Auction Day: A Z3 Surprise Edition

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
auction day a z3 surprise edition

The BMW Z3. In my mind this model is the only convertible of the late-90’s that made the 2nd gen MX-5 seem… a bit plain. Even with a near 10k premium when it was released, this car was quite a hot commodity for those willing to pay for the privelege.

But what if we could turn back time just a bit? What if right now I could get you a forest green 1997 BMW Z3 with the 1.9L four cylinder, all the options and only 21,000 miles on it? Would you be willing to pay.. say… $10,000+? Well guess what…

Someone did just that. Even though that was about two to three grand more than what Ed would have paid, I still think it was a reasonable proposition. A third of the price for 85+% of it’s lifecycle is the exact type of bargain I would usually seek if I were an owner instead of the dealer. .

Unfortunately the guy selling it will likely want at least 12 grand for it on Ebay. Throw in the auction fee and transport… and $10,500 will be the amount he has in it even before changing the four rotting tires and giving it a tune-up.

Today’s buys included the following…

2010 Toyota Prius 50k (Frame Damage) : $17,300

2009 Dodge Caliber SXT (92k, Auto, Alloy) $ 7,500

2003 Infiniti FX35 123k (Leather, 4WD): $12,300

1998 Lexus LS400 165k (White, Fleet) $ 6,600

1998 Volvo S70 (5-speed, Base, White) $1,515

1997 Lincoln Town Car 59k (INOP, Needs Paint) $ 700

I’ll leave it up to the Best & Brightest to figure out which one of these six I bought. I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t a home run by any means. Given that there were 95 dealers looking at the exact same vehicles at the same time, the opportunity for a grand slam today just wasn’t there.

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2 of 23 comments
  • Bimmer Bimmer on Jul 27, 2011

    S70 for sure, possibly a Lincoln.

  • Steven Lang Steven Lang on Jul 27, 2011

    Bimmer nailed it. I bought the Volvo. I have a very soft spot for Volvos from the mid to late 1990's. The pre-Ford Volvos along with Subarus and Saabs made up about a third of my sales when I started out. The Lincoln I got outbid by a good friend of mine. He has a 'machine' of four lots and about 20 people to support. Thankfully my obligations aren't nearly that much. We both happened to have spare engines for the Lincoln. It had sat for about 5 years although the interior was in fairly decent shape. Black on black with 1997 being the last year of that generation. I think he ended up with a better buy but that's how the business goes sometimes. I also ended up getting a 1996 Dodge Intrepid ES with 28k for $400. For some reason the 'auction' had a longer list of inops than usual and some were running before they got to the sale. The Intrepid will more than likely need a new engine. I'll find out by the end of the week.

  • ToolGuy Seems pretty reasonable to me. (Sorry)
  • Luke42 When I moved from Virginia to Illinois, the lack of vehicle safety inspections was a big deal to me. I thought it would be a big change.However, nobody drives around in an unsafe car when they have the money to get their car fixed and driving safely.Also, Virginia's inspection regimine only meant that a car was safe to drive one day a year.Having lived with and without automotive safety inspections, my confusion is that they don't really matter that much.What does matter is preventing poverty in your state, and Illinois' generally pro-union political climate does more for automotive safety (by ensuring fair wages for tradespeople) than ticketing poor people for not having enough money to maintain their cars.
  • ToolGuy When you are pulled over for speeding, whether you are given a ticket or not should depend on how attractive you are.Source: My sister 😉
  • Kcflyer What Toyota needs is a true full size body on frame suv to compete with the Expedition and Suburban and their badge engineered brethren. The new sequoia and LX are too compromised in capacity by their off road capabilities that most buyers will never use.
  • ToolGuy Rock crushes scissors, scissors cut paper, paper covers rock, and drywall dents sheet metal.