Six big collector car auctions concluded last weekend in Scottsdale, Ariz. While the extravaganza was anchored by the massive 1,400-car Barrett-Jackson sale, five other sales took place around the same time, all within a 40-mile radius. And in addition to the usual Corvettes, Mustangs and Chevelles, there were some interesting oddballs that crossed the block. Here are some of our favorites:
- 1953 Mochet Micro Panel Truck – This tiny panel truck was built in France by George Mochet, the inventor of the recumbent bike. It’s powered by a 125cc motorcycle engine, which means that the new owner won’t be hauling anything much heavier than a couple of baguettes and a croissant or two. It sold for $30,000 at Barrett-Jackson.
- 2005 Ford Excursion custom convertible – This was simply bizarre. A huge Excursion SUV with the top chopped off, no side windows, a rain top, giant lift and a huge rhino bar. Probably ideal for stalking and hunting the North American wooly mammoth – had that beast not gone extinct during the last ice age. Failing that most obvious use, we’re scratching our heads. $17,000 at Silver Auctions
- 1957 BMW Isetta – The Isetta was built to give still relatively impoverished post-war West Germans something better than a scooter to get around in. Terribly cute and with a single door in front, BMW soon moved on to bigger and better things. But auction bidders almost always respond by opening their wallets when one of these egg-like oddities crosses the block. $34,000 at Gooding and Company
- 1950 Crosley Hot Shot – The little Crosley Hot Shot was actually America’s first post-war sports car. Tiny in the extreme, it sported a tiny 44-cubic-inch four-cylinder engine with a block made not of cast iron but welded stamped tin. There’s a reason why you want things like anvils and engine blocks to be made out of iron, as this hare-brained idea proved. Oddly enough, Hot Shots were driven by some wealthy (and apparently very eccentric) people like Nelson Rockefeller and Frank Lloyd Wright. This one sold for $24,000 at Barrett-Jackson.
- 1983 Aston Martin Lagonda – An extremely odd-looking four-door sedan out of the box, when Lagondas broke they broke bad. Quad-cam Aston Martin V-8s aren’t easy to fix (and we’re guessing that something seriously let go on the inside of this one’s original engine), nor are the Pong-era digital gauges easy to deal with when they give the black screen of death. So why not make one of the world’s most unique customs? This one sported shiny chrome wheels, pearlescent white paint and a GM crate motor. $57,000 at Russo and Steele.
- 1989 Laforza – This was the 5.0-litre Ford V-8 version of the Rayton-Fissore Magnum 4X4. It was essentially an Italian Range Rover copy. Exceedingly rare anywhere on the planet, what this odd all-wheel-drive beast was doing in sunny Arizona was anyone’s guess. It sold at Russo and Steele for $12,000.
- 1967 Wolseley Limousine – According to the information supplied by the auction company, this car was converted by R. Nicholson Coachbuilders in Halifax, most likely for the funeral trade. It was actually quite well presented and sold for just $9,500. Again, how the hell it got to the U.S. and what it was doing there is a giant mystery.
- 1971 Pinzgauer 712M – This SIX-wheel-drive Austrian military vehicle built by Steyr-Daimler-Puch was rather a sight to behold, tucked under a tent next to an Alfa Romeo Spider looking like it fancied the idea of squashing said Alfa. Again, the all-weather capable Pinzgauer is just the thing for Phoenix, Arizona, where the average January temperature hovers around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It failed to sell on a high bid of $20,000.