January 10-18, 2015
Feature Car: 1973 Jaguar XK-E 2+2
Sold At $135,300
Silver gray over biscuit brown leather. 314-hp, SOHC 5.3-liter V-12; four-speed manual transmission. Recently and very nicely restored. Excellent throughout: The paint is top-quality; all exterior trim is bright and sharp; all brightwork is highly polished. This original California delivery car is equipped with traditional wire wheels and all-important air-conditioning. This is one of 7,297 Series 3 2+2 Coupes produced between 1971 and 1975.
The Story Behind the Sale
It’s hard to imagine the impact that the Jaguar E-type (properly referred to as “XK-E” in the U.S.) had in the marketplace when it was introduced in 1961. Fast, sexy, and exotic enough to turn heads from Monte Carlo to Modesto, it had Jaguar’s well-known inline six-cylinder engine and room for a friend. As the original Series 1 car morphed into the Series 2 in 1968, many practical changes were made, but the car kept its overall shape and dimensions. With the introduction of the Series 3 in 1971, however, things changed.
The Series 3 featured Jaguar’s newly developed 5.3-liter V-12, yet this car has not been considered as collectible as the Series 1 or 2. Notorious for quality problems, it was named by Time as one of the “50 Worst Cars of All Time.” The magazine further said of the modified shape, “Imagine taking one of the world’s most beautiful cars and sticking it in a taffy puller.”
In the 40 years since the last E-type came down the assembly line, most of the best examples have already been tucked away in collectors’ garages. So now the Series 3 is having its day in the sun. All the V-12 gremlins of 1975 are an easy fix, and drivers of the big and tall persuasion can actually fit behind the wheel of a Series 3. This price would be big money for an E-type roadster; it is enormous for a coupe. Expect to see more Jaguar XK-E Series 3 cars cross the $100,000 barrier.
1981 AMC Concord
Sold At $4,950
Beige over tan cloth interior. 100-hp, 4.2-liter inline-six; three-speed automatic transmission. Air-conditioning, power steering, power brakes, bucket seats, and
a vinyl roof. Fewer than 50,000 actual miles. No visible rust; very good (possibly original) paint; good chrome. No issues present with the vinyl roof. The clean cloth interior still looks good.
A very nice driver to a car show, where you will win the Concord class because you will be the only person with a Concord. Wisconsin-based American Motors Corporation built modest, affordable cars that had some impact on the market. The 1978-1983 Concord, however, is not at the top of that list. Even so, what better way to relive the ’80s than a beige but forgettable two-door Concord loaded with era-correct styling cues? Great fun for the money now that offbeat cars of the 1970s and 1980s are cool.
1957 Studebaker Commander Provincial
Sold At $26,400
Black and rose gold over black and gold vinyl and cloth. 185-hp, 4.2-liter V-8; three-speed manual transmission. One of 3,395 built in 1957. Good but not great paint. Some chrome is good; some needs attention. Delaminating glass in the windshield; weak rubber trim. Rare Studebaker wire-style wheel covers. Redone interior in generic vinyl and cloth. Looks like someone could not find the “Provincial” trim for the right-hand side, so a “Studebaker” nameplate was installed instead.
Despite the seller’s claims about a show-quality restoration, this Studie wagon has lots of needs. Said to be an original California car with black license plates, it does have some rare luxury options. Plenty to like, but some things disappoint. And although the Raymond Loewy-designed Studebakers of the early 1950s look European, this later model year looks like a Chevy. Fully priced for its condition.
1974 Volkswagen Thing
Sold At $18,700
Dove blue over black vinyl. 46-hp, 1.6-liter flat-four; four-speed manual transmission. Much nicer than the day it left the factory. Excellent paint, chrome, trim, and glass. The vinyl top fits nicely. Black trim on the wheels appears powder-coated. Lower ride height than factory spec. The clean, original-style interior includes wooden floormats and a new dash and steering wheel. Ready to show.
The VW Type 181 Thing was produced from 1968 to 1980, and some 140,763 examples of this World War II-style command car were built. Made street-legal for the United States in 1972, the Thing was available here for a short few years before being dropped from the Volkswagen lineup when safety standards became stricter. It was so simple in concept and operation that it made the comparable Beetle seem luxurious and complicated. Now widely accepted in the collector car market.
1976 Jensen GT
Sold At $10,450
White over black and blue vinyl. 140-hp, DOHC 2.0-liter inline-four; five-speed manual transmission. The original paint shows some dullness; good glass but poor rubber strips. Fewer than 8,000 miles since new. Good chrome and trim; new tires on original wheels. The original tapestry-style interior upholstery still shows well with protective plastic on the door panels.
The Jensen GT was the sport wagon version (one of 509 built) of the Jensen-Healey roadster, a car bankrolled by Kjell Qvale, a highly successful San Francisco importer of British cars, notably Austin-Healey, and a founder of the Pebble Beach concours. The Jensen GT is powered by the famous Lotus 907 Twin Cam, an engine informally known as the “Torqueless Wonder.” This car will need quite a bit of fix-up, but the result will be a fine British sports car in the spirit of the 1950s, only with the speed and refinement of the 1970s.
1980 Toyota Land Cruiser BJ42
Sold At $39,600
White over gray vinyl. 98-hp, 3.4-liter inline-four diesel; four-speed manual transmission. Right-hand-drive model imported from South America. OEM wheels and exhaust snorkel. Excellent paint and new glass. Equipped with power steering and air-conditioning. Very nice interior with OEM gauges and factory carpet kit. 57,465 original miles.
The BJ42 model was never sold to the general public in the U.S. Like the similar, better-known FJ40, this diesel-powered utility has plenty of cross-generational appeal. So why are prices dropping in the collectible market? Supply and demand. A few years ago, some well-restored FJ40s appeared at collector auctions, and some brought close to $100,000. So plenty of people then bought old FJ40s for $20,000 and put a year of restoration into them. Too many came to market at the same time, so values dropped. A great buy for the long term, not so much for a buy-’n’-flip.
1969 Plymouth Barracuda “Mod Top”
Sold At $33,000
Sunfire Yellow over yellow vinyl with floral inserts. 230-hp, 5.2-liter V-8; four-speed automatic transmission. Great paint and brightwork; the vinyl top appears excellent. You could get just the Mod Top (also an option on the Plymouth Satellite), or the truly hip could get the same Flower Power look for the interior upholstery as in this car.
This Barracuda is one of 937 Mod Tops built in 1969 (it’s No. 90 of 118 in the Mod Top Registry). If your goal is to look like you just drove off the set of “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” (ask your parents about the 1960s TV show that inspired “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”), there is no better ride in the world. Best automotive trivia ever? Stauffer Plastics, a supplier of tablecloths and shower curtains, made the floral fabric. Is this car worth the money? You bet your sweet bippy. (Parents, again.)
1956 Volkswagen Beetle
Sold At $11,550
Diamond Green over green vinyl. 36-hp, 1.2-liter flat-four; four-speed manual transmission. Good paint. Some of the chrome is of poor quality and shows rust bubbles, but most of it is good. Clean interior with vinyl seats; aftermarket luggage rack. Diamond Green is said to be a one-year-only color.
The car card reads “recent restoration,” and there is no doubt that is true. You could smell the fresh paint on this car from 10 feet away. It’s the little things that keep a car from selling for top dollar sometimes, and those rusty vent windows really hurt. The lesson here: Spend $2,000 on repairs, make an additional $7,000. You can play the auction game, but you have to be smart even when the transaction price is low. Expect more old Beetles, as the charm is high and so is the number still on the road.
1991 GMC Syclone Pickup
Sold At $17,050
Black over black cloth. 280-hp, turbocharged, 4.3-liter V-6; four-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive. Good paint has a few faint scratches; very good chrome and exterior trim. Seats with red piping and clean cloth. Contemporary reports said the Syclone’s 0-60 mph sprint of 4.3 seconds was faster than any Corvette or Ferrari. Included in the sale are the original window sticker, a GMC certificate of origin, product brochure, and service records.
One of a reported 2,995 Syclone trucks built. This pickup is said to be one of 31 returned unsold from Saudi Arabia. The seller states 30 were later sold in a lottery to GM employees, and one was broken up for parts. The Syclone was joined by the 1992-1993 GMC Typhoon sport-utility, and both are collectible today, good ideas that came before their time. The Syclone is a very good buy for a usable pickup that can really haul.