February 9-11, 2007, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertibleSold at $18,900
S/N 6L67S6Q247497. Green and white over green. 33,835 miles. Recently refreshed with new pinstriping and minor mechanical work. Good chrome, clean top, new windshield. 1976 was the final year for the full-size Eldo ragtop, which the public considered to be an “instant classic.” Many were put away when new by owners who thought they could make a profit. That didn’t happen.
The story behind the salelooks familiar . . .
This very car was sold just one month earlier at another collector car auction held five miles away. The new owner looked beyond the car’s cosmetic issues and saw there was money to be made.
The Thirty-Day flip
The car sold in January for $10,368. Taxes, registration, and maintenance probably cost about $3500, so the seller’s return was perhaps $5000, or about $160 a day.
Could I do that?
It’s possible, but you have to be skilled and lucky. The man who bought the car in January was in the right place at the right time, and he likely knew exactly what it would take to make a car with some minor needs more appealing to the next buyer.
This year, the RM auction-formerly held at the polo fields in Boca Raton, Florida-moved to a new location, the Fort Lauderdale Convention Center. It’s now called the RM Florida sale. Despite some teething problems, it netted $21,283,053; last year, the total was $18,045,821. Seventy-six percent of the cars offered were sold, just beating last year’s numbers. The selection of cars was excellent, with many top restorations and choice originals crossing the block.
1967 Pontiac Firebird 400 convertibleSold AT $64,800
S/N 223677U114918. Turquoise and white over blue. 400-cubic-inch V-8, power steering and brakes, plus deluxe interior and gauge package. Almost new in all respects. Laser-straight body panels, mile-deep chrome. The soft top is just like new and is expertly fitted. Fully detailed everywhere. An exceptional, standout car.
Everything about this car was superb except the rear wheel configuration-during restoration or reassembly, no one thought to measure the distance between the wheels and the wheel wells, so they were off-center. That mistake aside, this car was about as good as any other Firebird recently seen on the block, so it sold for perhaps $10,000 more than expected. We hope the new owners get the rear end straightened out, pronto.
Circa-1966 BatmobileSold AT $216,000
S/N 9Y81S706130. Black and red over black. Clear plastic top. The fit, finish, and build quality are great. The details look authentic, and the car has a crisp appearance. It doesn’t look like a well-used television prop-because it’s not a “real” Batmobile. Instead, this car was built by a private individual on a 1979 Lincoln chassis.
The real story here was the bidding itself. The auctioneer opened at and received a bid for $100,000. The next bid came in at $105,000, and then the winning bidder leapt to $200,000, thereby checkmating any potential buyers who had hoped to get it for a more reasonable $125,000. Sometimes the price of fulfilling your fantasy doesn’t come cheaply.
1965 AC Cobra 427 S/C continuation roadsterSold AT $75,600
S/N CSX4066. Silver over black. The 604 miles on the odometer are said to be original. Excellent paint and chrome. Goodyear Eagle racing tires mounted on Halibrand mag wheels. The interior is clean, except for the carpets.
The 4000-series Cobras (serial number CSX4000 forward) were continuation cars, built starting in 1995 by Carroll Shelby at a facility in Las Vegas. As such, they are “real” Cobras, just not built at the time of the CSX3000 427 S/C roadsters. The price achieved here was cheap even for a 4000-series car; one could have reasonably expected this car to bring more than $100,000.
1963 Ford Falcon Sprint convertibleSold AT $26,460
S/N 3H15P236280. Blue and white over blue. 260-cubic-inch V-8, four-speed floor-shift manual. Bucket seats. Aftermarket sound system with a CD player and satellite radio. The paintwork is only fair, and some of the chrome is dull. This car appears to have spent quite a bit of time at the beach.
If this car looks like an escapee from Margaritaville, it could be because its last owner was Jimmy Buffett. Cosmetic needs aside, it was a very good buy. The celebrity ownership came at a small price. Falcon Sprints have been attracting interest recently, so this price will seem cheap very soon.
1969 American Motors AMXSold AT $48,600
S/N A9C397X287302. Green and black over tan. 390-cubic-inch V-8, automatic. Expertly detailed throughout. The dashboard plaque says this is AMX 14923, but AMX owners don’t rely on these numbers, because some plaques have been changed out. Space-saver spare. Close to new throughout.
This is one very well-equipped AMX. It was built in an era when many of its stablemates had far less equipment. As orphan cars (American Motors was absorbed by Chrysler), AMXs have had a tougher road to travel than muscle cars from GM, Chrysler, and Ford. This is not the most expensive AMX ever sold, but most of them currently change hands for between $15,000 and $20,000 less. Condition and equipment made the difference here.
1932 Austin American roadsterSold AT $23,760
S/N AUSB1053032. Black and red over red. No top. The paint, although good, is slightly faded and has quite a few chips. The chrome needs work. The interior vinyl is old and not particularly sharp, but the metal dashboard is good. The gauges need to be restored.
Austin Americans were built from 1930 to 1940 in Butler, Pennsylvania. The basic design is from the British Austin cars, but it was extensively modified for the American market. The price today, however, was not low. This car needs a full restoration if it’s going to look great again.