Despite predictions that the classic-car world would start out slowly in 2014, the auctions in Scottsdale and Phoenix were anything but sluggish. The Barrett-Jackson event was held in an improved facility at WestWorld, and it seems as if the additional space the auction company took on was a good luck charm, as this year saw very strong sales results. Bonhams also turned in excellent results; this was its best year to date. In fact, no complaints could be heard from any of the auction companies, as they all started 2014 with a bang. Not only were sales up in monetary terms, the number of cars crossing the auction block increased, too. Private buyers and sellers as well as dealers were actively participating. Although 2013 was no slouch, it looks like 2014 is going to be another one for the record books, if the first big sales of the new year are any indicator.
Keep in mind that even in record-setting years, there will always be cars that sell for dollar amounts well above and below where you might expect them. As any seasoned auction veteran will tell you, that’s a big part of the excitement.
1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe
Sold At $3,850,000
SN 194377S115791. Rally red with black hood stripe over red vinyl interior. 430-hp, 427-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual transmission. Factory equipped with L88-code engine, which includes aluminum cylinder heads, a high-lift camshaft, and reinforced internals, as well as a transistor ignition, Positraction, and heavy-duty suspension and power brakes. No radio or heater. In 2001, this car won the Duntov Mark of Excellence Award, described as the ultimate accolade for Corvette restoration or preservation, given by the National Corvette Restorers Society. Excellent overall condition.
The ultimate of the C2 Stingrays, which were produced between 1963 and 1967, the L88 is essentially a race car with almost no comfort options. Only twenty were ever built. Chevrolet actively discouraged orders from dealers for this performance option code, which was really intended for competition. General Motors intentionally underrated the L88 at 430 hp; independent dynamometer tests showed closer to 560 hp. A 1967 L88 is a holy grail among Corvette collectors. With this car’s requisite NCRS and Bloomington Gold awards and documentation, it is among the best extant. As such, it achieved a new record price for a Corvette at auction.
1971 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible
Sold At $84,700
SN 344671M181171. Saturn gold with white top over white pearl vinyl. 350-hp, 455-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Equipped with the W-30 performance option, air-conditioning, tilt steering column, sport steering wheel, rally gauges, and an AM/FM radio with an eight-track player, as well as power windows, top, and steering. Restored to concours condition.
This is one of 110 W-30 convertibles produced in 1971. The W-30 package included special trim, front disc brakes, red plastic front fender wells, and a fiberglass hood with functional scoops in addition to a blueprinted engine with an aluminum intake manifold, a low-restriction air filter, a special camshaft, and a performance carburetor. Very well bought.
1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder SL
Sold At $13,750
SN JA3AV65J1SY819757. Caracas red over graphite gray leather. 222-hp, 3.0-liter V-6; automatic. Retractable hard top. Very good paint; good trim. Mildly worn leather and carpeting. Said to be a one-owner California car since new.
Records show that just 1618 3000GT Spyders were built in two years, 1995 and 1996. The SL model—the base Spyder—included an automatic transmission, electronically adjustable dampers, antilock brakes, power seats, and other luxury goodies, but it lacked the high-line VR-4’s turbocharged, all-wheel-drive powertrain. Many see this Japanese sports car as collectible today with the potential for a good bit of future appreciation. A savvy buy.
1987 Alfa Romeo Spider Quadrifoglio
Sold At $13,200
SN ZARBA5561H1052491. Black with black top over gray leather and red carpeting. 115-hp, 1962-cc four-cylinder; five-speed manual. Removable hard top, power windows and mirrors, as well as original spare tire, service manuals, jack, and tool kit. Superb paint and trim. Very clean interior with only minimal wear. Engine compartment is better than tidy: it’s close to immaculate.
An Alfa Spider this nice should have brought a lot more money. This would make an excellent summertime cruiser and could be a local or regional show contender. This is a car that will be worth more when the new owner goes to sell it. A good buy.
1951 Crosley Super Convertible
Sold At $15,400
SN VC30513. Red with black top over red vinyl. Upgraded 44-cubic-inch four-cylinder; three-speed manual. Excellent paint. Brightwork appears fresh. Excellent interior. A fully and recently restored example that was an Arizona car from new.
During its restoration, this car was repowered with a Crofton engine (Crofton Marine Engine Company bought the rights to the Crosley powerplant a few years after Crosley ceased automotive operations in 1952). It’s evident that more money was spent on this restoration than was recovered in the sale.
1963 Chevrolet Corvair Greenbrier Camper
Sold At $16,500
SN 3R126S114184. Turquoise and white over turquoise, black, and white vinyl. 80-hp, 145-cubic-inch flat six; automatic. Very good paint, but the rubber gaskets and some other trim is weak. Good chrome and stainless. Interior appears mostly original and is generally good; one very obvious three-inch tear in the rear seat brings the overall condition down a notch.
Corvairs were always cool—it’s just that nobody outside of the die-hard owners’ clubs much cared. The rear-engine wonder came in the usual coupe, sedan, wagon, and convertible body styles, as well as a pickup truck and a van. The vans and pickups aren’t impossible to find, but examples as nice as this are rare.
1952 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe Two-door Hardtop
Sold At $22,000
SN 1KKF51928. Bittersweet with Sahara beige roof over bittersweet and Sahara beige vinyl. 105-hp, 235-cubic-inch in-line six; automatic. Indicated mileage is less than 64,000 and claimed to be original. Fair paint with plenty of visible flaws such as cracking and other age-related problems. Trim is a bit better than the paint, but scratches and light corrosion appear in some places. Interior shows well, with good vinyl seats and a good dash.
We can start with a theory that this model is rarely seen at auction and add the fact that the colors are appealing for a 1950s ride. What is tough to account for is the price paid given the cosmetic condition. This was close to full price for a restored example.
1929 Stutz Model M Monte Carlo Sedan
Sold At $264,000
SN M854CD223. Red and black over tan cloth interior. 113-hp, 322-cubic-inch straight eight; four-speed manual transmission. Restored about twenty years ago. Good paint; “fabric” body by Weymann is in good to very good shape. Brightwork is complete and looks good despite age wear. Interior is also unmarred despite the age of the restoration.
Stutz was a brand known for both luxury and performance, with an emphasis on performance. In 1927, the Stutz Black Hawk won plenty of American stock-car races. The next year at Le Mans, Stutz came in second overall; the first-place car was a fabric-bodied Bentley. Fabric body?! Well, not really—the bodies were referred to as fabric because of the vinyl-like material used in place of steel or other metals over a wooden frame. Advantages of fabric included light weight and the elimination of the squeaks and rattles often associated with coachbuilt cars. First used in early aircraft construction, fabric skins were a trend in automobiles—mostly in Europe and led by coachbuilder Weymann—for about ten years in the mid-to-late ’20s and early ’30s. Fabric used as a structural component on the exterior of cars? What could possibly go wrong?
1960 Austin-Healey Sprite
Sold At $26,400
SN AN5L31663. Cream white over black leather. 85-hp (est.), 1275-cc supercharged four-cylinder; four-speed manual. Minilite-style wheels. Better than new paint; very good chrome. Excellent interior with sport steering wheel and retro-look, white-faced Smiths gauges.
If you were looking for a car in original condition, this wasn’t the one for you; this tastefully done BritRod was built for both show and go. Someone spent plenty of money on the restoration, and the upgrades cost a pretty penny, as well. Given the money invested, this bugeye Sprite was a very reasonable buy for the new owner.
2008 Ford Mustang Bullitt
Sold At $49,500
SN 1ZVHT82H485157442. Highland green over black leather. 315-hp, 4.6-liter V-8; five-speed manual. Less than 1400 original miles. Excellent paint and trim. It’s no surprise that the interior still appears new. Previously owned by Steve McQueen’s son Chad, who consulted with Ford on the Bullitt program.
This was the first “Bullitt” Mustang out of 6624 total built in 2008 and ’09. Steve McQueen starred in the movie Bullitt, which car guys remember for the famous chase scene in which McQueen drove a dark green ’68 Mustang. This was a little more than twice what you’d pay for a regular production Bullitt with a lot more miles.
1988 Ferrari 328GTB
Sold At $82,500
SN ZFFXA19A9J0078714. Rosso corsa over biscuit leather. 270-hp, 3186-cc V-8; five-speed manual. Just over 7000 miles from new. The all-important major belt service was recently completed. Excellent paintwork. Interior shows very well—the seats, carpeting, console, and dash look almost new, seeming to confirm the indicated miles.
In a market where nearly everything with a Ferrari badge sells, it’s hard to tell the ones that are considered up-and-comers from the cars that are possibly approaching their value peak. For “affordable” Ferraris, there’s currently a buzz surrounding the 328s. If your Italian-built crystal ball agrees, it would be hard to find one better than this prime example.
1990 Ferrari Testarossa
Sold At $89,100
SN ZFFSG17A1L0087096. Red over biscuit leather. 380-hp, 4943-cc flat twelve; five-speed manual. Less than 6400 miles from new. Excellent paint and trim. Very good interior with no peeling or shrinking on the console or dash, a common problem in these cars, especially after lots of sun exposure. Tidy engine compartment. A stand-up example overall.
Ferrari sold lots of Testarossas. They were so popular there was a time, when new, that they sold for well over their six-figure sticker price. Some now consider the Testarossa’s styling to be dated, but today’s dated look often becomes tomorrow’s retro chic.
Gooding & Company
1952 Cunningham C-3 Coupe
Sold At $550,000
SN 5210. Metallic blue and metallic gray over gray leather interior. 220-hp, 331-cubic-inch V-8; semiautomatic transmission. Chrysler powertrain. Very good paint, chrome, and trim. Very good interior with only minimal wear. This multiple-award-winning Cunningham was sold with two extra sets of period-style tires plus an original-style pair of bumpers, including brackets, should the new owner desire to return the car to its original appearance.
Cunningham cars were built by Briggs Cunningham, a racer and sportsman who won sailing’s America’s Cup and raced successfully at Le Mans. Cunningham’s automobile-manufacturing venture created cars that had a distinctive blend of American drivetrains and Italian coachwork. The C-3 was Cunningham’s first and only attempt at building a fully streetable automobile; all other Cunninghams were intended for track use. The high cost of producing a luxury automobile in small quantities led to the C-3’s demise. In total, twenty-three C-3 Cunninghams were produced: nineteen coupes and four convertibles. A bit of a bargain, this car will provide the new owner opportunities for both touring events and concours shows.
1961 Ferrari 250GT Coupe Speciale
Sold At $2,365,000
SN 2821GT. Pale metallic blue over blue leather. 240-hp, 2953-cc V-12; four-speed manual. Exceptional paint; very good to excellent chrome. Excellent interior—leather shows minimal wear. A very well-restored example.
An unusual combination of design elements from two recognizable Pininfarina Ferraris—the 250GTE and the Superamerica—is exhibited in this one-off from the same carrozzeria. Like peanut butter and chocolate, this one works fine, and the market clearly agrees. There are more than a few coachbuilt Ferraris that have not aged nearly as gracefully as this example.
1971 Alfa Romeo Montreal
Sold At $176,000
SN AR1425803. Red over black cloth and vinyl. 200-hp, 2593-cc V-8; five-speed manual. Well-done paint and trim. Brightwork is both complete and very good. Interior shows only light use wear. A very well-cared-for car.
Introduced at the Expo67 world’s fair in Montreal as a concept car in—yes—1967, the Alfa Romeo Montreal didn’t reach production until 1970. The model was never officially imported to the United States, although quite a few now live stateside. Few if any are better than this low-mileage and very original example. This is the highest price ever achieved at auction for a Montreal.
1967 Ferrari 330GTS
Sold At $2,062,500
SN 9343. Celeste blue with black top over dark red leather. 300-hp, 3967-cc V-12; five-speed manual. The fifth of about 100 examples built. An unrestored barn find with less than 23,000 miles. Fire damage under the hood, cracked windshield. Paint might be good under the soot and dirt. Bad chrome, worse trim. Inside shows some threadbare carpeting and a few missing gauges.
The good news is that it comes with a new windshield. The bad news . . . well, take a look. Barn finds and the current craze for unrestored original cars come together here. Put in storage after very little use (and a small fire in the engine compartment), this is no pristine, turnkey-ready survivor. Rumor has it that the new owner plans to mechanically revive the car and drive it as is. Does WTF really stand for Why This Ferrari?
1952 Hudson Wasp Brougham coupe
Sold At $41,800
SN 185772. Boston ivory with black roof over tan cord-weave cloth. 127-hp, 262-cubic-inch in-line six; three-speed manual. Very good paint and chrome. Very good upholstery, said to be original.
Hudsons are hot, and a big reason is Doc Hudson, the Paul Newman–voiced character from the movie Cars. It’s not often that pop culture intersects with old cars, but when it does, the results can be fun. This car has Twin H-Power, a two-carb setup that increases horsepower. This option is rare on a Wasp; it’s more often found on the bigger-displacement Hornet. Pricey, but the new owner has a great example that retains much of its originality.
Russo and Steele
1999 Acura NSX Alex Zanardi Edition
Sold At $73,830
SN JH4NA2128XT000155. Formula red over black suede interior. 290-hp, 3.2-liter V-6; six-speed manual transmission. Less than 34,000 miles. Very good to excellent paint. Engine compartment is tidy and very well detailed.
This NSX is an Alex Zanardi Edition, one of fifty built exclusively for the U.S. market, each with its own numbered plaque. This is number 28. (Many sources state that fifty-one were built, including the one given to Zanardi, which apparently has a European VIN.) Italian-born Zanardi won back-to-back CART championships in 1997 and 1998 in Honda/Acura-powered cars. He was involved in an accident in 2001 at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in which he lost both legs. A true competitor, he returned to car racing within two years. Zanardi is also a competitive handbiking racer, a form of paralympic cycling. He won gold at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. As far as this car is concerned: if you think it sounds pricey, it’s time to think again. Lots of well-heeled collectors are sniffing around the Acura NSX, as it is thought of as an up-and-coming collectible and is one of the finest sports cars of its era.
1961 Lincoln Continental Sedan
Sold At $17,150
SN 1Y82H421850. Rose over black leather. 300-hp, 430-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Air-conditioning. Excellent paint and chrome. Interior shows as new. Very nice under the hood. A California car.
It’s not hard to find a “Kennedy Era” Lincoln convertible that has been redone to this kind of condition, but seeing a sedan in this restored shape was a real treat. With an understated, classic style, the Lincoln Continental broke the mold of 1950s American design. This example was well bought—it would be almost impossible to find another Continental sedan this nice at this price.
1964 Ford Falcon Futura Convertible
Sold At $11,678
SN 4H12F2145164. Bright red with white top over red vinyl. 164-hp, 260-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Good paint and brightwork. Nice bucket seats and center console, good carpeting and dash. Said to have been in storage for the last ten years, this is no show winner but is easily a decent driver.
The Ford Falcon is thought by many to be nothing more than the platform from which the Mustang was created. However, the Falcon was a versatile compact car that was sold as a two-door, a four-door, a convertible, and a wagon, plus the Ranchero pickup. This car sold at a wholesale price. When the weather warms up and the top goes down, the new owner will have money in the bank.
1970 Cord SAMCO Royale
Sold At $9350
SN 049W230C. Cream with black top over tan cloth. 350-hp, 440-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Chrysler powertrain. Paint is only fair, with plenty of chips and at least one large crack. Chrome is also weak, with scratches and some rust. Interior shows some wear, and the wood dash could stand to be refinished.
SAMCO, based out of Tulsa, was the second Oklahoma company to revive the 1930s Cord 810/812 in the 1960s, the first being a downsized, Corvair-powered effort. The SAMCO version, unlike the original and the other Sooner remake, had exposed headlamps and was rear-wheel drive. The price achieved here seems fair for the condition.
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Convertible
Sold At $297,000
SN 11102712002687. Tobacco brown with brown top over saddle leather interior. 230-hp, 3499-cc V-8; automatic transmission. Factory A/C, power windows. One of 1232 cabriolets made. Recent ground-up restoration. Excellent all around with nearly flawless paint and chrome, great glass and trim. Inside is as nice as the outside, with excellent leather, console, wood, and carpeting. Dash appears as new, with excellent trim and gauges.
Powerful and expensive, these Mercedes convertibles were not built for the crowd that was concerned about price. In fact, for its $14,509 list price in 1971, you could almost buy two new Cadillac Eldorado convertibles ($7751) instead. With a 0-to-60-mph time of nine seconds, this Mercedes was quick for a big car of its day. Mercedes sold a six-cylinder car in essentially the same body shell; the V-8 gives a 25 percent advantage in power versus the six. This model has become the focus of collections worldwide despite being only forty-odd years old. The combination of desirable and rare when new combined with a pleasing body style, a top that goes down, and a premium brand is the formula for collector immortality.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS Convertible Indianapolis 500 Pace Car
Sold At $52,250
SN 124679N622070. Dover white with orange stripes and white top over black and orange houndstooth cloth and vinyl. Modified 454-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Original 396-cubic-inch engine included with sale. Weak paint with some cracks. Convertible top has a few tears and is coming unglued. Brightwork is a mixed bag, and the interior shows both age and use wear. A driver at best.
Had this been in show condition, the price could have doubled. That leaves a lot of room for the new owner if he chooses to undertake a restoration. Still, it’s best to look for a better example . . . or just drive the wheels off this one.
1967 Maserati Ghibli Coupe
Sold At $170,500
SN AM115062. Red over tan and black leather. 335-hp, 4.9-liter V-8; five-speed manual. Air-conditioning. Excellent paint and trim. Chrome and stainless is also top-notch. Very clean under the hood. Interior presents well. A clean example of an early Ghibli.
The catalog states that this Ghibli was upgraded to Ghibli SS specs; the SS wasn’t introduced in the coupe or the convertible until a few years later. Ghibli SS cars had 4.9-liter V-8s with a longer stroke than the higher-revving 4.7-liter that was original to this car. The subject of a six-year restoration, this Maserati has excellent eyeball appeal and sold very well.
1966 Ferrari 330GT 2+2
Sold At $308,000
SN 8251. Argento metallic over nero leather with red carpeting. 300-hp, 3967-cc V-12; five-speed manual. Power windows, Blaupunkt radio. Recent $120,000 mechanical restoration by Motion Products in Wisconsin. Lots of chips and problem spots in the paint. Good brightwork. Nice interior appears mostly original, has a few worn areas.
With the engine all sorted, the expensive bits are likely behind the new owner. The series-two 330GT carries two headlights; first-series cars had two headlights per side and are generally found for less money. This was another big-money car, surprisingly so considering its exterior flaws.
1961 Bentley S2 Continental Flying Spur
Sold At $297,000
SN BC102LAR. British racing green over tan leather with green carpeting. 200-hp (est.), 6230-cc V-8; automatic. One of 126 Continental S2 Flying Spurs with Mulliner coachwork; just fifty-four were left-hand-drive examples like this one. Superb paint and trim. Brightwork is excellent as well. Interior is very well done with excellent leather, wood, and carpeting. Actor Gregory Peck was a former owner.
The H. J. Mulliner Flying Spur design has aged well. A standard Bentley S2 sedan might sell for $70,000 in fantastic condition, so you can see the premium that this design commands. Let’s call this a correct price for this car’s outstanding condition.