There’s never a shortage of jaw-dropping, headline-grabbing sales during auction week in Scottsdale. Often they’re connected to European marques like Ferrari, Jaguar, and Alfa Romeo, or rare Detroit muscle of the 1960s and ’70s. But for an ever-increasing number of enthusiasts, the best vehicles offered in Arizona have a tailgate.
Here are eight trucks and buses we’ll be watching closely in Scottsdale this week, listed in order of when they’ll cross the block.
One of the most desirable and collectible Volkswagen models of all-time, the Samba—also known as the Sunroof Deluxe in the U.S.—is also among the most luxurious. This 21-window example comes with factory options like a sliding sunroof and six pop-out side windows. It received a full restoration in 2017, with high-quality parts sourced from Germany, and it wears fresh turquoise and white paint. As gorgeous as it is, however, the presale estimate seems a tad high, considering the Hagerty Price Guide values a 1966 VW Samba in #1 (concours) condition at $124,000.
Broncos have been inhabiting the Hagerty Vehicle Rating’s Top 25 for quite some time now, and first-gen models, in particular, have been making themselves right at home in the Top 5. Have they plateaued, or will they climb even higher? Perhaps we’ll find out at Scottsdale, and this gorgeous ’71 4x4 will be a worthy litmus test. The rust-free example has lived on the West Coast since new and is largely original, except for a quality repaint. We’ll definitely be watching.
If you love vintage pickup trucks, it doesn’t get much better than this Atlas Blue Green and Wimbledon White 3600 long bed, which underwent a full nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration in 2017. The truck carries many of its original parts and is as period-correct as possible, with mostly NOS replacement parts and a new interior. Best of all, it is equipped with its original NAPCO 4x4 Power-Pak kit. If you wanted four-wheel drive in the 1940s and ’50s, Northwest Auto Parts Company was the ticket; the Minnesota company paved the way for modern 4WD. Extremely rare and highly desirable, this may be the finest 3600 NAPCO 4x4 in the country.
Looking for something a little less “vintage,” a lot more affordable, and still highly collectible? Perhaps you’d be interested in this 1989 Shelby Dakota. Offered as a limited-production high-performance variant of the Dodge Dakota Sport midsize pickup, it features a 5.2-liter overhead-valve V-8 instead of the Dakota Sport’s standard 3.9-liter V-6. Only 1500 Shelby Dakotas were built (995 in red, 505 in white), but other performance-oriented utility vehicles—like the GMC Syclone and Ford Lightning—were produced within a few years.
Officially launched in 1970, the Land Rover Range Rover was advertised as “A Car for All Seasons.” This 1976 model is definitely a car for all roads—foreign and domestic. One of only 358 left-hand-drive European export models (according to the consignor), it was originally shipped from Great Britain to Brussels, Belgium, and later made its way to Central America, where its coffee-bean-farming owner commissioned a body-off restoration. Since early Range Rovers were never officially imported into the U.S., this is a rare bird indeed.
It may look more like a beefed-up version of a Volkswagen microbus than it does a truck, but this 1959 Mercedes-Benz O 319 is considered a commercial vehicle. Introduced in 1955 along with the L 319, its medium-duty truck sibling, the O 319 featured a front-engine layout and forward-control cab. The perfect blend of vintage curb appeal and modern amenities, this example received a meticulous, 15-year restoration and a long list of upgrades. Among the highlights: a modern, fuel-injected Mercedes-Benz gasoline engine with automatic transmission and modern air-ride suspension system; electrical upgrades to handle modern accessories; sink; stove; custom-made cabinets and lighting; leather seats; rear berth; hidden propane and water tanks; and even a solar panel.
The popularity of the rugged Dodge Power Wagon is hardly a secret. In fact, last summer it climbed all the way to the top of the Hagerty Vehicle Rating, and it was there once again (tied at No. 1 with the 1960–66 Chevrolet C/K Series) as 2017 came to a close. This beautifully restored example is a matching-numbers truck with most of its original sheet metal, finished in its original colors of green and black paint. The same truck sold for $99,000 in Scottsdale last January.
These are about as common in the U.S. as, well…OK, they aren’t. DKW’s Schnellaster Kastenwagen—or “Rapid Transit Panel Van”—was a more versatile rival to Volkswagen’s rear-engined Transporter/Kombi. This example sat for years as a glorified billboard before it was purchased and restored in 2011. It carries its original three-cylinder, two-stroke engine and many NOS parts, and it is painted in period-correct DKW colors of Jade Green and Shell White. Among the DKW’s honors is a Best in Class award at the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue. Bonus: Schnellaster Kastenwagen is fun to say.