Fall Carlisle Report, September 2017

Fall Carlisle 2017, a combination automotive flea market, car corral, and auction, was held at the Carlisle Fairgrounds from September 27 through October 1.

From here, it looks like business as usual

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.

In 39 years of attending Carlisle, I’ve never seen the car corral look like this

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.

We joke, but some of the lunch offerings aren’t bad

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 queue headed into the Expo Center

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:

 

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