $15,500- This is an early “B” (first model year was 1962) and few have survived. Car was a very nice example overall, but I question the claim that the red top is original. I can’t recall ever seeing a factory red top on any B, and besides, it looked too good to be 56 years old. Despite the top controversy, this was a fair price for a well-preserved early B.
$20,000 TO $24,000 (4 CARS)
F503 1964 Chevy Corvair Monza Spider convertible, red, tan convertible top, tan interior. Turbocharged, 150 hp. 4-speed manual, power top, bucket seats, color coordinated interior. Whitewall tires, full wheel covers. Paint looks decent, obviously repainted. AM radio plus tissue dispenser. Odometer reads 04,339, so car has over 100k. Turbo proudly sits on top of H6.
SOLD FOR $20,500- While I much prefer the 2nd gen Corvair styling, this was a very attractive car. The red against the tan really popped. I can’t recall ever seeing a tan dash in this generation Corvair, but I’ll take the owner’s word for it that it’s factory. Let the haters hate, but I’ll state that you could spend $100,000 on “that” brand’s H6 turbo, or, get this H6 turbo for 1/5 the price. I know which I’d choose.
T202 1962 MGA roadster, red, tan top, tan interior, painted wire wheels. Odometer is 02,662, so presumption is that car has over 100,000 miles. Mark II model with revised tail light location. Sign states last year of MGA. Overall, a presentable and attractive car, albeit in an older restoration.
SOLD FOR $22,500- Perhaps MGA prices are down a bit, as I thought this car would bring closer to high 20’s or even $30k. A bit of a steal. Or this audience doesn’t care about MGs.
F544 1962 Ford T-Bird, convertible, red, black top, black vinyl interior. Wire wheels, whitewall tires, “roadster” tonneau cover. Chrome around side windows pitted. 390/auto. Odo reads 59,969 miles. Interior slightly tarnished and worn, but front seats look nicer than rest of interior, possible they were reupholstered. Aftermarket speakers added. Underhood is decent; silver painted valve covers.
SOLD FOR $23,250- It’s well-known among collectors that many of these T-Bird roadsters are fakes, which is to say, the car didn’t leave the factory with the tonneau cover. Real deals command a price premium of close to double the price of an ordinary T-Bird convertible. This car was nice, but was not a factory roadster. It sold for close to average retail for the model. A “real’ roadster might have brought $50,000.
T208 1967 Ford Mustang convertible, red, white top, black interior. 289 V8, C4 automatic. Wire wheel covers with white wall tires. Wheels painted red, which is odd touch. Restored to a visibly high standard. Not a deluxe Mustang interior, but what is there is clean and straight. Gauge cluster looks especially good. 91,342 miles on odometer.
SOLD FOR $24,000- Charming color combo, on what appears to be a recent restoration. 1967 is my favorite Mustang year, and I especially like the interiors. This one didn’t have the deluxe interior stuff (center console, fancy door panels, chrome-trimmed seats) but was clean and presented well. The price was not unexpected for such a nice car.
Fall Carlisle 2017, a combination automotive flea market, car corral, and auction, was held at the Carlisle Fairgrounds from September 27 through October 1.
As I strolled through the grounds, the same two questions repeated in my head: “Should someone get in while the getting is good?” Or, “Should we get out while there’s still a way out?”
These questions came up because many of us in the hobby are concerned about its future. It always comes back to “what will my old car be worth down the road?” The Carlisle events, principally Spring and Fall Carlisle, have been a wonderful barometer of the hobby for over 40 years. The car corral this year told a markedly different story: corral spaces were perhaps 60% taken (in the past, one usually had to wait for a car to sell for a spot to become available); yet among the cars on the premises, many seemed to have reasonable asking prices.
The flea market, on the other hand, was filled to capacity, with nary an open space to be found. Vendors were out in force, even if the crowd on the picture-perfect Friday when I attended was a bit lighter than I would have expected.
I began my morning in the car corral, then after a gourmet lunch under the grandstand, walked a few of the flea market aisles. By 3pm, I was headed across the street to the Expo Center where the Fall 2017 version of Carlisle Auctions was underway. Here we saw the hobby flexing its muscles. The auction has expanded to three days from its previous two; most of the bidders’ seats were taken; and the bidding, while not exceptional, seemed to hold to about a 60-70% sell-through rate. Perhaps, rather than deal with tire kickers in the corral, sellers are rolling the dice on the auction block.
The photo coverage below is divided into two sections. First, we feature car corral choices with asking prices below 10 grand. If you’ve got some bucks burning a hole in your pocket, or are open-minded enough to be flexible about a first (or additional) collector car, there were plenty to choose from.
Our second section is entitled “Carlisle Auction re-runs”. This is an arbitrary list of vehicles which did not meet reserve. To the credit of the folks who run the show, the high bids are posted on the windshields in plain sight. I sometimes think that going back and trying to negotiate a price AFTER the car has crossed the block might be a better strategy, as it removes the pressure of bidding while the auctioneer is yammering in your ear at 110 decibels.
In both cases, no editorial comment about vehicle condition or value relative to the asking/bid price is supplied. As always, caveat emptor(which is Latin for “collector cars may be worth more or less than what you pay for them”).
CAR CORRAL: UNDER $10,000 EDITION
1988 Mercedes Benz 560 SL roadster, asking $7,000:
1976 Triumph Spitfire, asking $5,500:
1995 Pontiac Trans Am, asking $8,900:
2003 Toyota Tacoma pickup, asking $9,500:
1987 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, asking $5,400:
1976 Olds Cutlass coupe, asking $9,000:
1985 Nissan 300ZX 2+2 coupe, asking $7,950:
1977 MGB, asking $8,500:
1995 Pontiac Firebird convertible, asking $5,800:
1995 Chevrolet Camaro, asking $6,500:
1978 Ford Thunderbird, asking $9,500:
2002 BMW 330Ci convertible, asking $5,995:
1996 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, asking $6,995:
The most attractive and unusual car in the corral (to me) was this 1974 Fiat 128, claimed to have 12,000 original miles (and it looked it):
CARLISLE AUCTION RE-RUNS
1969 MGB-GT, no sale at high bid of $6,750:
1939 La Salle, no sale at high bid of $14,000:
1964 Chevrolet Corvair convertible, no sale at high bid of $5,700:
1988 BMW M3, no sale at high bid of $41,000:
1961 Sunbeam Alpine (Tiger ‘conversion’), no sale at high bid of $4,500:
Who needs a cell phone to double as a key? Just carry a screwdriver…
1991 Ford Mustang convertible, no sale at high bid of $7,250:
1979 Chevrolet Corvette, no sale at high bid of $10,000:
1969 Chevrolet El Camino, no sale at high bid of $12,000:
1966 Ford Mustang coupe, no sale at high bid of $11,000:
1964 Chevrolet El Camino, no sale at high bid of $16,000:
There is no new material to add to the blog this week. On Friday, I intend to make a one-day visit to Fall Carlisle, and next week is automotive Mecca: 3 days at Fall Hershey. Expect to see full reports here.
In the interim, here’s a blast from the past: one of my very first auction reports. It is interesting to look back at what has changed (and what hasn’t) in the hobby from just two and a half years ago.
Also, for those readers who are relatively new to the blog, this is something you may have missed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?