Across The Block: Mecum Auctions, Anaheim
It seems that I have much to learn about the classic car auction scene. A yearly January couch session with beer and remote in hand is clearly not enough to understand how cars go under the gavel. Depending on how I feel like keeping score, I’ve slipped well below the Mendoza line in my two short weeks handicapping vintage auto sales.
Fortunately, I have another chance for redemption this weekend. Once again, Mecum is doing the selling, this time in sunny Anaheim, California. I’m now seriously regretting not flying west to cover this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show.
Sorry. It’s ugly, I know. But how many other companies best known for making motorcycle saddles start building cars? This is such an interesting little vehicle.
Moviegoers of a certain age might recognize it from Austin Powers in Goldmember:
Otherwise, it’s a pretty basic three-wheel electric commuter.
My guess: $5,000.
Always a hit, the early Series 1 E-Types are beloved for the purity of the design — later cars lost the glass-covered headlamps, grew larger bumpers, and had the dashboard toggle switches replaced with plastic rocker switches. In classic British Racing Green, this is sure to be a hit.
I should have one of these in my garage. My dad very nearly bought one in the early 1970s when he lived in New Jersey. But for an unfortunate under-bonnet fire on his test drive, he would have bought it instead of an MGB.
Mercifully, this car has a fire extinguisher in the passenger footwell.
The market for a well-restored (or well preserved original) E-Type is always strong, with early cars consistently bringing well into six figures.
My guess: $145,000.
I’m likely one of the very few auto enthusiasts who has little desire to drive a VW Microbus. It’s an icon, certainly, as symbol for the free love Sixties, and a supporting cast member in dozens of movies, but I can’t imagine driving one of these for any significant time can be anything but terrifying. Minimal horsepower and a tall, wind-catching profile have to make this slow and scary on the road.
Still, people love them. This one seems to be perfectly restored, and looks possibly better than new. They can bring some serious money if they are right.
My guess: $85,000.
It sounds so simple – a powerful Ford V8 in a lightweight European roadster. It’s been done plenty of times before, but the ‘90s brought us something completely different. It’s not the prettiest of cars out there, even though De Tomaso designed it, but it’s certainly eye catching. It should be plenty of fun to drive, with a then-current Ford Cobra powertrain. The convertible top is interesting, too — the center section can be removed to reveal a targa-like cockpit, and the rear section can rotate into the trunk.
My guess: $45,000.
Carlisle doesn’t list the top bid price if the car doesn’t sell — which was the case for three of the five cars I looked at last week. The MG TC appears to have been withdrawn from the sale — no results are listed for it.
The only sale of my five picks was the bargain — the 1988 Buick Reatta. I guessed, apparently assuming there was either a gold brick or plenty of fine white powder in the trunk, a whopping $5,000.
It sold for $1,500.
So, please, rip apart my guesses again, and make some picks of your own. We’ll see how things turn out next week.
[Images: Mecum Auction, Inc.]
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