Auction Preview: Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach 2014

Like Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale sale, its long-standing Palm Beach auction functions as one part social scene and two parts mercantile spectacle. And Florida’s rich collector car scene (20 percent more collector cars were sold at auction in 2013 than in any other state) draws a varied assortment of dealers, end users and casual enthusiasts into the auction tent. With more than 700 cars slated to cross the block, here are the five that we will be watching closely:

1969 Ford Talladega 428/335 Sportsroof Coupe
Lot 415
Hagerty Price Guide: $20,600-$66,700
Like the Dodge Daytona and Plymouth Superbird, the Ford Talladega was a limited-production car intended meet NASCAR homologation regulations. This pedigree has allowed the Talladega to hold consistent values while the muscle car market slumped, and the model has us on notice after Barrett-Jackson auctioned a similar car for $110,000. One sale does not a market make, but two in quick succession … that’s another story.

1970 4-4-2 W-30 455/370 Holiday Coupe
Lot 422
Hagerty Price Guide: $43,800-$116,000
Few cars say luxury muscle like an Oldsmobile 4-4-2. They were very well equipped for the price in 1970, and they have an enthusiastic following today. Cars equipped with the W-30 455 engine command the biggest prices, and they held their ground well through the recession. That said, several 4-4-2s, including some W-30s, found new homes at bargain prices. A repeat of Arizona could signal a shift in collectability.

1987 Buick Regal GNX Coupe
Lot 447
Hagerty Price Guide: $42,100-$96,100
Few people who lived through the 1980s do not know about the Buick GNX. With the legendary turbocharged 3.8L V-6 under the hood, the GNX was a terrific balance between economy and performance. Add rarity and you have a formula for a valuable car. Prime examples have flirted with the $100,000 mark for years, and indications show that values are on the rise again. With 110 miles on the odometer and looking as it left the factory, this example is a good candidate to eclipse a six-figure sale price.

1995 Mitsubishi 3000GT SL Convertible
Lot 4
Virtually every car teen from the 1990s stared down the 3000GT with envy. The retractable hardtops had racy good looks and power to back it up. Limited production numbers and a high sticker price ensured those teens’ appreciation would be from afar — until it was fully depreciated. A handful of examples have surfaced at collector car auctions, and Barrett-Jackson sold one three months ago for a surprisingly low $13,750. Did that sale recenter Gen Xers’ attention? Here is the answer to that question.

1956 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Convertible
Lot 445
Hagerty Price Guide: $58,000-$204,000
The 190SL has demanded the spotlight over the past year, with a 12-month appreciation of about 230 percent. Some dismiss the increase in value as a coattail effect courtesy of the 300SL, but that assessment loses sight of the fact that many incredibly high-quality (and expensive) restorations have been lavished on this model by loving owners over the past 10 years, and those restorations have been coming to market more frequently. This car is coming off of a high-point restoration, albeit in a loud red, so consider this an opportunity to see whether values are leveling out, or whether they are continuing their quick march upward.

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