The big auction weekends in Pebble Beach and Scottsdale aren’t notorious places to snag a bargain. But occasionally, some slip through. It’s often the same of several situations. The first is the “fish-out-of-water” scenario, where a car turns up consigned to an auction company that doesn’t typically sell that type of car. The second simply involves the bidders being asleep at the switch; usually, this happens in the afterglow of a huge sale when a lot of the money is at the bidder’s bar or otherwise taking a break. Here are five of the notable deals from Scottsdale 2013:
- 1965 Shelby GT350 ($159,000, Bonhams): This sale was a classic example of the fish-out-of-water scenario. Bonhams is an upper-crust very British auction house known more for selling European cars than American muscle. The ’65 GT350 is probably the purest and most desirable of the Mustang-based cars created by Carroll Shelby. This one went for about half of what they were selling for in 2007.
- 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass ($22,000, Barrett-Jackson): No ordinary malaise-era Olds, this was a vintage stock car that was created by legendary builder Banjo Matthews for Junior Johnson. It was actually raced by the equally legendary Cale Yarborough in 1977 and 1978 and authenticated by him. The sale price included an autographed period Bell helmet.
- 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 ($280,000, Barrett-Jackson): Everyone — including Corvette legend Ken Lingenfelter — was asleep in the room when this L88 crossed the block. Sporting more than 500 hp (purposely underrated by GM to discourage purchase by non-racers), this was the last of the legendary L88s, and someone bought it nearly half price.
- 1971 Dino 246 GTB ($181,000, Bonhams): While this car did indeed make its high estimate, compared with the days of $500,000 chairs and flares 246 Dino Spiders, this looks like a screaming deal (it’s about what a brilliantly restored ’71 Porsche 911S might bring).
- 1975 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40 ($16,225, Russo and Steele): If you’d asked us 10 years ago if we ever thought we’d be listing in the bargain column a Japanese SUV from the 1970s that sold in the high teens, we’d have likely have answered with a resounding no. But in a weekend where Land Cruisers were red hot and one sold for more than 80 grand, this one was a bargain. Maybe not as fresh as the others, it was a decent truck that sold for a fraction of the other Land Cruisers on offer.