$50K Could’ve Brought Home Some Cool Cars From the January Auctions

Bring a Trailer/Silverstone

January was a busy month for auctions, with more than six thousand lots offered at live venues in Arizona and Florida along with the ever-flowing online pipeline of cars. Our team took a look at all the public sales from January and then we gave each of us a theoretical stack of $50k to spend. These were the cars we would have taken home. Which would you pick—or did another sale catch your eye last month?

1969 Chevrolet Corvette 427/390, $38,500

1969 Chevrolet Corvette Barrett-Jackson

Predictably, I’m gonna pick a C3 Corvette, just like I did last year. This one’s a bit different, though. While I usually couldn’t care less about originality, this one is cool because of its period modifications from Motion Performance. As much as I know black cars are a nightmare, the Stingray’s lines look fantastic and the tan interior is the perfect match. Oh, and did I mention it’s a 427-cubic inch with a four-speed?—Brandan Gillogly, senior editor

1960 Volkswagen 23-Window Microbus, $44,800

1960 Volkswagen 23 window microbus
Worldwide Auctioneers

Big surprise—I’m going with a van. But really, how could I pass this up? $44,800 is a steal for this 1960 VW 23-window Microbus at Worldwide Scottsdale. Even if it’s a conversion and not a real 23-window bus (which I don’t think is the case here), $45k is still way too low. It sold for 26 percent below #4 condition value despite being conditioned by our team as a solid driver #3- car. In fact, this same bus sold at Scottsdale 2020 for $77k and then again in Las Vegas last year for $55k. Knowing I bought this for such a discount would just put a bigger smile on my face while driving my new bus at 15 mph over mountain passes.—Adam Wilcox, senior information analyst

1973 Volvo 1800 Wagon, $23,100

1973 Volvo P1800 Wagon

I thought about going my usual route and picking from several questionable old Lotuses that sold in January. Instead, I went in a (slightly) more practical direction with this fairly clean 1973 Volvo 1800ES. I’ve loved these cars forever. They’re practical, they’re built well, and they have the best backside per dollar of any vehicle ever made. Dark red isn’t the best color, but this one sold about where it should have at $23,100, leaving me with enough money left over that I’m having second thoughts about the Esprit Turbo that sold a few hours earlier.—Andrew Newton, senior auction editor

1966 OldsmobileVista Cruiser Wagon, $49,500

1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Barrett-Jackson
Andrew Newton

I’ve been meaning to get rid of my Odyssey, because I’ve grown pretty tired of the efficiency and near-perfect execution of the thing. I’d need to replace it with something equally family haulerish, obviously, and what better rig to suit that purpose than this gorgeous 1966 Olds Vista Cruiser, which sold for $49,500 at Barrett-Jackson? The whole thing has been upgraded for improved driving comfort, so it’s basically a pro touring family truckster that looks stock. Pretty hard to argue with that. —Stefan Lombard, senior editor

1967 Lancia Flavia, $23,520

1967 Lancia Flavia Worldwide Auctions
Worldwide Auctions

In the category of “what is this doing here,” I would have gladly taken home this Lancia Flavia 1800 MFI for $23,520. —John Wiley, manager of valuation analytics

1985 Toyota Land Cruiser, $44,000

1985 Toyota Land Cruiser Barrett-Jackson

Boy do I love a good deal, and my dream vintage Toyota Land Cruiser with modern 4Runner drivetrain was half off for one day only… This same car sold for $84.7K in April 2022 and garnered only $44K this month. It has everything: a 2015 Toyota 1GR-FE engine swap (the same one FJ Company supercharges and swaps into their $250k builds) and 4Runner suspension, disc brakes and A/C. Put a few vintage accessories and wheels on it—perfection. But most importantly, if no one else validates my purchase I can at least tell myself I got a good deal, and that’s all I need.—James Hewitt senior information analyst

1965 Pontiac Catalina, $38,325

1965 Pontiac Catalina Bring a Trailer
Bring a Trailer/Silverstone

Lord, this thing looks mean. This would be such a killer cruiser for summers in Detroit. Flowmaster noise, hulking presence, but that pillarless silhouette is still elegant. 421 with some upgraded internals would be a treat. Definitely not a perfect example, but a little sign of well-loved ownership speaks to its history of being driven, not rubbed with a diaper. I would drive the hell out of this thing, park it wherever, and enjoy the good life.—Eric Weiner, executive editor

1959 Edsel Villager Station Wagon, $29,120

1959 Edsel Villager Station Wagon Bonhams

This is one of my favorites from Scottsdale. You don’t often see an Edsel wagon and for that reason alone I feel like I must have it. Coming from a museum collection and likely spending many years static, when I witnessed it in person, it did need a bit of TLC but not an excessive amount. At $29,120, it is a lot of cool for the money. I’d aim the remaining $20,880 from my budget at correcting any issues, cosmetics and gas (because I’d intend to drive the hell out of it).—Greg Ingold, Hagerty Price Guide editor

1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, $45,100

1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 Mecum

Early second-gen F-Bodies have always had a piece of my heart. Understated in a handsome Sequoia Green with sporty white stripes, I could stare at this 1972 Camaro Z28’s perfect proportions for hours. Sure, by ’72 the 350 wasn’t as strong as in years past, but few people nowadays are buying cars from the ’70s to go fast. It’s got the attitude, the manual transmission, and the V-8 soundtrack for my summer evening needs.—Eddy Eckart, senior editor




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    The Lancia is pretty cool, honestly.
    But the site you guys tagged to it definitely raises an eyebrow, if only for this comment:
    “… which further rose to 102 horsepower with the addition of the Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system. The newfound horsepower greatly increased the appeal of the car, improving the top speed to 165 miles per hour.”
    165mph out of 102hp is quite the achievement, I’d say, if it was possible.

    AT 29 yrs old I bought A 1965 Pontiac 2+2 421 for $1,200.00, 8 Lugers and A/C . Drove the daylights out of that car, then sold it for $2000.00. Wished I knew what I know now then. HARD KNOKS

    It’s not just me, right? That Lancia looks to have been very well-bought. But of the cars presented, give me the Catalina. I’m a sucker for the 8 lug wheels. Sue me.

    The 59 station wagon looks like a great American family ride to get some ice cream and maybe a movie. I love that thing.

    That corvette has a serious rust problem and the paint was well over due it sold for at least 20000$ more than it should

    The Volvo 1800ES is the one for me. My very first car was a 1961 Volvo PV544 so I am a bit of a Volvo fan even though I’ve not had another one. The engine is bullet proof on these cars.

    My late Coffee Buddy, Irv Gordon put over 3,000,000 miles on his 1966 P 1800. I once asked him for how much would he sell it? Without hesitation he said, “A dollar a mile.”

    As a teenager, I was absolutely Ga Ga over Pontiacs from 1965. Somewhere I have the extremely huge white cover brochure from that year. I really preferred the big Ponchos over the Le Mans series. A Catalina 2+2 was my favorite. I know of one but for years i ahve not been able to get the owner to part with it. Sadly, he never drives it and it is parked mostly out doors in SoCal.

    I visited 3 of the auctions, checking out their offerings, but missed Worldwide…after seeing the Lancia sale, I’m sorry I did! With styling reminscent of a vintage Ferrari (at a tenth of the cost, but unfortunately without the grunt), it would be a great tour car.

    I am assuming these prices do not include the buyers premium. The big Pontiac would look lots better with the wheels painted gray like they were originally. Interesting selection of cars.

    Hard to pick a favorite. The Catalina w/8 lugs done in black will always garner attentio. I like the Z28 but not in green. But I have always loved the Vista Cruiser wagons. With the right wheels, a 442 dash installed and a nice dual flow master exhaust and you got the coolest grocery getter ever, hands down.

    1966 OldsmobileVista Cruiser Wagon, 1985 Toyota Land Cruiser or 1972 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 for me from this lot.

    To me the 2nd gen TA’s and Z’s are the most beautifully styled muscle cars of the era. But not green? C’mon, my Brewster Green 73 4 speed is a sure winner wherever I take it!

    I hate how green went out of style and so many green cars got color changes! Some greens are better than others, of course. My medium green iridescent 79 Grand Am would have been glorious in brewster…

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