The Amelia Island auctions have a well-established reputation for bringing top dollar for some of the finest sports cars on the planet. Last year alone saw Gooding & Company achieve an impressive $17.16-million sale price on a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider, and this year Gooding will offer a 1957 Jaguar XKSS 716 with a similarly lofty estimate. Like all auctions, however, the beauty of Amelia auction week lies in its diversity, including more attainable options. Here are a handful of cars that have us excited.
1967 Datsun 1600 Convertible
Hagerty Price Guide: $8,000-$45,500
Motostalgia, Lot 6
Datsun’s Fairlady has evolved past the “a better MGB for less money” appeal. Yes, it is still arguably better than its British counterpart, but for the past several years it has been priced accordingly. The 1967 model is particularly awesome with its low windshield, flat dash, charming dashboard switches and better pre-emissions performance. Available at no reserve and running early in the Motostalgia sale, this has all the makings of a deal.
1990 Mazda Miata
Hagerty Price Guide: $2,400-$15,700
Bonhams, Lot 119
Purists may scoff at the notion that a Mazda Miata has earned a lot number at a boutique collector car auction, but the model is on the gray side of 25 years old. The old school may also be offended that it may take $15,000 to bring this example home— after all, these things are five grand all day long on Craigslist, right? Well, pristine Miatas are as scarce as beat-up ones are common, and this particular example has fewer than 7,000 miles on the clock. It is in remarkably good shape and has a dealer-installed supercharger to boost the fun. In coming years, these will become a bigger part of the scene than TR6s, MGs or Sprites. Purists, welcome to the new school.
1987 Porsche 924 S
Hagerty Price Guide: $3,500-$25,400
RM Sotheby’s, Lot 211
After years in the wilderness, the so-called transaxle Porsches are gaining their due. Rather than being judged for what they are not—air-cooled and rear-engined—they are being evaluated by newer collectors for what they are: affordable ‘80s Porsches. RM is selling this 924 without reserve but it’s different from the Porsche you’ve seen parked just outside of town being swallowed by weeds, so plan to spend more than $2,000. Still, try finding another Porsche for less than this one’s $20,000 low estimate. It’s not going to happen this week in Amelia Island.
1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 Convertible
Hagerty Price Guide: $6,800-$22,900
Hollywood Wheels, Lot 203
Mercedes built approximately 12,000 E320 Cabriolets, with nearly half coming to the U.S. in 1994 and ’95. These were extraordinary cars in their day, with their near $90,000 MSRP reflected in their largely hand-built nature. The complex power tops still mesmerize onlookers but create some parts-availability challenges today. Fortunately, these were high-quality cars, and most mechanical components were shared with the millions of other contemporary W124s. They remain smooth, confident and luxurious cars from the epoch of the brand’s legendary over-engineered quality.
2001 Jaguar XKR Silverstone Convertible
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Hollywood Wheels, Lot 226
Cars of the 1990s have taken the collector car market by storm over the past few years. But the Jaguar XK series has largely been left out of the fun—until lately, that is. The supercharged XKR in particular has had one of the biggest surges in online demand as measured by Hagerty, which is a good indication that the model is poised to appreciate.
1959 Mercedes-Benz 220S Sedan
Hagerty Price Guide: $11,200-$43,500
Gooding & Company, Lot 22
The Ponton-model range carried Mercedes through the 1950s with sturdy and staid reliability, which is essentially how it functions today. The model range’s styling is reserved but classic, and its driving dynamics are confident but not exhilarating. In other words, it’s a perfectly understated collector car. The 220S had extra luxury items over the rest of the range and a little more go, making it an excellent choice. Prices have also been moving steadily upward. This sedan is an unrestored original example, which should attractive several interested parties.