Hammer Time: Iacocca's Auction Triumph

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time iacocca s auction triumph

Who wants a 1996 Chrysler LHS? The last car to ever impersonate an Iacocca inspired Chrysler New Yorker glided down the auction lane in pure anonymous bliss. The Mazda 3 behind it had already hooked all the dealers looking for some sub-prime finance fodder and hey, I knew that the 3’s transmission was toast. I was not in the mood to have a dogfight with half the dealers at this sale. My job was to pick my battles and find the dealer queens, but which ones?

There had already been several nasty machines that went through the block that evening. Most of them were plain junk. Three Camry’s that each had over 375,000 miles went for $850 and up. A Cadillac with engine and transmission issues? That went for clean retail.. north of $2000. Even an 18 year old Caravan that was ridden with onion peel paint went for $700. I had picked out the LHS. The least popular car to sell short of an early 90’s, V6, Mercury Cougar. Why?

The owner. I can tell an awful lot of things about the prior owner just by what is in and on a car. Are the tires pricey Michelins or cheap Wal-Mart’s? Does the interior look well kept? Or is it as rough as a wore out mop? Did the vehicle come with a dealer advert in back that came from a buy-here-pay-here lot? Those cars usually have low-quality parts and neglected maintenance that will result in you ‘polishing a turd’ with several hundreds in extra reconditioning costs. You need to handicap and bid appropriately.

The LHS had all the right ingredients. AAA and AARP stickers on the rear windshield. New-ish Michelins. An immaculate interior with no paint fade. Despite the fact that full-sized Chryslers are often as popular as herpes, I wanted to make sure I got it. It was profit incarnate. The auctioneer started at $2500… went down to $2000… and then quickly went down to $1000. At that point I clenched my fist near my left shoulder which means, “I’m in at $1000”. Seven seconds and no other bids later I was the new owner of the car. It’s now off the lot and on the road. Along with that onionized Chrysler I mentioned. Yeah it was ugly. But that 92’ model had only 78k and a LOT of Chrysler OEM parts. Most owners of old minivans don’t care about the look. They just need it for the hauling.

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2 of 35 comments
  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.