Mecum’s biannual Kansas City auction last weekend brought $8.2 million in total sales, but the headliner was a 2005 Ford GT that hammered at $265,000. Further down the price ladder, there were plenty of interesting cars to choose from, as well. And while Mecum attracts a lot of bidders and most cars have a reserve, there are always a few that fly under the radar and change hands for the kind of temptingly low prices that make you mutter, “Man, I wish I’d brought my checkbook.”
This wedge-shaped TVR 280i, powered by a Ford Cologne V-6 and built in Blackpool, England, crossed the block with no reserve on the first day of the auction. Most of the Kansas City bidders had probably never seen one before and perhaps had no idea what it was, but who can blame them? It brought decent money but still at bargain price, considering its performance and rarity. Only about 2600 TVR wedge cars of all types were built. Earlier TVRs have been soaring in value, so it’s likely only a matter of time before more interest turns to these later cars. In a year or two, this price may look dirt cheap for a 280i.
The Mitsubishi 3000GT was a technical tour de force in the early 1990s, with twin turbochargers and intercoolers, all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering, active aerodynamics, two-mode exhaust, and electronically-controlled suspension. They can be a pain to live with, and they curiously haven’t enjoyed the same adulation in the collector car market as similar ’90s Japanese performance icons, but this was still a shockingly low price. While it was represented with 87,000 miles and finished in boring colors, it was also a three-owner car with a clean history and lots of recent maintenance, so selling for half our current condition #3 value seems odd.
Few people would call a purple C5 Corvette with yellow graphics, yellow wheels, and even yellow seats “pretty,” but these are actually kind of valuable. We’ve also already called out that special versions of the C5 are starting to gain value. The one in Kansas City sold on the low end, partly because someone actually covered more than 25,000 miles in this look-at-me-mobile. It is a desirable convertible with six-speed, however, so it’s surprising that it didn’t bring more.
The Dart got a redesign for 1963, which resulted in a huge sales increase, and these early third-generation Darts are instantly recognizable with their big twin circular headlights and narrow grille. The Dart GT was the premium model that only came in two-door hardtop or convertible body styles, so although they are fairly basic cars that make for good entry-level classics, the GT Convertible is worth more than most. This one is not represented as having been restored at any point, but it appears to have no major problems, a nice interior, and a tidy engine bay. It still sold for only two-thirds of what a good driver-quality car typically demands.
Late in the C3’s run, there wasn’t a whole lot of performance or choice when it came time to buy a Corvette. The only particularly collectible models from those years in the late 1970s and early ’80s are the Pace Car and Silver Anniversary editions from 1978 and the Collector Edition of 1982. They can actually carry a fairly hefty premium over the equivalent base model. The 1982 Collector Edition was a cosmetic package that offered special 1967-style wheels, special Silver Beige paint, matching leather interior, and badging. Despite driving equally underwhelmingly as any other late C3, Collector Edition versions look good, and since only 6759 were built, they typically sell for extra grand or three. This car had 63,000 miles at the time of the sale, but it appears to have been well kept and sold well under driver money.