Palm Beach, Florida
April 11–13, 2014
1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible
Sold At $77,000
SN 3Y86N424299. Black with black top over black leather interior. 320-hp, 430-cubic-inch V-8; automatic transmission. Air-conditioning. Excellent paint; shiny brightwork in all the right places. Very good interior. Extremely appealing triple-black color scheme.
The Story Behind The Sale
It would be hard to overstate the styling differences between the Lincolns of the 1950s and those of the ’60s. The 1960s officially arrived for Lincoln with the 1961 model year and the reintroduction of the Lincoln Continental. Instantly, excess chrome, fins, and stacked headlights were gone. The new look for Lincoln showed a great deal of restraint and led the way forward for other manufacturers.
There were huge societal changes as well. In the Eisenhower era, men were not fully dressed unless they were wearing a hat. In the Kennedy era, the hat was something your dad wore. The 1961–1969 Lincoln Continentals are often referred to as Kennedy-era Lincolns—sometimes just Kennedy Lincolns—and not just because it was the car JFK was riding in when he was assassinated.
There is an undeniable coolness to a ’61–’67 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible. It’s no stretch to imagine Don Draper and company in one, and, in fact, a Lincoln Continental was featured in the opening credits of Entourage.
There’s an adage in classic cars that’s simple to remember: buy the best example you can afford. With all of the Lincoln Continental’s precomputer controls involved in opening the huge top that disappears into the trunk, you want to make sure it’s in prime working condition. Although $77,000 for this car might seem expensive, it’s likely a much better investment than a Lincoln Continental that costs half as much and “just needs a little work.”
1974 Volkswagen Thing
Sold At $19,250
SN 1842220996. Desert khaki and sand beige stripes with tan top and new side curtains over black vinyl. 46-hp, 1585-cc four-cylinder; four-speed manual. Said to have 29,000 original miles. Excellent paint. Excellent brightwork, although there’s not much of it. Woven floor mats appear new.
Designated by VW as the Type 181, these cars were imported to the United States from Mexico for 1973 and 1974. The Thing was basic transportation and was sold with a removable hard top. Although it looks like it should have four-wheel drive, it was rear-wheel drive. It also wasn’t cheap, at a list price of $2750 in 1973. Popular for their reliability and alternative looks, Things are often found at collector auctions. This Thing—a solid-looking example that wasn’t too heavily modified—seems priced about right for today’s market.
1976 Chevrolet Silverado
Sold At $44,000
SN CCS146F310251. Two-tone beige and yellow over brown vinyl. 240-hp, 454-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. A low-mileage example. Very good original paint with only slight surface scratches. Truck bed is said to never have been used, and it looks true. Very good brightwork, except for some pieces at the rear of the bed and on the tailgate; the black trim has partially disappeared. Very good interior. Clean dash. Clear gauges.
This long-wheelbase pickup sold for much more than might have been expected from the more desirable short-wheelbase model. It created a stir because of its original condition. There were only a few very easy-to-address cosmetic issues. This close-to-forty-year-old truck sold at a price that could buy a nicely equipped 2014 Silverado.
1988 Lotus Esprit
Sold At $20,900
SN SCCFC20A3JHF62209. Pearlescent white over blue leather with suede inserts. 215-hp, 2.2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder; five-speed manual. Equipped with air-conditioning, removable roof panel with wind deflector, power brakes and steering. Mostly good paint. Minimal brightwork is very good. Good seats, with no rips or wrinkles. Very good interior trim and dashboard.
This is said to be the fifth of forty limited-production cars built for Lotus’s fortieth anniversary. Of course, almost everything Lotus makes is limited production. Lotus buyers don’t all wind up underwater in their cars, but perhaps the most famous one that did was the Esprit in the 1977 James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me.
SN B68CN. Dark green over green leather. 200-hp (est.), 6.2-liter V-8; automatic. Right-hand drive. 70,000 indicated miles. Paint (twelve coats of it) is in mostly good condition. Good brightwork has minor scratches. Wood on the dash and picnic tables is good but shows some signs of age. Leather on the seats appears new, but there are a few scuffs on the seat base.
Those twelve coats of paint are separated in places; if they’re subjected to a change of temperature and humidity, the new owner can expect some of it to give way soon. The S3 was the final series of this rather imposing-looking Bentley. It was replaced with the T-Series, also known as the Silver Shadow in Rolls-Royce cars. A nonexceptional Bentley at a nonexceptional price.
1972 Triumph Stag
Sold At $22,550
SN LE13211U. Green over black vinyl. 145-hp, 3.0-liter V-8; four-speed manual. Hard and soft tops. Knockoff wire wheels. Good paint, said to be original. Good brightwork with light scratches. Interior has a nice patina—use wear but no tears. Good dash and console.
The Stag has a reputation—some would say not totally deserved—of being unreliable, and many of them needed engine rebuilds. The Stag had an unusual removable roof because of its built-in roll bar. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti, the Stag was the first V-8-engined Triumph. This sale price has to be encouraging to Stag owners. Perhaps we’ll see an exceptional example exceed the $30,000 mark in the near future.
Best Buy: 1972 Saab Sonett III
Sold At $6600
SN 97725000273. Bright orange over tan cloth and vinyl. 65-hp, 1.7-liter V-4; four-speed manual. Equipped with the original AM/FM radio. Orange repaint is excellent. Very good brightwork. Very good interior is said to be original, shows some light use wear.
Saabs were known for being unconventional, and their owners were known for being proud of it. Better described as a sexy design with sporting pretensions rather than a high-horsepower, big-engine sports car, the Sonett was made in three series, with the last of the Sonett IIIs being produced in 1974. Just because they are rare doesn’t mean they are particularly valuable—this extra-nice example sold at a bargain price.
1989 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
Sold At $33,000
SN 1J4GS5872KP108325. Gray with wood grain over oxblood leather. 175-hp, 5.9-liter V-8; automatic. Said to have 55,000 original miles. One owner from new. Paint, wood grain, and brightwork are good to very good. Interior is clean, dash is complete. Not just a used car, this is a well-looked-after example.
This Wagoneer sold used for more than it cost new, not a bad return on investment for a four-wheel-drive car that one could use every day. Real-life gas mileage is not a strong suit here, due to the combination of a fuel-thirsty V-8, a bricklike body, and two-plus tons of curb weight. These have become rich-guy, old-money vehicles for estates in the Hamptons and vacation homes on Nantucket.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS convertible
Sold At $110,000
SN 136670B185402. Fathom blue with white stripes and white top over pearl white vinyl. 450-hp, 454-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Frame-off restoration recently completed. Well optioned. Excellent paint and brightwork. New top with no fit issues. Tires appear to be new. Excellent interior, with factory-original Super Sport black dash.
This car was sold as an undocumented Chevelle Super Sport convertible. Moreover, it was announced that it was powered by a restamped 1970 LS6 engine block. This is extraordinary money for a car that makes few claims to its authenticity. This example sold at this price because of its unquestionable high quality, despite the lack of documentation.
1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible
Sold At $15,400
SN 266677X157977. Blue with blue top over white vinyl. 350-hp, 400-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Fair paint, with scratches evident. Brightwork could use a good polishing. Good seats; decent dash and steering wheel. Very nice console with floor-mounted shifter.
Pontiac built a convertible Grand Prix for just one year, 1967. This car is one of only 5856; Grand Prix coupes numbered 37,125 that year. A very cool look with the hideaway headlights, this car will still need a lot of help to be a show winner. The engine compartment is very poorly detailed; generic hood insulation doesn’t help. A great example might achieve three times this amount, so there’s plenty of room for the needed fixes.