6 “original” cars heading to auction this fall
Anyone who follows the world of old cars has surely heard or even engaged in the “preservation vs. restoration” debate. It’s one that will probably never be resolved, but whether you call them “barn finds,” “survivors,” or something fancy like “preservation class candidates,” unrestored cars can be surprisingly valuable. In some cases, especially on the higher end of the market, 100 percent originality is more highly pried than a professional restoration. Wear and tear are part of the car’s history, and while a car can be restored more than once, originality just can’t be replicated.
Since we’re always keeping an eye on the auction calendar, several delectably original cars crossing the block this fall caught our eye. One of the biggest ones is an all-original 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra, aka the “Cobra in the closet,” that we’ve discussed previously, but here are six more worth watching.
If you care more about how a car drives than how much it shines, here’s one for you. Carroll Shelby worked his magic on only 562 of these ’65 Mustangs with more power, less weight, and handling upgrades for track duty. Few first-year GT350s remain in unrestored condition. This example features almost all original Wimbledon White paint with the rare stripe delete option. The carpet was replaced, and items were upgraded to make it more drivable, but otherwise it is as it left Shelby American 57 years ago.
The transmission was also replaced, but the original accompanies the car with the sale along with the original wheels. The interior features the original upholstery, seat belts, headliner, dash pod, AM radio, and steering wheel with the factory center and horn switch all there. Copies of the build paperwork and service records are included. With a little over 81,000 miles this is a historically significant high-performance car where getting it out on the road shouldn’t hurt its value.
The 2CV was a cheap, usable car of the people. So it’s a surprise to see that this Citroën has reportedly not been driven since it was delivered and shows just 10 miles on its odometer. An interesting choice to save as a time capsule, no?
Luckily, the pictures may look a little worse than reality, as the listing claims the little French sedan is coated in original preservative wax and that it still has the plastic on the seats. The Club version of the 2CV is also the more luxurious trim level, gaining features such as a roll-up roof and thicker bumpers. And although Citroën hasn’t built the 2CV in over 30 years, this one is essentially still new! If you’re looking for something a little more broken in, however, there is also an unrestored twin-engine 1964 2CV ‘Sahara’ AZ 4×4 at the same sale.
If you’re charmed by cosmetic blemishes, wear and tear, and patina, check out this wagon. The Roadmaster was one of the most desirable wagons of its day, while its 4500-pound heft, heaps of brightwork and body construction of real wood make it an instantly recognizable piece of early postwar automotive Americana. Yet this example actually spent most its life in Europe and central Africa before coming the US in 2006. Sure, you can see some age on the exterior and the chrome on the radio is pitted, but that’s part of what makes an unrestored car so great. The vehicle has been serviced, but not restored. Plus, how often do you see rope grab handles in a car anymore?
Manufactured in Kalamazoo, MI, Checker Marathons were almost exclusively used as taxis in major cities and didn’t retire from service in New York City until 1999, even though the last one was built in 1982. Checker Taxis were never flashy. They never tried to impress anyone. They were bare bones cars built to last, and most were driven until they literally couldn’t go anymore, so it explains why there are reportedly fewer than 2000 A12 models like this remaining today. This unrestored example was previously owned by the president of the Yellow Cab Company and only shows 55,000 miles.
A 106-year-old car is not something you come across every day, and one that’s still original after over a century is even more special. Called the 490 because of its $490 price, this car was Chevy’s challenger to the Model T, which was much pricier at a wallet-draining $495. This simple motorcar (it doesn’t even have a driver’s door!) came standard with a convertible top and windshield, and it is believed the originals still in place on this one. It is truly a preservation piece with the factory-applied paint, factory interior, and wooden floorboards. This example of “Pre-GM” part of Chevrolet’s history was really the first successful mass-produced model for the brand.
When it comes to history, certain race car are practically oozing the stuff from the bodywork. That’s why we’re watching this sale closely. Indy powerhouse Newman/Hass Racing (founded by Chicago businessman Carl Haas and movie star/salad dressing maker/and the voice of Doc Hudson in Cars Paul Newman) is auctioning off 40 Indy cars plus a few road cars, race used suits, helmets, and more on October 29. Included is the 1984 Lola-Cosworth Mario piloted to the 1984 CART championship, the 1993 Lola-Ford driven by Nigel Mansell to the 1993 championship, and the 2007 Dp01-Cosworth that Sebastien Bourdais used for his fourth Champ Car crown. Most of the cars still have their incredibly powerful engines in them and include the workshop manual, laptop, and cables needed to make them run. Other fan favorite IndyCars being auctioned include ones raced by Michael Andretti, Graham Rahal, the late Justin Wilson, and Paul Tracy.
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