Last weekend’s Raleigh Classic Car Auction was full of special cars, but prior to the event we weren’t sure to what lengths buyers would go to fight over them. Turns out, a number of well-kept vehicles attracted serious bids. Here are some of the offerings that sold for more than their top-condition average values.
1990 Chevrolet Suburban
Sale Price: $38,850
Average value in #1 (Concours) condition: $26,500
At nearly $40K, you could almost buy a brand new Suburban—but that wouldn’t be as cool. Even when selling for 47 percent above Concours condition value, this 1990 Chevrolet Suburban is still a lot of truck for the money. With only 21,000 miles from new, this Suburban is flawless and completely original. The overtly red corduroy interior looks brand new on all three rows of bench seating (which still leaves a surprisingly large cargo area).
1981 Datsun 280ZX
Sale Price: $24,300
Average value in #1 (Concours) condition: $19,400
This 280ZX is an incredible survivor which was owned by the same family for the first 36 years and only driven 24,000 miles. The striking Blue and Diamond Mist Metallic paint over a matching velour interior looks brand new. Although previously overlooked, the 280ZX has started to gain attention in the collector car world. In fact, our data shows the 280ZX now outpaces its “more desirable” siblings. In the last quarter, the 280ZX saw a 14 percent increase in traffic while the 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z remained relatively flat. This could be a sign that the market is starting to turn for later Z generations as the S30 moves out of the budget for many enthusiasts. Big sales like this are likely to continue.
1991 Mazda Miata Special Edition
Sale Price: $30,510
Average value in #1 (Concours) condition: $29,290 (with 15 percent Special Edition premium)
The 1991 Special Edition is the most-coveted Miata ever made. So, its not surprising that a flawless example with only 8000 original miles would be the first Miata to break the 30-grand barrier. The NA Miata has recently moved from “cheap roadster” to “investment” status as low-mileage examples become harder to find. This, in turn, has driven up price—the average #1 (Concours) condition value increased 10 percent in the last year alone (from $22,800 to $25,100). This is a record for a stock NA Miata, and at this price you could buy a Miata that’s 30 years newer. However, while that new ND will depreciate the second you drive it, this NA will only become more valuable.
1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT Spyder
Sale Price: $28,620
Average value in #1 (Concours) condition: $21,200
Radwood’s influence is being felt in the market. Obscure cars from the 1990s, especially from Japan, have been selling for insane prices. This 1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT SL Spyder is no exception, checking all the boxes. Weird styling? Check. Rare? Only 1034 Spyders ever produced—check. Unnecessarily complicated technology? The retractable hardtop added 400 pounds and rendered the trunk completely unusable when down—check. Fun fact: the 3000GT Spyder was the first retractable hardtop sold in America since the 1959 Ford Skyliner. This 3000GT is in amazing condition and was only driven 42,000 miles under single-family ownership from new. The SL trim was front-wheel-drive with a naturally-aspirated 3.0-liter V-6 making 222 horsepower—not too bad for 1995, but a major step down from the more desirable VR4’s all-wheel-drive and 320 horsepower twin-turbocharged V-6.
1985 Cadillac Eldorado
Sale Price: $21,600
Average value in #1 (Concours) condition: $18,600
Luxury cars from this time period have been doing well lately. The average #1-condition value for a 1979–85 Cadillac Eldorado has increased 58 percent in the last two years, from $12,200 to $19,300. It makes sense; they just don’t make cars like they used to. The boxy styling with right angle metalwork is something we likely to never see again. This Eldorado in particular could be the best surviving example of it’s kind. This car was originally bought by a woman who’s husband bought an identical Eldorado on the same day. Since they had two identical cars, they ended up only driving one of them, which explains why this Eldo has only 3800 miles.
Other notable sales
Although it was in definite need of a refresh, a 1975 Bricklin SV-1 with 200 actual miles sold for $35,640 (right at #1-condition value).
A wood-paneled brown-on-brown-on-brown 1986 Chrysler LeBaron Mark Cross Town & Country commanded a $15,660 sale price—possibly the highest price ever paid for a LeBaron convertible that wasn’t associated with Frank Sinatra or Lee Iacocca.
A fully original 1970 Chevrolet Corvette 454 Coupe sold for just over its Concours-condition value of $74,000 (when all options are considered). This Corvette was driven only 7400 miles and has its original factory tires. The listing didn’t say if the tires hold their original St. Louis air.