Bargain hunting in Monterey

Generally, one’s chances of snagging a bargain at the Pebble Beach auctions during Monterey Car Week are up there with finding a payday loan storefront on Rodeo Drive. With a cooling market though, this year might be a bit different. Here are a few cars that may sell reasonably this weekend:

  1. 1956 Austin-Healey 100/4 BN2– Barn finds have to be a finite resource, right? At some point, the last one is going to be dragged out. Lot # 101 at Gooding might be a sign that we’ve reached “peak barn find.” It’s reputedly been off the road since 1962. Even accounting for the half century storage in a garage in Maine, it doesn’t appear rusty.

  2. 2000 BMW Z3 M Roadster– Thursday afternoon at Mecum has always been interesting. The crowds are nothing like prime-time Friday and Saturday and an occasional deal has been known to sneak through. Lot # T7, a BMW Z3 M Roadster is an up-and-comer. A fair number of people seem to have missed the memo that these 240 hp Bavarian Miatas aren’t $13,000 used cars anymore. The last several on have gone well into the twenties. This triple black example has done just 13,500 miles from new. If it sneaks over the block in the teens, the buyer will have done very well indeed.

  3. 1977 AMC Gremlin– Also a Thursday Mecum car, it may well be the best Gremlin on Earth. And while scant bragging rights may convey with that, featuring just 16,000 miles and nicely preserved, we’d wager that it will attract more attention at your local cars and coffee than say a Miami Vice-era Ferrari Testarossa. And pissing off the Ferrari owners at cars and coffee might be reason enough to snag this truncated Hornet.

  4. 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Spyder Corsa Convertible– Corvairs get a bad rap. Especially the second generation 1965-69 cars. With gorgeous Bill Mitchell-supervised styling and an improved fully independent rear suspension, coupe, convertible and sedan were all lovely to behold. Lot #F432 at Russo and Steele is a rare 180 hp turbocharged Corvair, the first production car with an exhaust-driven blower. Its flat-six was making a full twenty more horsepower that a 911S would two years later. This one benefits from a pricey full restoration and great colors. Even with all this going for it, there’s a good chance it won’t break thirty grand, and this friends is the textbook definition of a bargain.

  5. 1991 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1– Fourth-generation (C4) ZR1s have yet to truly catch on with collectors. Really, no C4 has yet. But this car will almost certainly have its day. Powered by a hand-assembled (by Mercury Marine) four-cam V-8, the ZR1 felt more like an Italian supercar than a Corvette, with power coming in waves in the upper RPM range, rather than instantly, down low. Lot #T235 at Russo has a paltry 3,500 miles on it. ZR1s with more miles usually struggle to break thirty grand. We’d guess that this one will do a fair amount better, but anything under $50,000 qualifies as well bought, if you have the patience and discipline to hold on to it and keep the miles down.

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