24 March 2017

Auction Recap: 2017 Amelia Island Steals and Deals

No matter how many seven-figure lots an auction showcases, or how expensive the cars may seem, every venue has some deals. Out of the 554 vehicles offered at the 2017 Amelia Island auctions, following are the ones that appeared like particularly good buys (listed alphabetically by manufacturer). Read on for inspiration and encouragement.

1956 Continental Mk II
Sold for $49,500
Hagerty Price Guide: $23,500 - $127,000
Lot 161, Bonhams
Continental Mk IIs are some of the most striking cars made by an American manufacturer in the 1950s. They were hand-built, exclusive, and wildly expensive at $10,000—and the Ford Motor Company famously lost money on each and every one it sold (which wasn’t many). With the Mk II’s mile-long panels, limited trim availability, and heavy use of chrome, restoration costs are exceedingly high. This example looked sharp in black and was in fine condition. Consider it very well bought if the new owner resists the urge to bring it to concours condition.

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL
Sold for $51,700
Hagerty Price Guide: $50,000 - $176,000
Lot 156, Bonhams
Mercedes 280SLs have been star performers in the market since 2013, but for some reason this one didn’t impress the Bonhams’ crowd on Thursday. It had a four-speed manual transmission and was in excellent condition, but was largely ignored by bidders, finishing at an all-in price of $51,700. Compare this result to the 1985 380SL at the same venue that was in essentially the same condition and sold for nearly the same amount of money ($46,200) and ask yourself which you’d rather have. Yes, buyers have been increasingly interested in younger cars, but this sale is an important reminder that such shifts open up opportunities for old favorites at the same time.

1992 Porsche 911 America Roadster
Sold for $74,800
Hagerty Price Guide: $66,000 - $137,000
Lot 288, RM Sotheby’s
Only 250 examples of the rare 911 America roadster were built over a two year period, with fender flares, Turbo suspension and brakes, special wheels, and a rear parcel shelf in place of seats all making the model unique. Porsche buyers adore low-production specials and the America is no exception, as it sells for multiples of what the Carrera 2 Cabriolet from the same year does. This car was less than perfect, but still sold cheaply. Perhaps this car’s Hawaiian history and subsequent specter of rust scared bidders off. If none is found, this one was bought at a discount.

1960 Rolls-Royce Phantom V PW Limo
Sold for $52,800
Hagerty Price Guide: $73,000 - $111,000 (-30% for RHD)
Lot 79, Gooding & Company
The Phantom V was Rolls-Royce’s top offering in the 1960s, being built to order by celebrities, heads of state, and captains of industry around the world. Ownership history, coachbuilder, and driving configuration are the big value drivers here, and this offering had mixed grades in those categories. Its history was fairly well known, but it was a right-hand-drive car, and a less-attractive four-headlight model. Reportedly, it also had some mid-‘70s bodywork done. If nothing else though, given this Rolls’ sheer weight and size, it had to be one of the most affordable cars when judged by price per pound or inch.

1968 Shelby GT500 KR convertible
Sold for $116,600
Hagerty Price Guide: $125,000 - $228,000
Lot 8, Gooding & Company
Shelby muscle, a convertible roof, and Mustang-good looks make the GT500 KR (which stands for “King of the Road”) an absolute blast to drive. This example is equipped with an automatic transmission, which hurts value a bit, but this car was well under the $160,000 low estimate and far below Hagerty Price Guide value as well. It sold at the 2012 Gooding Amelia Island auction in similar condition for $140,250. Assuming no new stories were uncovered over the last five years, the buyer did very well here.

10 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Damian Vitale Silicon Valley CA March 29, 2017 at 16:36
    The "steal" at auction of a vintage automobile, may for the buy side and auction house be good news. There is very troubling news for the sellers and new buyers using and saving retirement money to invest in their future. The beauty of a vintage car investment is the potential appreciation over time while you pamper and adore your treasure. To loose 10's of thousands of dollars for most folks stretching to invest, is non ideal for the industry and individuals who endulge. A needed story is what will cause the market to remain robust so more folks are comfortable swapping IRS's for GT500KR convertibles and other investment grade automobiles.
  • 2
    Jack Nelson Southampton, NY March 29, 2017 at 17:54
    Anything "special" about the '85 380 sl? Miles, Euro w/MT, ownership? Interesting result Perhaps one of the more "difficult" colors on the Shelby than others, yet still looks stunning in this livery.
  • 3
    Dave A. Arizona March 29, 2017 at 20:46
    No big surprise the Shelby didn't get a higher bid. The paint color is ugly and it has a black interior - which is a good way to roast yourself on a hot day driving with the top down.
  • 4
    Renato arias Illinois March 29, 2017 at 20:52
    I own a 1970 Mercedes 280 sl; body, engine floor, mats have been restored. It's automatic - quote me a price pease.
  • 5
    Bart De Kunstenaar Florida April 1, 2017 at 06:23
    I love my Porsche and there are several classics that I wish I would have bought when they were reasonable but the idea of using automobiles (or antiques or Beany Babies for that matter) as a retirement strategy seems no better than day trading. Unless you start with enough money to diversify among many markets and have enough range of knowledge to really know what you're doing in each, go to a good financial planner and take their advice. Ask the man who bought a nice brass car 25 years ago and is now trying to sell it for half of what he paid for it. If most of what you own must increase in value in order for you to be financially sound, you are in the wrong mind set. It's called a Hobby for a reason.
  • 6
    frank dunlevy San Francisco April 2, 2017 at 16:29
    Damian, no one should ever use retirement money for this type of luxury/vanity purchase. Put your money in a good S%P 500 ETF that pays a decent dividend. the prices for these kinds of toys can fluctuate 70 % and they do not generate any income.
  • 7
    Gary RI April 4, 2017 at 15:37
    What is the value right now for a 57 TBird with two tops in very good condition?
  • 8
    Jim Higerd Evergreen April 5, 2017 at 11:59
    I have found the secret to not losing money in classic cars is to not fall in love with one particular car so you end up paying more than the car will be worth down the road. I also avoid auctions where the auction company takes a high percentage (from seller and buyer). That inflates the value without adding anything except a commission (sometimes as high as 15%). The auction houses do provide a service so not arguing about that but I prefer to shop myself. I also like to drive the cars and they are all cars I can work on. Keeps the cost down.
  • 9
    Sean Kenosha, WI April 6, 2017 at 10:28
    While I Wouldn't Use My Retirement Money To Purchase A Car Of This Magnitude. It's Still An "Investment" That One Gets To Enjoy. What The Price Tag On That Is Entirely Up To The Owner And What They Are Willing To Spend
  • 10
    Michael Bloomingdale Il April 10, 2017 at 21:46
    what is the value of 1992, 300sl only 50,000miles original very clean and good condition 2 tops

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