Would You Pay $305,000 For This 1972 Chevy Blazer K5?
And another six collector-car results from the week in Bring a Trailer auctions.
The economy and world affairs are touching the lives of all of us these days, but the Bring a Trailer online auction scene is still not seeing any real signs of desperate sellers or cash-crunched buyers. In fact, one bidder was feeling flush enough to plunk down $305,000 on a 1972 Chevy Blazer, which would have been a remarkable price even if it had come at the peak of the market in 2015. Read on for this and seven other interesting results from this week's collector car auctions.
1972 Chevrolet Blazer K5 Ringbrothers Custom
A new house in many parts of the United States or a '72 Chevy Blazer? As they say, you can't drive a house, but would you want to sleep in this K5? Make no mistake, the Ringbrothers do good work and not a single bolt on this Blazer has gone untouched in their custom build, completed last year. The body was removed from the frame and acid dipped before repainting, the engine is a 350-ci ZZ430 V-8 with Holley fuel injection and a Bowler Performance four-speed automatic. Plus, literally every other part of this Blazer was gone over with custom touches, including houndstooth-pattern upholstery, an uprated off-road ready suspension, and even a brand-new wiring harness. Does it all add up to $305,000 worth of work? One high bidder apparently thought so. By the way, the runner-up bidder was David MacNeil of Weathertech fame, the same well-heeled enthusiast who picked up a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Series 1 for around $70 million.
1991 Lotus Esprit X180R
In the early 1990s, Lotus sales were flagging in the U.S. and the brand needed more visibility. Bosses at Lotus decided to enter a special race version of the Esprit SE mid-engine sports car (called Type 105) in the SCCA Escort World Challenge race series, which ran at tracks all over America. Results were strong, with the cars taking four wins and six poles in eight total races during the 1990 season. To celebrate, Lotus built 20 Esprit X180 R models as tribute cars to the Type 105 racers with "World Challenge" fender decals, stiffer springs with re-tuned dampers, stronger adjustable front A-arms, 16-inch Revolution wheels, and AP Racing four-piston brake calipers, plus a roll cage and heavily bolstered sport seats. Just 20 X180R models were built; this was number 18. This car was pretty neglected, with an odometer that broke at 15k miles (true miles are unknown), poor paintwork, the ABS light illuminated on the dash, botched interior trim and the last valid registration having occurred eight years ago. Still, this is a rare car with perfect examples worth over the $100,000 mark. Fairly bought as a project, considering the recent service work performed, including a major service.
1997 Bentley Turbo R
From the "look rich for cheap" files comes this '97 Bentley Turbo R. This is a final-year model with a turbocharged 6.75-liter V-8 producing 385 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, paired to a four-speed slushbox. Purchased just half a year ago by the seller and now showing roughly 42,000 miles, the Canadian-spec car has all the niceties you'd expect from a Bentley, including power reclining rear seats and tea trays, sumptuous leather and wood interior, and chrome air vents. Some paintwork was touched up by the seller who also notes an illuminated check engine light and cracked wood on the dash. We're guessing the seller is getting out while the getting's good. A fair buy for the presumably masochistic new owner.
1987 BMW 325is
When this 1987 BMW 325is was a new car, it wasn't cheap. In fact, its MSRP was about that of a new Corvette at the time: $28,975. All these years and 56,000 careful miles later, this 325is sold for about what it was worth new, not considering adjustment for inflation, of course. These E30-generation 3 Series models have been hot for years now, not least because they represent BMW's best era, when the "Ultimate Driving Machine" mantra was still somewhat accurate. With a 2.5-liter straight six up front, rear-wheel drive, a conventional five-speed manual gearbox and a brilliantly balanced chassis, the original 325 was as fun to drive as it was practical and the "is" sport versions left a far smaller gap in performance to the M3 variant than most would believe. If this were an M3 in similar condition, the price would have been double this amount, but the smiles would have been about the same.
2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio engine and ZF transmission
This engine and transmission pairing was removed from a wrecked 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio two years ago and has since spent its life in the showroom of Colorado-based Centerline Alfa, an Alfa parts supplier. The F154-type twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V-6 produces a heady 505 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque from new, enough to rocket the Giulia Quad from 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, all while making a glorious noise that was music to our ears during our testing. We haven't asked Alfa what one of these would cost new with the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, but we're guessing the sale price wouldn't even cover the transmission. Very well bought, but what to install it in? Perhaps a Milano or GTV6?. We haven't asked Alfa what one of these would cost new with the ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, but we're guessing the sale price wouldn't even cover the transmission. Very well bought, but what to install it in? Perhaps a Milano or GTV6?
1991 GMC Syclone
The sport truck era was a strange period in not-too-distant history, but it did produce some exceptional machines. The GMC Syclone was one of them, based on the compact GMC Sonoma pickup. A one year only deal, the Syclone had a factory turbocharged 4.3-liter V-6 up front feeding power to all four wheels via its four-speed automatic transmission. The truck was also lowered, given side skirts and unique front and rear bumpers, plus 16-inch alloy wheels, velour sport seats, and a steering wheel similar to that of early C4 Corvettes. The results were, predictably, insane: 280 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque was available, which gave 0-60 mph sprints in about 4.5 seconds-quicker than a standard 1991 Porsche 911. Some 2,995 Syclones were produced in 1991 before they were canceled and this example has covered just 45,000 Californian miles before arriving at auction. We would call this Syclone quite well bought given the mileage, but a full-body respray means it no longer has its original paint. Obviously, that was factored into the high bid.
2002 Porsche Boxster S
Not sold: $13,250
The 996-series Porsche 911 gets a lot of press as an affordable entry to Porsche ownership, but may we suggest the 986-series Boxster S as an even more fun-to-drive (though not as practical) alternative? Sure, the Boxster doesn't have rear seats for storage, a permanent roof, or all the performance and cachet of the 911 nameplate, but the mid-engine layout, 250 hp output in the 'S' variants, and wind-in-your-hair fun make a lot of sense if you're after weekend fun rather than workday commutes. This Boxster S was fairly well optioned and had just 30,000 miles on the odometer, but hadn't had the all-important IMS bearing replacement yet-a service that typically runs a few thousand dollars and prevents the potentially oil-starved bearing from making mince metal out of the mid-mounted 3.2-liter flat-six engine. Given the needed service, this price really should have been enough to get the deal done. If the selling dealer thinks it can do better, we say good luck.