Yes, you read that correctly. The top seller at Barrett-Jackson’s 2019 Palm Beach auction wasn’t a red-hot 2012 Lexus LFA supercar, nor a nearly new 2018 McLaren 720S. Instead, it was a 1947 Buick Super 8 Custom Convertible, a classic car that perhaps your grandfather has in his garage. Except this isn’t your grandfather’s Buick.
No, the ’47 Buick Super 8 that sold for a whopping $412,500 in Palm Beach was about as far from stock as you can imagine, with a 6.2-liter supercharged GM LSA crate engine underhood, making a claimed 580 horsepower and 550 lb-ft of torque. Other custom drivetrain touches included a four-speed 4L85E automatic transmission, nine-inch Strange rear end, and custom Flowmaster exhaust. Wilwood six-piston brake calipers slow this hot-rod Buick down and an oversize 38-gallon fuel tank means you won’t be filling up every time you venture out to the local burger joint. The Buick was given a body-off restoration, with the chassis painted the same color as the body, while nine different leather hides were said to be used in upholstering its interior. Barrett-Jackson chairman and CEO Craig Jackson has been telling us that the restomod segment is one to watch, and this result is a strong indication.
Meanwhile, the runner-up 2012 Lexus LFA still managed a cool $352,000, which at first glance seems a bit low—after all, the car only had 5,000 miles on the clock and the MSRP for a new LFA in 2012 was $375,000. However, while this example was one of just 170 produced for the U.S. market, it wasn’t one of the ultra-rare 15 LFA Nürburgring Editions, one of which sold at RM Sotheby’s 2019 Scottsdale auction for a huge $885,000. That car also had just 54 miles on it, making it essentially brand-new. What does the Nürburgring Edition add to the equation? Besides rarity, each of the 15 had a revised carbon-fiber front splitter, a fixed rear wing, and new winglets up front, along with an extra 10 horsepower (for 562 total from the 4.8-liter V-10 engine), a 0.5-inch drop in ride height, special magnesium wheels, and revised transmission programming for shorter shift times. Is all that worth such a huge premium? It seems the market has spoken.
The third priciest car to sell at Barrett-Jackson was a 2018 McLaren 720S, which went for $324,500. Keen readers will know 2018 was the year McLaren introduced the 720S and when it also won an Automobile All-Star award for its scintillating performance, impressive technology, and simply jaw-dropping looks. With 710 horsepower from its mid-mounted, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, the 720S runs from zero to 60 mph in less than three seconds and can achieve a top speed of 212 mph with enough road—and enough courage. Sad to say, the previous owner only found time (or desire) to put 329 miles on this example before moving it on to its new owner at Barrett-Jackson. Is a new 600LT—itself a 2019 Automobile All-Star—on its way to replace this 720S? We hope so.