The first of Auctions America’s two annual Auburn sales runs from May 5-7 at the historic Auburn Auction Park, where almost 500 vehicles are set to cross the block. In addition to the auction excitement, there will be a car corral and swap meet as well as the AACA’s Special National Spring Meet, where another 300 classic cars are expected to attend.
Auctions America typically gathers an appealingly diverse group of cars for their sales, and one of the most enticing things about their auctions is the number of cars selling at relatively affordable prices. Last year, the average price was less than $25,000 and there were a number of tantalizing bargains. As for this year, here are five interesting lots that we’ll be watching.
1966 Shelby GT350
Presale estimate: $200,000 - $225,000
Before Shelby Mustangs got bigger and more bloated at the end of the ‘60s, there was the GT350. This was the first Shelby Mustang and it was more competition-oriented and driver-focused. For road racers, the GT350, with its numerous SCCA B-Production championships, is the classic Mustang to have. Auctions America’s example is a 1966 model, which was slightly more civilized than its bare bones ‘65 predecessor. Finished in the famous Wimbledon White with blue Le Mans striped combination, the car has also been fitted with four Weber carburetors in place of the old single four-barrel. And yes, it also has the obligatory silver Sharpie Carroll Shelby signature on the dash.
1948 Chrysler Town & Country Convertible
Presale estimate: $100,000 - $125,000
In its day, the Town & Country Convertible was the most expensive model in Chrysler’s range, in part due to what looks like a small forest’s worth of wood covering the car’s enormous doors and tail. Over 8,000 were built, but far fewer are left and they remain collectible as one of the more lavish cars of the immediate postwar years. Auctions America’s example appears to have been restored at some point, and it features a power top and Chrysler’s famous Fluid Drive transmission.
1965 Chevrolet Corvair Corsa Convertible
Presale estimate: $25,000 - $35,000
The Corvair was only the second production automobile available with a turbocharged engine. In 1965, the car’s gorgeous second generation debuted, and the Corsa became the turbocharged model replacing the Monza. The example available in Auburn is a genuine 180-hp turbocharged Corsa convertible that was fully restored in 2007 and reportedly barely driven since. It also has the desirable four-speed manual, and stands out even further with its unusual but attractive Evening Orchid paint.
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
Presale estimate: $85,000 - $95,000
When the hand-built Cadillac Eldorado Brougham came out, it cost more than a Rolls-Royce and Cadillac still lost money on every one they sold. A highly complex automobile with power everything as well as air suspension, it was as much a design and engineering showpiece for Cadillac as it was an automobile. Auctions America’s example has had a body-off restoration that retained the original interior but replaced the complex (and expensive to repair) air suspension with more conventional bits. It also includes some of the rarely kept original accessories that came with this top shelf car, including drink tumblers with magnetic bottoms, signature perfume and cigarette case with lighters.
1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 SWB
Presale estimate: $50,000 - $75,000
The 600 was Mercedes-Benz over-engineering at its finest. For example, almost all of the power accessories were operated by a single hydraulic system that used mineral oil. The 600 was available in multiple body styles, and while the one offered at Auburn is one of the standard short wheelbase sedans, it’s still a gigantic automobile and, like many 600s, features a mini-bar in the center console for the rear passengers. There is, however, no word about the car’s service history. Major repairs on a 600 can be ruinously expensive, so buyer beware.