OCTOBER 6, 2012: AUCTION ACTION—FOUR CARS THAT WOULD GET YOU IN THE GAME WITHOUT AN ARM AND LEG BUY-IN

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Auctions can be a bigger gamble than a blackjack table at Vegas—old car auctions are a bigger gamble but I watched these cars get hammered down at a recent event for what looked like bargain prices.

 

Most car guys are well aware of the tremendous costs associated with car projects.

 

Costs like blood, sweat, tears, pounds of flesh, time and copious amounts of money. You don’t need that.

 

Here are four well-bought cars that would get you instant credibility in the world of old iron.

 

The first one was a convertible and this immediately flies on the face of the old adage “roof goes down price goes up” for old cars. The car was a 1967 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible. This was bright yellow 289 automatic and it looked like a 2 to a 1.5 car. That means it was above average. This Fairlane ran great and it looked really clean–the car sold for $6500. The average list is $13,000 and they top out at $20,000.

 

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What really matters is this—you get into the game with a clean, basic, simple, comfortable, relatively rare car for less than half the entry-level cost. You’ll be a welcome guest at every Ford show on the planet plus you’d have a fun summer car for 6500 bucks.

 

The next car was a lot bigger. This was a survivor 1977 Lincoln two-door hardtop and it definitely embraced the ‘bigger is better’ theme at Ford. This car was extremely well maintained and it sold for $2000. It needed some care and attention but it was an estate car from Arizona so rust was not an issue. The best part about this big brute was that you could roll down the highway in air-conditioned, living room style comfort to any Ford show and have a great shot at Best in Class.

 

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These Lincolns range from 9000-21,000 in average to above average retail so the thousands saved in purchase price could handle the extra fuel budget.

 

There was another luxury barge sold and it was even more rare. This was a survivor, 42,000 mile, mint condition 1967 Cadillac Eldorado. These cars were seldom seen in 1967 so a sighting in 2012 is an event of Halley’s Comet proportions. This Eldo was clearly babied since new—it looked good enough to park on the showroom floor of an upscale GM dealer and it sold for $5400.00.

 

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The ’67 Eldorado would be another statement car at any GM show because if it lost in ‘Best of Class’ the contest would clearly be fixed. Plus this would be another big ride that would make a trip to the car show a comfortable, couch-like experience. These Eldos range in retail from $11,800 to $16,100 – this one would have been on the high side of that scale so turn the key and hit the highway for less than half price.

 

The last car was one that appealed to me on a gut level. It was a 1966 Chevy Impala four-door sedan and on the surface, it looked like somebody put Grandpa’s old Chevy in a vacuum-sealed environment. This was the ultimate sleeper because there was a 454 big block under Grandpa’s hood. This was a monster in sheep’s clothing and the changes were subtle-it had fatter rubber and dog dish wheels. That gave a miniscule hint that this wasn’t a stock Impala.

 

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The beauty of this Impala sedan was in its simplicity. This was a vanilla car with fire in its belly – the perfect ambush car.

 

The Chevy 4-door sold for $9900 and it was worth every penny because a stock ‘66 Impala sedan retails for 10-15,000 dollars. This Frankenstein with a good PR agent was clearly a good buy.

 

Bear in mind that caveat emptor (buyer beware) never applies more than an auction scenario.

 

Based on what I saw get marked ‘sold’ at this auction there’s room for affordable, turnkey fun in the hobby.

 

Jerry Sutherland

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