Hammer Time: Cruisin' In The Wintertime
What is white, powerful, a ton of fun, and comes with a ‘retractable’ top? If you said the author well, you’re mostly wrong. My top happens to be aerodynamic and I only have powerful eyeglasses. But when it comes to cars we’re talking about convertibles in the wintertime. This week there are a massive amount of convertible trade-in’s at the auctions. A lot of folks here in Atlanta want to forgo the delayed gratification of a spring day for a winter shopping spree. Black Friday shopping sometimes requires divestments and some folks have decided that the least favorite toy must be exchanged for the most recent shopping season. Is this the right decision? Well, it depends on how you measure value.
The auction offered no less than four outstanding convertibles. Their selling prices were…
2004 BMW Z4 3.0i, $12,200 48k, – Clean – 6-Speed
2002 Audi TT, 90K, $7200, 90k – Average – 5-Speed
1997 Jaguar XK8, $6800, 82k – Clean – Automatic
1994 Mercedes SL320, $5650, 90k – Clean -Removable Hardtop
I have a very soft spot for the 1st generation BMW Z3. In nearly every respect it’s the embodiment of a ‘simple’ BMW at it’s best. The 2nd Gen Z4? Way too much. There’s a reason why this one was only driven 48,000 miles and though it was the second most immaculate car at the auction, and a BMW at that, it fell far short of the clean book price.
Silver Audis like the 2002 TT, are all over the friggin place. Throw a rock in the direction of any Highline auction (where only higher end vehicles are sold) and chances are you’ll hit at least two silver Audis. Silver has become the new ‘forest green’ of the luxury market which is why the local Audi dealer still has 2008 Audis avaliable. All silver. All A6’s.
This non-Highline sale offered a clean 2002 A6 in silver with the 3.0L and 89k that went for $5100. The same year Pathfinder with a cloth interior and 134k miles went for more money. Why? The Nissan will be easier to keep on the street (lower repair costs, fewer wear issues), which yields higher bids from the buy-here pay-here dealers who need the finance fodder. As for that TT, it was in average shape with the usual dings, dents, scuff and wear of a daily driver. Mileage was higher than normal. The $7200 was a little cheap, but fair given the amount of reconditioning that the TT will need to get it moved. .
My heart and soul went to the Jag and Merc. You sit in the Jaguar, and it doesn’t want to let you go. The wood. The smell. The feeling that you’re in something that was timeless.. for the Clinton era. Well, the wood did seem a bit shiny and the center console was a bit cheap looking. But compared to the interiors of the Z4 and TT? This was a convertible for the upper echelon. It sold for $6800 which was a steal even with a $200 auction fee. The dealer will have no trouble holding it for a while and may even get a customer before Christmas time. Even at $10k retail, it would be a reasonable buy.
Finally there was the museum piece. A 1994 Mercedes SL320 that was so clean you could eat off the tailpipe. What color may you ask? Why forest green of course! The official color of early-90’s luxury. Yours truly was willing to bid $5000 for it. The SL went for $5650. The hardtop and all the fragile features were in amazingly good shape. The owner must have been small because the seats didn’t have any of the creases and tears that are common for this era of Mercedes seats. I’m sure it went to a good home.
Other sales, and no-sales included:
2007 Pontiac Solstice GXP – no sale at 12k Average – Zonker Yellow
2005 VW Beetle – 55K – no sale at $7000 Clean – Floridian Blue
2000 Chrysler Sebring JXi – $2800 – 107k – Clean – Automatic/Leather
2001 Toyota Solara, True Miles Unknown $1900 Rough/Crap
1997 Ford Mustang, True Miles Unknown $1650, Rough/Crap
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Steven, What does it take to tag along to the auction house ? You can claim me as your intern/entourage or whatever.
I've never really liked convertibles, but IMO VW builds the best-looking ones. Exposing a convertible to snow seems like heresy.