6 bargains from the 2020 Monterey online auctions

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Bonhams

Although nothing can stop the Dawn Patrol hats from going out (patience, people), there wasn’t much of a Monterey Car Week this year—for obvious reasons. Thankfully, despite the pandemic canceling just about everything, there was the usual flurry of auctions, albeit online and pared down to three major sales: RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Company, and Bonhams. There were still 262 vehicles on offer, however, and even though the focus (as usual for Monterey) was on the high-end stuff, we kept an eye out for deals, like we always do. And when we say “deals,” we don’t necessarily mean “cheap,” we mean there were some cars that sold for a lot less than we thought they would. Here are the six that most surprised us.

1973 Triumph GT6 Mk III

1973 Triumph GT6 MK III front three-quarter
Bonhams

Bonhams, Lot 14

Estimate: $25,000–$35,000 / Sold for $12,880

Hagerty Price Guide condition #2 (Excellent) value: $18,700

When the GT6 was new, Triumph priced it to compete with the MGB GT. For years the two little British coupes were worth about the same, despite the Triumph being rarer, prettier, quicker, and sporting two more cylinders. The secret got out, however, and good GT6s have been selling for more serious money lately—n some cases more than 20 or even 30 grand. This price was a few years behind the curve. The car was the fifth lot of the Bonhams sale, so maybe people weren’t paying close attention yet. Bidding opened at 10 grand and then stalled there. It took forever to get to the $11,500 hammer bid, but the new owner could likely flip this one pretty easily, or just bask in the joy of getting a great car at a rock-bottom price. Buyer’s choice.

1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Convertible

1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Convertible front three-quarter
Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company, Lot 58

Estimate: $50,000 –$70,000 / Sold for $39,600

HPG value: N/A

The 1940 model year was the first time Lincoln used the “Continental” name on one of its cars. It was also the first use of the now-famous “Continental kit,” as lack of trunk space in the original car resulted in an enclosed spare wheel stuck upright on the tail. Just 350 of these original Continental convertibles were built in 1940, largely by hand and powered by the silky smooth Lincoln-Zephyr V-12. They even had a power-operated top. In 1940!

This car has rarity and good looks going for it, it’s a CCCA Full Classic, and it’s an older concours-restored car with the trophies to prove it. A result under 40 grand for such a beauty amounts to a real score for the buyer. Even more surprising? When we realized it sold for $88,000 in Scottsdale back in 2009.

1957 Ford Thunderbird

1957 Ford Thunderbird T Bird Yellow front three-quarter
Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company, Lot 32

Estimate: $45,000–$55,000 / Sold for $44,000

HPG condition #3 (Good) value: $68,400

This T-Bird looked just a little rough around the edges, but it’s a two-owner California car that’s largely original, other than a 1970s repaint and some older mechanical freshening. It’s also a desirable three-speed manual car with the “E-Code” 270-hp dual carb engine. With all that going for it, we would have expected this car to easily be on the other side of 50 grand.

1971 Volkswagen Transporter by Peter Brock

1971 Volkswagen Transporter by Peter Brock front three-quarter
RM Sotheby's/Maxx Hostak

RM, Lot 209

Estimate: $70,000–$90,000 / Sold for $27,500

HPG value: N/A

Us car folks mostly know Pete Brock for, well, car stuff. He designed the original Corvette Stingray racer and the Shelby Daytona Coupe, and his Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) Datsuns cleaned up in SCCA racing in the 1970s. After the BRE days, though, Brock really got into hang gliding and founded Ultralite Products, which eventually became the largest hang gliding company in the world. That’s where this old VW bus comes in.

Built as a support vehicle for long-distance hang gliding competition, it has custom touches from Brock like the aerodynamic roof rack and, most importantly, the Buick 215-cubic-inch V-8 sitting in the back. Offered directly from the Brock family and recently featured on Jay Leno’s Garage, it sold for less than half of RM’s presale estimate—and about what a decent stock 1971 Transporter would. So the buyer effectively got the Peter Brock history, with the V-8 power out back thrown in for free.

1967 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

1965 Volkswagen Beetle Bug Cabriolet front three-quarter
Bonhams

Bonhams, Lot 11

Estimate: $18,000–$24,000 / Sold for $15,680

HPG condition #3 (Good) value: $22,000

This isn’t dirt cheap for a Beetle, but for a clean, restored ’67 convertible in a good color and sporting both a rebuilt engine and rare fender skirts? It’s a heck of a deal. It was a good day for VW bargains in general, as later in the day a ’62 Beetle convertible (Lot 50) brought only $16,800 and a nice ’65 Karmann Ghia (Lot 103) coupe went to a new home at just $14,560.

1967 Maserati Mexico 4.7

1967 Maserati Mexico Coupe by Vignale front three-quarter
RM Sotheby's

RM, Lot 141

Estimate: $120,000–$140,000 / Sold for $106,700

HPG condition #3 value: $143,000

The Vignale-styled Mexico isn’t the most inspiring car Maserati ever built, but it’s a handsome, fast, comfortable, classic Italian thoroughbred with room for four. This one ticked the right boxes with its 4.7-liter engine (up from 4.2), five-speed manual, and power steering, and aside from some general wear it’s a fundamentally good car condition-wise. We saw it up close in Scottsdale three years ago and rated it in #2- (somewhere between good and excellent) condition. It sold there for $137,500, which itself wasn’t a massive result for a 4.7-liter Mexico. Yes, 106 grand is a ton of money, but considering the car it bought, it’s a bargain.

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