5 desert finds from this project-car goldmine of an auction
Many of us are looking for additional car projects to occupy time. Luckily, Graham’s I-15 Auctions has a whole array of worthy candidates for sale right now on auction site Proxibid, with bidding scheduled to close on Sunday, May 3.
The cars in this sale, located in High Desert, California, appear to have sat in the desert for several years. We in the Rust Belt often dream of corrosion-free project vehicles of this nature, and a few of us on staff at Hagerty had a fun time picking out our five favorite gems from the lot list. Check them out:
1956 Chevrolet Panel Truck
Surviving panel trucks are a bit of a rarity, given they did not often stick around after years of hard, continuous service. This 1956 Series 3800 Chevrolet wears that fantastic mid-’50s styling—a relic of an era when even work trucks had design personality. Its condition looks decent, and the truck doesn’t appear to be in dire need of extensive rust repair. While the engine and transmission are gone, many of the missing pieces from the exterior are piled in boxes in the back. Restored or customized, this truck would be amazing to see back on the road again.
1969 Kaiser Jeep M715 Tow Truck
This 1-1/4 ton Kaiser Jeep is a former military truck that has been heavily modified into a tow rig. Kaiser produced these M715s produced in the late ’60s, offered with the Tornado six-cylinder and with a variety of available body styles. Much of the original truck has been altered as part of the conversion; most notable is the engine, which is some sort of Mopar small-block V-8 ostensibly swapped in for the original Tornado. Yes, the truck certainly needs work, but a unique vehicle like this could very well be worth the effort.
1963 Ford Galaxie 500 R-Code
A real-deal 427 Galaxie is something any barn find hunter covets. It’s Ford’s baddest car of 1963, and even in such a large car a 425-horsepower 427 is nothing to take lightly. This 500 R-Code seems to have rested in a lean-to shed for quite some time—the last time the plate was renewed was in 1978. Disappointingly, the dual-carb setup is missing, with a single Holley in its place. Though it’s rough and will need a complete restoration, this big beast is worth a look for any Blue Oval fan. Even poor-running R-Code Galaxies are easily six-figure cars.
1979 International Scout II
Before us we have a neglected Scout in the very condition people imagine them in these days: rusty. Corrosion is a big problem for Scouts and this is no exception, to the extent that it’s a little surprising to see it out in the desert in such oxidized shape. Interest in Scouts is way up lately, so project SUV like this may be a fairly attractive proposition in light of rising prices for clean examples. It needs a lot, but if the work could be done yourself, the wallet punch may not be so severe.
1954 Chevrolet COE
Heavy-duty cab-over-engine trucks have attitude. While such trucks exist in modern form, there is something exceptionally cool about their styling in the pre- and immediately post-WWII years. Those funky looks have made them quite popular with customizers and hot rodders, so few original examples are floating around. With this one still in its original stake bed configuration, it may be a tempting canvas for restorers and customizers alike. Someone please rescue this thing!