1. 1979 Triumph Spitfire 1500
SOLD AT $5500
SN FM100144UC. Orange over black vinyl interior. 1493-cc four-cylinder; four-speed manual transmission. 64,000 miles. Factory hard top. Decent paint, good brightwork. Most trim is old and tired but complete. Original interior with weak door panels and decent seats.
You would think that after all these years the Triumph Spitfire could catch a break. Instead, it’s the Rodney Dangerfield of British sports cars. While TRs 2, 3, 4, and 6 are feeling the love, the Spitfire still struggles. This one was worth the bid achieved here and a bit more. Its distinctive orange color at least makes it look like it could go fast — or act as a safety cone.
2. 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale coupe Indianapolis 500 pace car
SOLD AT $17,600
SN 3N37K7M348037. Silver and black over red cloth and vinyl. 403-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Fewer than 550 miles from new. Factory paint. Brightwork and graphics are as new. Partial window sticker still in place. Said to have been stored inside and had the fluids changed regularly.
At almost any good-size auction, you’ll see at least one or two cars that have been put away since they were new. As a new car, this was cheap; as a 1977 Oldsmobile, it’s a lot of money. Probably a good value for someone who wants a toy to baby and occasionally take to shows.
3. 1969 Ford Torino Cobra hardtop
SOLD AT $44,000
SN 9A45R156180. Red with black vinyl top over black vinyl. 428-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Optional drag pack. Nice paint and brightwork. Bench-seat interior looks original and
is in good shape.
Per the Marti Report, this is one of 399 Torinos with a 428 Super Cobra Jet engine, drag pack, and four-speed manual — your basic go-fast combination. It’s surprising that these Fairlanes from the muscle car era don’t bring more, but this is a market-correct price.
4. 1986 Porsche 959 prototype
SOLD AT $440,000
SN WPOZZZ93ZFS010067. White over oxblood cloth and leather. 2849-cc biturbo flat-six; six-speed manual. Said to be one of seven V-series prototypes and one of only two remaining prototypes that run. Good paint; all trim and shut lines appear good as well. Some minor wear on
Porsche 959s were never legally imported to the United States when new. Now that the 959 has reached twenty-five years of age, we can expect to see more of them here. The money paid is about correct for a production 959; now we can assume a prototype is worth the same.
5. 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
SOLD AT $26,400
SN 2W87Z8L139072. Black over black vinyl. 400-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Very good paint, graphics, and trim. Black on black with a gold screaming chicken on the hood and snowflake wheels — the complete Smokey and the Bandit package.
Just add T-tops and a CB radio and you’re in classic ’70s heaven. Smokey and the Bandit Trans Ams continue to be hot commodities, and whether you own one for the irony or because you’re livin’ the dream, there’s no denying that these cars are massive fun.
6. 1955 Hudson Italia
SOLD AT $396,000
SN 1T1002. Cream over red and cream leather and vinyl. 202-cubic-inch in-line six; three-speed manual. Recent professional restoration to very high standards — excellent paint, chrome, and interior, all well detailed. One of twenty-five built
by Carrozzeria Touring of Milan, Italy, each in the same colors.
Despite lukewarm public reception to the 1953 Italia “dream car,” Hudson went ahead with plans to build a production version based on entry-level Jet underpinnings. It didn’t turn out to be the Corvette-fighter that Hudson hoped for. This very nice example did very well, and it raises the bar for Italias.
7. 1973 Mercury Cougar XR-7 convertible
SOLD AT $22,000
SN 3F94H549891. White with white top over avocado green leather. 351-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Nicely original throughout with decent paint and chrome. Unusual avocado interior is original as well as distinctive. A straight and ready-to-go example of an often-forgotten
The final year that the Mercury Cougar was based on the Ford Mustang was 1973. In 1974, the Mustang got smaller and the Cougar grew larger. Sold at a market-correct price, ’70s-appliance-green interior and all.
8. 1972 Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona
SOLD AT $495,000
SN 14999. Brown over tan leather. 4390-cc V-12; five-speed manual. Only 9769 original miles. Last seen at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2011, where it was presented as part of three cars found in storage in Texas (the others were a Maserati Bora and a Ferrari Dino); this Daytona was a no-sale at $325,000. It looks like some paintwork has been completed since then. Interior and engine bay both show well.
The sale price here is no surprise — the low miles are a big plus, the color not so much. Was a change in venue plus a squirt of paint enough to make a $170,000 difference in price? Not really. Since it didn’t find a home at the Mecum sale, the seller spent some money and waited for a better offer. It worked.
9. 1957 Packard Clipper station wagon
SOLD AT $47,300
SN 57L4270. Tiara gold metallic and arctic white over copper vinyl and gray cloth. 289-cubic-inch supercharged V-8; automatic. Power steering, power brakes, tinted glass. Very well presented with excellent paint, chrome, glass, and trim. Extremely well detailed including under the hood. Someone spent lots of time making this car shine.
By 1957, Packards had lost their prestige and had become little more than dolled-up Studebakers. Cars like this were derisively referred to as Packardbakers. The extra layers of chrome did not make them popular, and, in fact, only 869 wagons carried the Packard nameplate in 1957. This car wasn’t overpriced at $47,300 — the restoration costs very likely exceeded the high bid.
10. 1989 Shelby CXS-VNT
SOLD AT $6875
SN 1B3BP94A6KN644735. Red over gray cloth. 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder; five-speed manual. Decent paint appears to be mostly original. Cloth seats, complete with the word “Shelby” written on them dozens of times, are excellent. Plentiful trim is all in good order as well.
If you are priced out of the GT350 and
Cobra 289 markets, is this the logical next step? Carroll Shelby had a deal with Dodge that resulted in a handful of Shelby-badged products, including Dodge Shadows like this. Sold at a no-harm-done price, you can just hear the new owner telling his buddies, “Yeah, I went to Barrett-Jackson and picked up a Shelby.” It sounds impressive — until someone takes a look in the garage.
11. 1970 Ford Ranchero GT
SOLD AT $60,500
SN 0A49J212183. Black with orange stripes over black vinyl. 429-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Factory Ram-Air shaker hood scoop feeding Cobra Jet engine. Bucket seats. Laser stripe. A survivor in original condition; paint is said to be original except for the top of the driver’s-side fender.
Right down to the stealth dog-dish-style hubcaps and redline tires, this is the factory hot rod you’d order if you had a time machine. Likely the most expensive Ford Ranchero sold to date, it’s still a great buy with this unbelievable set of options on a survivor car.
12. 1985 TVR 280i convertible
SOLD AT $5225
SN TV9RF28P7FBDH1255. Red with black top over saddle leather. 2.8-liter V-6; four-speed manual. Good older paint with some chips and cracks. Blackout trim shows some age; similarly, the interior is mostly driver-quality throughout.
The market has yet to fall in love again with the wedge design of the 1970s and ’80s, and this TVR was obviously no exception. It’s priced accurately for a running and driving example — hard to imagine you could find something else this cheap and distinctive with a top that goes down.
13. 1947 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport
SOLD AT $2,035,000
SN 110113. Black over red leather. 4482-cc in-line six; four-speed manual. Right-hand drive. Franay coachwork on a shortened chassis. Excellent paint and shut lines. Very well done brightwork. Not the freshest restoration but very nice throughout.
Delage, Delahaye, and Talbot-Lago are among three of the great names in French cars. Back then, a buyer might have retained one of them if he was looking for a powerful chassis on which to place custom coachwork. But it was tough going after the war, and by 1959, all three companies were history. Today, cars such as this are priced not only for their chassis and engine combination but for their perceived beauty as well as provenance. At just a croissant or two above $2 million, this price is magnifique for both buyer and seller.
14. 1970 Plymouth Valiant four-door sedan
SOLD AT $6710
SN VL41B0B151999. Medium blue over blue vinyl and sheepskin. 225-cubic-inch slant six; automatic. Said to have received a $25,000 restoration, and it certainly looks like it. Excellent paint and chrome. Sheepskin seat covers and wide whitewall tires aren’t exactly factory correct, but who cares?
This looks like another case where thousands spent on restoration doesn’t add very much to the value of the car. What this Valiant lacks in panache is undoubtedly made up in the legendary slant six’s thrifty fuel economy.
15. 1956 Chrysler Diablo concept
SOLD AT $1,375,000
SN 9999796. Red over cream and red leather. 392-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Good to very good paint. Lots of chrome, and it’s all good. Well-detailed interior is full of gauges and switches — it looks like a combination of boat, aircraft, and automotive cockpits.
Virgil Exner was one of the great car designers, and he enjoyed his heyday at Chrysler in the 1950s. Exner’s Diablo, which was built by Ghia, features love-it-or-hate-it styling that isn’t exactly typical of the era but is a great representation of his no-holds-barred design philosophy. The price achieved by this one-off concept car seems reasonable in light of other recent ’50s dream-car sales.
SOLD AT $4,620,000
SN N/A. Black with open glass top over black leather. 390-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Started life as the Lincoln Futura concept car and was very famously modified by George Barris into the original Batmobile for the 1960s camp TV show, Batman. In surprisingly worn condition; the dozens of gauges and switches are definitely showing their age.
THE STORY BEHIND THE SALE
Barris took a dream car from the 1950s, the Futura, and turned it into the Batmobile. It was the best way to complete the job in a timely manner, and former dream cars weren’t worth much money at the time. The Batmobile went on to become an American icon and one of the most famous cars in
In fact, there is a thriving industry — consisting of at least two producers — in Batmobile replicas, although a recent court decision has thrown the legality of such an enterprise into question. Replica Batmobiles routinely sell at auction in the $100,000-to-$200,000 range, but there’s nothing like the real thing, and at least two people proved that point on the January evening that this car crossed the block.
The bidding was spirited, and the sale became headline news as the price reached a mind-bending $4.62 million. The new owner stated that his plan was to put the car on display in his living room, thereby removing the Batmobile from public view. While the new owner’s bat cave is now filled with his trophy, George Barris’s pockets are lined with more bat scratch than almost anyone could have expected.