Feature Car: 1968 Datsun 1600 Roadster
Sold At $50,600
SN SPL31117895. Silver gray metallic with red top over red vinyl interior. 96-hp, 1595-cc four-cylinder; five-speed manual transmission. Excellent paint and replated chrome. Very good interior. Fully detailed engine compartment.
The Story Behind The Sale
Datsun’s history in the U.S. starts in 1958, when it imported four-door sedans. The brand sold a whopping fifty-two cars in its first year here. By the late 1960s, however, Datsun had hit its stride, selling sedans, wagons, and pickups alongside two roadsters -- the 1600 and the more powerful 2000. In 1968, a 1600 would set you back $2766. Its major competitors were European sports cars such as the similarly priced MGB. The Datsun roadsters were called the Fairlady in Japan, where the name was later applied to the Datsun/Nissan Z-car.
The last time you saw a 1600 this nice was likely at a Datsun dealer in 1968. This 1600 roadster has been completely restored in meticulous detail and sold at a record price at auction. Cute cars usually do well at auction; when finished to this level, they’re very difficult to resist.
Best Buy: 1957 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia coupe
Sold At $35,200
SN 1472693. Trout blue over blue vinyl. 36-hp, 1192-cc flat-four; four-speed manual. Very good to excellent paint; excellent brightwork. Mechanical rebuild of the engine, transaxle, suspension, steering, and brakes. Updated electrical system is now twelve-volt. Just 100 miles have been accumulated since completion of comprehensive restoration.
Early Karmann Ghias are now referred to as “low light” examples; this has to do with the placement of its headlights and not its six-volt battery. For those who are priced out of Porsche 356s and almost everything else from Germany, a Karmann Ghia offers great style for a fraction of the price. Had this one gone for $20,000 more, it wouldn’t have been surprising; it was that nice.
1966 Jaguar E-Type coupe
Sold At $73,700
SN 1E33015. Red over black leather. 265-hp, 4.2-liter in-line six; four-speed manual. 59,867 miles on the odometer. Mismatched paint, plus a poorly repaired paint chip below rear hatch opening. Good glass, better chrome. Some of the gaskets have perished. Good chrome wire wheels. Original-style interior with good seats, steering wheel, console, and dash. Original Blaupunkt radio.
This Jag is a two-owner, matching-numbers example. It’s a driver, however, not a show queen. The price paid seems high for the condition, but the way Jaguar sales are going, the buyer might have simply paid 2016’s price a bit early.
1974 Ferrari Dino 246GTS
Sold At $341,000
SN 08070. Viola metallizzato over black leather. 195-hp, 2418-cc V-6; five-speed manual. Equipped with air-conditioning. Excellent respray in the factory purple color. Excellent chrome. Very good reupholstered seats; “mouse fur” dash has been resurfaced.
Cheers to the seller who had the gumption to return this car to its original color and not take the easy route by painting it red, yellow, or black. This is one of the final Dinos built, and authenticity will count even more in the future. Note: no actual mice were harmed in the restoration of this Dino—“mouse fur” is just a term used for the slightly fuzzy fabric on the dashboards of many Ferraris of the era.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette convertible
Sold At $126,500
SN 194676S109182. Mosport green with matching hard top over green vinyl. 425-hp, 427-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Equipped with power steering—rare in combination with the L72 engine. Very good paint, trim, and chrome wheels. Good interior appears original.
Trying to decide what model year of the C2 Corvette is the best is like choosing between vanilla and chocolate—it’s all about personal preference. A lot of in-the-know buyers prefer the ’66 to the ’67, and the one-year-only Mosport green color is a bonus. This nicely optioned example ticks most of the boxes you would want on a big-block car. This 427 roadster will provide plenty of pleasure along with plenty of power. Well bought.
1974 Iso Grifo
Sold At $440,000
SN 250223. Red over biscuit leather. 400-hp, 7.0-liter V-8; six-speed manual. Excellent paint and brightwork. Excellent interior appears as new.
At auction, cars sometimes sell for less than the preauction estimate, and sometimes they sell for more than the preauction estimate. It’s very rare, however, that a car changes hands at a figure higher than the low estimate ($185,000 in this case) and the high estimate ($250,000) added together. That’s what happened here, and this extremely well-presented, tastefully upgraded, last-of-its-kind example was a worthy recipient. It’s been a long time since Iso built cars, but the brand’s stock in the classic-car world keeps increasing.
1959 Ford Galaxie Skyliner
Sold At $66,000
SN B9KW107468. Indian turquoise and colonial white with Indian turquoise hard top over turquoise-and-white vinyl. 225-hp, 332-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Power steering, power brakes, power windows, deluxe trim, tinted glass, and a Continental kit. Paint is excellent, as is the plentiful chrome. Interior appears as new. Engine compartment looks as good as the day the car left the factory.
You can imagine how complicated the retractable-hard-top mechanism on this car can be, as it was built long before computers controlled such features. This outstanding Skyliner is ready for a day at the beach after a day on the show field.
1971 Mini Moke
Sold At $49,500
SN 884629. Dark blue over red vinyl. 55-hp, 998-cc four-cylinder; four-speed manual. Paint, brightwork, and interior are all excellent. Restoration performed by Brumos Porsche of Jacksonville, Florida.
The Mini Moke is an evolution of the Austin Mini and represents motoring in one of its most basic forms. It’s perfect for the beach or for zipping around the paddock at a racetrack, with easy access for you and three friends. This extremely well-turned-out Moke has been reworked in every way, and the colors look better in person than in photographs. Expensive for a Moke but likely one of the best in existence.
1953 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Fiesta
Sold At $181,500
SN 539M2660. Cadet blue and Acacia blue with dark blue top over matching leather. 170-hp, 304-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Equipped with power steering, power brakes, power windows, and a power seat. Very good paint and chrome. Interior is very good with only minimal wear.
The Fiesta featured prominently in General Motors’ 1953 Motorama alongside two other show-car-based, limited-production convertibles, the Cadillac Eldorado and the Buick Skylark. With just 458 Fiestas built in 1953, it’s the hardest of the three to find. This car, although not perfect, sold right where it should have, despite going for more than $20,000 beyond the high estimate.
1972 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona coupe
Sold At $770,000
SN 15741. Rosso Bordeaux over black leather. 352-hp, 4390-cc V-12; five-speed manual. Paint is very good to excellent. The minimal brightwork is excellent as well. Very nice interior. Fewer than 11,000 miles on the odometer. Excellent and quite original throughout.
For a while, Daytona prices were almost a bellwether of the market, they would go up and down with great regularity. Recently, the only direction prices have been going is up. This very nicely presented example had something rarely seen: the correct gloss to the interior leather. The current trend with automotive leather in restorations is toward a matte (dull) finish, which looks great but is usually not correct on ’60s and ’70s cars. A market correct price.
1971 BMW 2002 Cabriolet
Sold At $68,200
SN 2790141. Granada red with black top over black vinyl. 100-hp, 1990-cc four-cylinder; four-speed manual. Excellent paint, very good brightwork. Very good seats with no visible tears or worn spots.
For the first six months of 1971, German coachbuilder Baur converted 200 BMW 2002s when the cars were new to what is referred to as full cabriolet form; Baur also made a much larger number of targa-topped examples (about 2300). Selling for more than its high estimate, this is one of those buy-it-when-you-find-it cars. Your next chance to purchase one might be years in the future.
1960 Rolls-Royce Phantom V limousine
Sold At $99,000
SN 5LAT12. Blue over gray leather front seat and gray cloth in the passenger’s compartment. 220-hp, 380-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Paint is good but shows its age. Mostly good brightwork. Some outside seals and gaskets are weathered and failing. Door fit is an issue. Good interior.
More of a restoration candidate or a wedding car, this Phantom V would need some expensive and extensive restoration work to make it into a show car. But this Rolls-Royce is worth the effort to make its appearance regal again.
1986 Lamborghini Countach 5000 Quattrovalvole
Sold At $319,000
SN ZA9C005A0FLA12887. Red over tan leather. 5167-cc V-12; five-speed manual. Odometer shows 9000 kilometers. Freshly restored with excellent paint, interior, and trim.
For those trying to wrap their head around a 9000-kilometer car that was restored, this one did look very much as new in just about every place you look. Selling just shy of its low estimate, this is still very big money for a 5000 Quattrovalvole. This is a good sign that prices are on the move.
1955 Volkswagen Beetle cabriolet
Sold At $82,500
SN 10908325. Mittelblau metallic with black top over light blue leather. 36-hp, 1192-cc flat-four; four-speed manual. Excellent paint and trim. Interior is better than new.
Treated to a high-quality professional restoration, this car was also highly accessorized, with a radio, dash clock, bud vase, bolster pillows, love-’em-or-hate-’em fender skirts, and more. The best always cost more than the rest, and this example rang the bell at its sale price. Duplicating this effort would cost more, so—even at this high price—let’s call it well bought.