9 bargains that slipped under the radar in Monterey 2018

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1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster Mecum

The average sale price at this year’s Monterey auctions was over 400 grand, so it’s not exactly the place for tire-kickers or budget-stretchers. But with nearly 1400 cars and trucks on offer, at least some of them had to be a sweet deal, right? Right.

The people buying $48-million Ferrari GTOs aren’t also shopping for beat-up Chevy C10s, and with the whirlwind of races, driving events, concours shows, and cocktail parties going on all week in Monterey, sometimes there just aren’t many people in the up-front seats raising their paddles at off-peak times. With a big chunk of cars crossing the block at no reserve or just consigned by owners who really don’t want to tow a car back home, deals are bound to happen.

In order to find the bargains hidden among the big-money prices, we identified cars we inspected in the field that sold for well below their Hagerty Price Guide value based on condition. We have to admit that some of the cars that made our list are objectively expensive, but bear with us. They are all actually a solid deal when you look at their actual market value relative to what they sold for.

1971 Volkswagen Beetle

1971 Volkswagen Beetle
1971 Volkswagen Beetle Mecum

Sold for $5500

Hagerty Price Guide: $4600–$15,800

Mecum Lot T1

This ’71 Beetle has a certain charm to it, especially with a roof rack. The seller didn’t only spend money on the Coke motif, either. It has a rebuilt engine, restored interior, and new tires, enough to net a #3+ condition rating from us. Nevertheless, it sold for what amounts to project car money. Maybe Monterey is a Pepsi crowd, but at this price you’d have money left over for a decent paint job in any color you like.

1953 MG TD

1953 MG TD
1953 MG TD Mecum

Sold for $13,750

Hagerty Price Guide: $9000–$41,000

Mecum Lot T80

Yes, you can find ratty TDs on eBay for this kind of money, but this one is significantly better than that. With several paint and brightwork blemishes and some road wear underneath, it’s a perfectly good driver and could have brought closer to 20 grand without being expensive. A green interior would go great with the eye-catching cream yellow paint, and at this price you could redo it and still not be in the car for too much.

1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster

1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster
1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster Mecum

Sold for $107,250

Hagerty Price Guide: $159,000–$286,000

Mecum Lot F86

It’s a lot of money, but in this case it bought a 200-mph V-12 Lamborghini roadster with less than 16k on the odometer. Suddenly, 100 grand doesn’t sound so bad. Let go at no reserve, it was rated at a #2 condition but sold for less than half our current #2 value and well under Mecum’s modest $135,000 low estimate.

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe
1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Coupe Gooding & Company

Sold for $74,800

Hagerty Price Guide: $56,500–$173,000

Gooding & Company Lot 64

Desirably equipped with floor shift and air conditioning, as well as finished in those oh-so-German colors of Tobacco Brown over Cognac, this cosmetically restored 280 SE Coupe crossed the block second-to-last on Gooding’s first day. No-reserve cars crossing as the crowd is thinning out…that’s when the bargains happen. Rated at a #3+, it sold for what a considerably worse example would normally expect to bring.

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition

1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition
1978 Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car Edition Mecum

Sold for $17,600

Hagerty Price Guide: $15,500–$77,800

Mecum Lot T153

It has some miles on it and got a #3+ rating when we inspected it, but this Pace Car has the desirable L82 engine and four-speed combo so it could have brought somewhere on the other side of 20 grand rather than the barely more than project car price it sold for in Monterey.

1996 Porsche 911 Turbo

1996 Porsche 911 Turbo
1996 Porsche 911 Turbo Worldwide Auctions

Sold for $134,200

Hagerty Price Guide: $107,000–$265,000

Worldwide Lot 51

This car showed 33,204 miles when we inspected it and the handful of flaws got it a #2- rating, but it’s a one-owner California car with all the books and manuals, and it sold for the kind of price that normally buys you a much more heavily used example.

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Hardtop

1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Hardtop
1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Hardtop Mecum

Sold for $25,300

Hagerty Price Guide: $40,400–$74,800

Mecum Lot T98

An older restoration, this first-year Impala is still a solid driver in #3 condition. Even assuming the Tri-Power carbs are added rather than original, that doesn’t come anywhere close to explaining the bargain price here. It seems like one heck of a deal.

1978 Cadillac Eldorado

1978 Cadillac Eldorado
1978 Cadillac Eldorado Mecum

Sold for $7700

Hagerty Price Guide: $6000–$24,000

Mecum Lot T171

Dollar per cubic inch ($18.11), this might be the best deal of the week. Just forget the whole part about the 180 hp out of a 425 V-8. We rated it at #3 condition, which should put it right at 10 grand for value. In Monterey, however, the new owner got an eye-catching big-boat Caddy to cruise around in, with enough money left over for about three weeks’ worth of gas.

1973 Maserati Ghibli SS Coupe

1973 Maserati Ghibli SS Coupe
1973 Maserati Ghibli SS Coupe Mecum

Sold for $121,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $244,000–$350,000

Mecum Lot S68

Ghiblis have always been a pretty good value, all things considered. They offer similar styling and performance to a Ferrari Daytona as well as a premium badge from a company that ends in a vowel, but they can be had for less than half the price. Yellow is a good color on them and the 4.9 SS is the engine you want, but for some reason this car was let go for a rock-bottom number. A cosmetic restoration that we rated #3+, it sold at RM Phoenix back in 2011 for $101,750, but Ghibli SS Coupes have just about quadrupled in value since then. This was a bargain.

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