The annual auctions in Scottsdale during mid-January are well known for gaudy sales figures, both en masse and for individual cars. Truth be told, however, with somewhere around 2,000 vehicles trading hands, a lot of the fun is available at the lower end of the spectrum. Here are six cars priced below $75,000 that caught our attention.
1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk
Silver Auctions, Lot #278
The Golden Hawk was Studebaker’s “European”-style 1950s sports car. It was fast, stylish, and well-regarded during its time, but has since been forgotten against a backdrop of Tri-Five Chevys and late 1950s resto-mods. While most Baby Boomers imprinted on products from the Big Three, the fact remains that Stude Hawks stand out as something unique and are a bargain at the going rate.
1967 SAAB 95 V-4 Station Wagon
Gooding& Company, Lot #17,
Pre-sale estimate: $35,000-$45,000
This Saab wagon is an off-the-wall model that has conceivably never been sold during the entire recorded history of Scottsdale week. Quirky and endearing, yet practical all the same. What’s to hate? Judging by Gooding’s estimate, nothing, as this fully restored example is expected to sell at two to three times the going rate.Best-in-the-world car for best-in-the-world price?
1978 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-40
RM Auctions, Lot #107
Pre-sale estimate: $60,000-$80,000
By last count, 11 Land Cruisers were on the docket across the various venues in the 480 area code. This particular example from RM is freshly restored and carrying a hard top. FJ-40s and Broncos have historically done well in Arizona during January, and with no reserve, this one shouldn’t disappoint.
1969 American Motors AMX California Special Coupe
Bonhams, Lot #301
Presale estimate: $35,000-$45,000
The only thing louder than this AMX’s 315-hp, 390-c.i. V-8 is its Big Bad Green paint job. Well-equipped, well-restored and guaranteed to get noticed, this car opens Bonhams’ auction and could be ripe for a bargain. Like many of the cars on this list, this one’s a great case study on how an often-overlooked model can give 90 percent of the ownership experience at 50 percent of the cost of more popular models.
1964 Mercury Comet Caliente Convertible
Barrett-Jackson, Lot #43, POA
The Hot One! This Comet sports the less desirable auto trans, but the top goes down, it’s red, and it’s powered by Ford’s famous 289-c.i. V-8. So long as gremlins haven’t been stirring during the car’s recent revival from storage, this could be a nice buy.
1994 BMW 850CSi Coupe
Russo and Steele, Lot #F499
BMW 8-Series cars don’t appear at auction too often, mostly due to their rarity, and partly due to their complexity. When in good order, though, they are great grand tourers, and it is virtually impossible to find a modern V-12 with a lower cost of entry. Of course, the 850’s precipitous depreciation (losing approximately $200,000 in 18 years) has resulted in plenty of deferred maintenance for most of the cars that do surface, meaning that the cost of entry is just the beginning. This example, however, has fewer than 26,000 miles since new, which is a major plus.