Nothing Sold at the Car Auction Where You'd Expect Everything to Bring Stupid Money
The amazing no-sales at this Saudi auction included an off-road Ferrari (!), a 3,000-HP Dodge, and a BMW M1.
It's a common, if not entirely accurate, conception that oil-rich Middle Eastern car enthusiasts like their vehicles on the extravagant side, but several low-mile exotics, big-horsepower American muscle cars, and a safari-esque Ferrari failed to sell at Worldwide Auctioneers' inaugural Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, auction. In fact, just four of the consigned 120 cars found new owners—including the mighty 3,974-hp THOR custom big rig, which fetched a whopping $13.2 million. Let's take a closer look at some gloriously excessive cars that didn't meet their reserve prices when the auction gavel fell.
1975 Ferrari Dino 308 GT/4 "Safari" | Not sold: $70,000
Off-road ready "safari" Porsche 911s are all the rage, so why not try the same treatment on a 1970s 911 competitor, the 1975 Ferrari Dino 308 GT/4? With a lifted suspension, fiberglass mud flaps, rally-spec wheels and tires, and rally-style bumpers, this 308 GT/4 certainly looked the part, channeling a little Lancia Stratos in the process. This model of Ferrari was the Bertone-styled successor to the Dino 246 GT and like that car, was initially sold without Ferrari badges as a separate "Dino" sub-brand. Designed as a 2+2 with small rear seats for children or storage, the 308 GT/4 was Ferrari's entry-level car and was supposed to be a semi-practical, yet sporty, car for daily use, much as the day's Porsche 911. Unfortunately, this car's modifications didn't find it a new home, despite bringing a $20,000-$30,000 higher bid than a typical stock example in similar condition would fetch. It's also worth noting the consignor may have been attempting to make some quick bucks: Someone purchased this exact car on Bring a Trailer in August for $46,760.
1981 BMW M1 | Not sold: $1,000,000
With just 703 km on the odometer (about 436 miles), this virtually-new, one-of-399-built BMW M1 supercar is bound to be one of the most original examples left. The M1 was co-engineered in its day by Lamborghini, its fiberglass body styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, and it was designed to be a daily-drivable supercar long before the Acura NSX was ever conceived. Unfortunately, high cost and global economic turmoil when the car was finally launched meant that even the 399 M1s built had a hard time finding homes. Values languished around $50,000 for years, but in the last decade prices have soared. The million-dollar high bid should have been enough to take this one home, given that $500,000 buys an excellent example with more miles.
1983 Mercedes-Benz 1000SEC Gullwing by SGS | Not sold: $120,000
Who doesn't love a little 1980s excess? In these days of Radwood '80s-themed car shows and young Gen Xers (and older Millennials) coming into earning power, neo-classics of the 1980s and '90s are building momentum in the marketplace. This Mercedes started life as a standard W126, with tuner company Styling Garage (SGS) adding gullwing-style doors, a premium sound system, lots of gold plating, and other "luxury" features. On this car, we can also see an aftermarket steering wheel, a gold-colored falcon-style shift lever and gold BBS basketweave wheels. Typical 1000 SEC owners were extravagant types, with over half of SGS's cars going to Middle Eastern original owners (though one also found its way to American comedian and actor Eddie Murphy in the day). This car has just 12,754 miles on the odometer and the modifications alone are said to cost more than $40,000 when it was built, in addition to the price of the car. The high bid here was $120,000, which does sound a little light given the car's appeal to a certain group of buyers and the fact that just 57 were ever built.
1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary Edition | Not sold: $500,000
Reportedly ordered new by the Prince of Dubai as a young man, this 25th Anniversary Countach represents the final and most garish evolution of a car that was extraordinary even at its launch in the early 1970s. By 1989, the Countach had gained huge fender flares, scoops, ducts, and spoilers (the work of then stylist, now supercar-builder Horacio Pagani) and was almost a caricature of the original clean, wedge-shaped Gandini design. Nevertheless, the '80s were all about this kind of styling and this "downdraft" six-carburetor example was still quite quick with 425 horsepower on tap. The car today has around 7,000 miles on it and, as the least desirable of the Countach models today, should have found a new owner with the $500,000 high bid it received.
1968 Dodge "Maximus the Ultra Charger" | Not sold: $1,700,000
With an estimated 3,000 horsepower from its 9.3-liter, all-aluminum Hemi V-8 engine, this resto-mod 1968 Dodge Charger was built for the SEMA trade show and was the cover car for the September 2019 issue of Automobile sister publication Hot Rod. It was also featured in Fast & Furious 7 in a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker. Said to feature custom GPS-based traction control, aerospace-grade fasteners, a fully customized suspension, and capable of 1.8-second sprints to 60 mph on its way to a 300-mph top speed (with its optional SSR-NRE aero kit installed), Maximus's owner decided the $1,700,000 high bid wasn't enough to part this speed star.