While people were heaving buckets of cash at Chevy Blazers, Fox-body Mustangs, Ferraris, and even Volvos at this year’s Arizona auctions, there were nevertheless some deals to be had. After all, with nearly 3300 vehicles on offer this year, some were bound to fly under the radar.
We scoured the results to find 10 of the most tempting bargain sales that are making us wish we’d brought a cash-bucket of our own.
A documented matching-numbers SS 396 Convertible with four-speed transmission, 12-bolt rear, factory air conditioning, and restoration in its original Ermine White over two-tone fawn, this car ticks a lot of the right boxes. We rated it as a condition #2 (Excellent) example, so even though it has the lower output 325-horsepower L35 engine, 50 grand is a fairly sweet deal.
BMW 2002s have been creeping up for a while, but the Bimmer fans must have been somewhere other than Barrett-Jackson on Sunday. This car is a little rough around the edges, but it’s a desirable early round-taillight model with a repaint last year in Inka Orange, arguably the best 2002 color. It also has new seats and carpets, a five-speed from a later BMW, 15-inch alloys, stainless steel exhaust, a Weber carb, and Bilstein shocks. It’s a really neat, tastefully-done little car. Our current Condition #4 (Fair) value is $9300. Switch out the wheels for some E30 basketweaves and be the envy of Cars and Coffee.
It’s neat to see an old woodgrain-clad vintage station wagon in this day and age, since there just aren’t many left. But this particular car had GM fans geeking out, thanks to the factory 427 lurking under the hood. While it’s mostly unrestored, it is generally in good shape and we rated it as a Condition #3 (Good) car, but good luck finding another factory big-block wagon like this in any condition. We’ve never seen one before, and while $24,200 isn’t chump change, any other car out there with a factory-installed 427 is likely to cost at least twice as much.
We already called out this 1961 Elva as an oddball to watch out for in Scottsdale, and it turned out to be one of the more tempting bargains of the week as well. While there is no cheap way to go racing, this car seems like a steal at less than 20 grand. Elva Couriers are very rare and seldom come up for sale in any condition, plus this one is sorted, in good general condition, and has a mildly breathed on MGA 1600 engine that should be easy to keep running. There are far less-interesting race cars out there that cost more than this.
In an auction loaded with Ferraris, Porsches, and Benzes, sometimes the domestic cars don’t get as much attention. This Chrysler 300B, from the second year of the “Letter Series” cars, wears a 10-year-old restoration and we rated it as a #2- car. But despite the condition and the combination of 340-horse Hemi and high-tier luxury features of the “Banker’s Hot Rod,” this one went at no reserve for 19 percent below its average value.
This 1969 Sprite needs new paint and needs it badly. The large Union Jack decal covering the entire trunk lid looks tacky and has just got to go. There is also a rip in the passenger’s seat. But at $5K, you could fix it all pretty quickly and still come out pretty well at the other end. This is a later Sprite Mk IV model with the biggest available 1275-cc engine, plus it packs a little extra punch with an added Weber carb and headers. It has also had a lot of recent mechanical sorting. Our #3 (Good) value for these cars is $6100, but with a quality paint job this one could arguably approach a five-figure value.
Low-mile Fox-body (1978–93) Mustangs were one of the hot things in Arizona this year, with a still-in-the-wrapper ’93 Cobra R selling for an eye-popping $132,000. Fourth-gen SN-95 (1994–2004) Mustangs, on the other hand, were not so hot. But since the Mustang has such broad appeal and because there were several special performance models spun out of that SN-95 era, it will become more collectible eventually. One of the deals to be had was this Cobra SVT coupe, a one-owner car with 8237 miles. Given the typical premium for low miles and a short list of owners, we were surprised this car didn’t go for more, as our typical #2 (Excellent) value for a 2001 Cobra SVT is $16,700.
Sure, $95K for something with 160 horsepower and no windows doesn’t sound like much of a bargain, but the XK 120 is seminal sports car not to mention one of the prettiest things on four wheels, and really good examples are six-figure cars. This one, on the other hand, crossed the block early in Bonhams’ sale at no reserve, and despite being a matching-numbers example with a relatively fresh restoration and in #2 (Excellent) condition, it sold for 26-percent under its average value.
No car built by Georgia-based Panoz is going to win any beauty contests, but with the AIV (Aluminum Intensive Vehicle) Roadster you get a hand-built aluminum roadster that will hit 60 mph in a few ticks over four seconds, thanks to its SVT Cobra engine. Panoz also built just 176 examples, so there are rarely two of them in the same place. The AIV Roadster cost about 65 grand when it was new and the handful of examples for sale online are asking over 40 grand currently, so this 6477-mile example at $33,000 seems like a deal, especially when you consider that this very same car sold here six years ago for $55,000.
This might have been the deal of the week in terms of charm per dollar. This white-over-red Morris Minor 1000 has a few paint issues and light general wear, but it’s restored and lovely for the most part, so we rated it at a #2- before it crossed the block. It went towards the tail end of the sale, when much of the room had cleared out. The one and only bidder, a woman from Illinois, raised her hand at a $5K starting bid and 30 seconds later became the owner of a lovely little classic for well over 50 percent less than its average value. Nicely done.