Category Archives: Auctions

Resto Mod or Resto Blah? You Decide

If you listen to some automotive pundits, the hottest trend is a resto mod car.  Well that term has been around for years and we’ve been seeing cars built on a resto mod for years in magazines and at car shows.  So we can’t be sure that it is a NEW trend.

Resto Mod

A resto mod is taking an older car and while restoring it, also modifying or modernizing it.  That typically means changing out the power plant to a bigger, more efficient and modern engine. The LSX variants are a popular choice right now as are new crate engines.  Typically you replace points and condensers and double pumping carbs for fuel injection with electronic ignitions.  Most builders will also readily take out a four speed and swap in a low rpm overdrive automatic.Resto Mod Corvette

So what has fueled the rise in resto mods?  The market, my friend the market.  Many affluent buyers see their cars as trophy’s to plop in a garage, hire a guy to detail it and drive it (cautiously) to a cars and coffee event once a month.  After all if you just plunked $400 large on a resto mod Corvette are you willing to park it at the local grocery store while you pop in for a gallon of milk?

NOS Resto

In years past a car was restored to look factory fresh and showroom new.  That meant seeking out the correct parts, hoses and connectors to bring back a stove bolt six cylinder engine to restored status.  When showing your car at a show, you would worry that the judge would deduct points for using the wrong shade of glossy black on your radiator fan shroud.  Plus owners would hunt down dealer installed options so they could have the most accessories on their car.

Rest Mod Blossoms

But the resto mod craze has changed all that. People don’t want a big old Auburn and might not even have a long enough garage to store one. Fewer folks have actually driven in a Duisenberg (let alone know how to spell it) and even the cars of the fifties are languishing as the market ages upwards.Resto Mod Corvette

Let’s be honest. The ride on a 64 Corvette pales to what you get on a new C7 Corvette. And that resonates with new buyers. They want and enjoy cars that have Bluetooth, push start buttons and navigation screens. The fruits of technology is not just under the hood.

So resto mods force the classic car market into a quandary. Do you take a beat up classic and spend the years and buckets of money to restore it to a 100 point restoration with NOS (New Old Stock) parts?  Recognize that you’ll have put way more money into it than the market will ever price it at?  Or do you shuck it all, swap in a new chassis, blend in lots of bling and a new 700R4 transmission and a crate engine from GM?

More and more the builder will go where the money is and create a resto mod.  Years from now history will decide if the builders were revolutionary or heretics.  You can decide for yourself now.

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Supra from Toyota Revived at Barrett-Jackson

The Toyota Supra is a Japanese sports car  produced starting in 1978. The original four generations of the Supra were manufactured from 1978 to 2002. The styling of the Supra was a take off of the Toyota Celica, but with it being both longer and wider. Starting in mid-1986, the Supra model became a separate model distinct from the Celica.

In 1998, Toyota regrettably ceased sales of the fourth generation Supra in the United States and in 2002 Toyota officially stopped production of the Supra even in Japan. But in 2019, the fifth generation Supra is unleashed.

The new 2019 Supra was displayed at the recent Barrett-Jackson auction held in Scottsdale, AZ. Besides the new model, the marketing folks from Toyota rounded up a fine set of white clad specimens representing the previous four generations for a nostalgic look.  During the auction, a 2019 Supra GR still to be built, but number 1 on the VIN was auctioned off for $2,100,000 with the proceeds going to charity.2019 Supra

Supra First Generation A40

The first generation Supra was based largely upon the Toyota Celica lift back, but longer. The doors and rear section were shared with the Celica but the front panels were elongated to accommodate the inline-6 instead of the stock Celica’s 4-cylinder engine.Supra First Generation Driver Side

Supra Second Generation A60

In mid 1981, Toyota completely redesigned the full Celica lineup, thus including the Supra, for its 1982 production year. Still being based around the Celica platform, there were several key differences, most notably the design of the front end and fully retractable pop-up headlights. but a six cylinder was still offered.

Supra Second Generation

Supra Third Generation A70

In February 1986, a totally separate model Supra was introduced. It was no longer based on the Celica. . The Celica changed to front-wheel drive, while the Supra kept its rear-wheel-drive set up.

Supra Third Generation

Supra Fourth Generation A80

Official mass production began in April 1993. The fourth-gen Supra again shared its platform with the Lexus SC. However, the two cars looked nothing alike and the Supra was more than 13 inches (340 mm) shorter than its Lexus stable mate. Supra Fourth Generation


Supra Fifth Generation A902019 Supra

The latest version of this iconic nameplate is generating some buzz, both good and bad. Its engine was a joint effort with BMW and it even garnered its own “pinball wizard” Super Bowl commercial.  As with many “revived” nameplates, it will be interesting to see what the public thinks of the latest Supra?  What are your thoughts?

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PRS4 from Praxair Cuts to the Chase at Barrett Jackson

Besides 1,850 classic cars being auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction, there are a variety of vendors showing their wares. Beyond artwork, mattresses and outdoor furniture, one of the most intriguing displays was the Praxair’s Lancer PRS4 Automated CNC plasma cutter.

Lancer PRS4

This entry level plasma cutter is a ferrous metal cutting machine. At an initial price point of under $25,000 this device can allow a small business owner to enter the custom metal work industry.  Using existing templates or designing their own from line drawings or sketches, a user can quickly get to work, cutting up to 7/8” steel plate.Praxair Plasma Cutter Sparking

At the show the plasma table was using compressed air and electricity to cut out everything and anything. Besides hearts and ghouls, they were cutting out cars and animals as well. They even were up to the challenge and made a custom Corvette cut out.Praxair Plasma Cutter Corvette

PRS4

Chris Vihnanek, Senior Director at Praxair, explained that his device had several advantages over a water jet. Besides price point, the water jet while versatile can’t cut at the speed of the plasma cutter and the lack of the water jet abrasive allowed for a better control of the subject metal. Users can run with one of two plasma systems  Hypertherm or Thermal Dynamics- and the welding table starts at a pre-fabbed 4′ x 4′. The PRS4 can cut up to an astounding 500 inches a minute.

Given the crowds surrounding the machine, there were tons of interest in this machine. So why is Praxair offering a device that uses some consumables but no specialized gasses?  Well it is a plasma cutter and they hope companies will follow along up the product chain where argon or oxygen gas would be needed and consumed. Smart marketing with a nice hook.Praxair Plasma Cutter Finished Product

They’ll cut through about $7,000 worth of metal as they cut up all sorts of images promoting the PRS4 and other CNC machines.  So if a bidder can’t buy a car, maybe they’ll end up with a car cut out?

What would you use a CNC machine for?

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Monterey Auction Results 2018

Now that the excitement of Monterey, CA week has settled down, we can check out the results and trends that have arisen. The combined auctions at Monterey week typically mark the end of the classic car season. Yes there will be plenty of other car auctions like the upcoming Barrett-Jackson Auction in Las Vegas, NV before the close of the year, but the big guns and big dollars are over for 2018. All prices listed are shown with buyer’s commissions and rounded off.1935 Duesenberg

Monterey Auction Results

Of course we already discussed the 1962 Ferrari GTO that sold for over $48 million dollars. The still “infamous” Ford GT owned by John Cena went for $1.5 million at Russo and Steele’s auctions

Gooding’s sold a 1935 Duesenberg for $22 million, which set a record for a pre-war auction sale. They took in $116 million in total sales.RM Sotheby’s garnered a whopping $157 million and that included a 1966 Ford GT40 that went for nearly $10 million.1966 Ford GT40

Monterey Auction Players

Meccum’s daytime auctions brought in a tidy $48 million and had some serious metal moving through the auction block. Worldwide Auctioneers edges into the field with a total sale of $5.5 million. Bonham’s sold over $37 million in one day at their sale. They sold off a 1921 Stutz Bearcat for just under half a million. Shortly after the auction week Bonham’s announced they had been sold to a private equity firm as well.

Monterey Auction Analysis

Now many might tout the current total of $371 million in sales as a great sign for the hobby. After all only 2014’s total of $463 million and 2015’s total sales of $396 million were higher. But subtract only the sale of that one Ferrari and the drop in sales is noticeable. Lately we have seen a hot market for the highest of high end cars and the entry level hobbyist car, priced under $50,000 seem sturdy. But prices creeping over $250,000 are seeing some turbulence. We translate that to mean that the deep pockets have plenty of room in their garages but aren’t rushing to put just “anything” in the stall. The auctions from January 2018 also has a stalling effect so we suspect that the stall want change much through next year’s kick off auctions during Arizona week.

And the Bonham’s sale is probably just the first of many ownership changes in the works among the auction houses. Subscribe and stay tuned for more fiscal shake ups

What do you think?

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Ferrari 250 GTO 1962 – Most Expensive Car

You might have read that this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is the most expensive car. Well that is partially right and partially wrong. The world of classic cars is engulfed with superbs and anecdotes, with a large dose of hyperbole thrown in. Read closely to understand more about the Ferrari 250 GTO.Ferrari 250 GTO Driver's Side

Ferrari 250 GTO – Most Expensive

Let’s cut to the chase. This specific model of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO by Scaglietti as of now is the most expensive car ever bought at a public auction. Period. Now as we previously covered, there is another Ferrari 250 GTO that is generally thought to be the most expensive car purchased but it was a private sale and the exact details are not a public record-yet.

Ferrari 250 GTO – In Demand

So many might ask what causes these models to be so expensive. Well like many classic cars, price is determined by rarity and provenance or background. The Ferrari 250’s are in demand because they are rare with only 36 made in various versions and iterations. Plus these cars were specifically designed and intended for racing. Ferrari 250 GTO Rear view

Ferrari 250 GTO – Racing History

The Ferrari 250 GTO was designed in a wind tunnel to compete for the International Championship for GT Manufacturers.  The hood was lowered and the windshield raked back for better aerodynamics.  This specific car won the 1962 Italian GT Championship and won several class first place finishes between 1962-1965. It last raced in manufacturers racers in 1965 when it won the Redex Trophy at Brands Hatch.  Though it then continued racing in smaller club races and changed hands often.  Strange that these beasts were raced extensively and yet all survived and are accounted for.

Ferrari 250 GTO – Vintage

The race car was entered into numerous vintage races over the years. Eventually Dr, Gregory Whitten in 2000 purchased the car. Whitten is able to collect vintage historic collector cars as he was an early employee at Microsoft and was their chief software architect.

Ferrari 250 GTO- Condition

It is interesting to note that this race car came with the original engine, already pulled and preserved for historic purposes and fitted with an additional 250 GT engine block (V-12 with 3 liter displacement producing 300 HP) that was upgraded to GTO specs.Ferrari 250 GTO V-12

Ferrari 250 GTO – Sold

At the Monterey Auction for RM Sotheby’s the car sold for $48,405,000 (including commission) after an opening bid of $35 million. In ten minutes it was gaveled sold to an undisclosed buyer.  Allegedly Whitten had bought it for less than $5 million, proving that his doctorate degree in Mathematics from Harvard wasn’t a fluke!

Photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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John Cena GT Sold at Russo and Steele

John Cena GT

It must be sad to hear an auction house refer to a Ford GT as the “infamous” John Cena GT. Sigh. But tonight in Monterey, California the Russo and Steele Car Auction sold the John Cena GT. The 2017 Ford GT is touted as being the first “unencumbered” sale of the Ford GT.John Cena Ford GT Passenger Side

History of the GT

The 2017 model of the Ford GT is actually the third version of the Ford supercar. The original model was called the Ford GT40 and was produced from 1964-1969 strictly for racing  Ford dusted off the design and cranked out the second version from 2005-06 to honor their 100th anniversary. Interestingly in a quirk, Ford had never registered the original trademark and so had to call the second iteration the Ford GT.

Ford GT

When Ford announced the latest version of the GT they limited the production to only 1,000 cars and they required potential buyers to apply for the right to buy the car. The Ford folks vetted the applicants and required them to agree not to sale the car for two years. Since they came out, the GT’s have shown up at various events like this yellow GT. Exactly as Ford intended.Yellow Ford GT

John Cena GT

Enter the pro wrestler John Cena who applied and was approved to buy a Liquid Blue GT. He paid $463,376.50 for the car on September 23, 2017 and promptly sold it to a California reseller a month later. Ford threw down the lawsuits suing both the dealership and John Cena. Cena ultimately settled with Ford by agreeing to pay an undisclosed amount to an undisclosed charity through Ford. He also encouraged all other owners to honor their agreement not to re-sell the cars.John Cena Ford GT

John Cena GT Chapter Two

The John Cena GT was purchased by a California farmer (I’m not making this up). He cranked up the odometer to 625 miles before deciding his back was not conducive to the GT supercar. So now Russo and Steele had the chance to auction this car. Ironically the same dealership that Cena sold the GT to is representing the elderly farmer in this auction transaction!

John Cena GT at Monterey

The car auctions held during the week before the Pebble Beach Concours extravaganza mark the end of the “season”. Sure there will be more auctions for the balance of the year, but this week of auctions represents the other bookend to the start up of the classic car season that kicks off in January in Arizona. Russo and Steele is a big player in this arena and brought out plenty of potential bidders.

John Cena GT Sells

After some spirited bellowing by the auctioneers, the John Cena GT sold with a hammered price of $1,400,000 plus commission. Perhaps with that price it will lose the tag of being “infamous”?

Photos courtesy of Russo and Steele

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Most Expensive Classic Car -Ferrari 259 GTO

Records are meant to be broken and in the world of classic cars and tons of money, the records fall quickly.  For a spell this 1936 Bugatti Type 57 SC Atlantic was thought to be the most expensive car. It is owned by Rob Walton (yes of the Wal-Mart Walton’s) and allegedly sold for $40 million dollars in 2010.1936 Bugatti

1936 Bugatti

We had the chance to see it up close and in person at a local Concours show and it certainly was a classic. But like we say, records fall fast around classic cars. It had the reputation as being the most expensive car ever sold.  It is a ‘reported” price as it was a private sale and not subject to any public certification or event. A co-owner is listed as Peter Mullin who runs the Mullin Automotive Museum. It is a featured car at the museum when not in shows.1936 Bugatti Front

 

1963 Ferrari 250 GTO

Earlier this year that record for most expensive car was shattered, again “reportedly”, when a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for $70 million in a private sale. It was bought by David McNeal who founded WeatherTech- the rubber mat company. This Ferrari has a great racing pedigree, including coming in fourth at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1963 and won the Tour de France course in 1964.Ferrari 250 GTO

 

1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

Next up? Potentially this red 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO .  It is offered up at the Monterrey Auction by RM Sotheby’s with an estimated price tag of between $60-45million, which is quite a range. Now auction houses are now for hyperbole but they probably have nailed the low end for this Ferrari.1962 ferrari 250 gto

Only 36 GTO’s were built, so this becomes a pretty exclusive car. It also has a good racing pedigree and was one of four upgraded by Scaglietti with the Series II coachwork, which features a wider aerodynamic body. the new bodywork lowered the car, crafted a better balanced car and allowed for better handling on the road courses.  Interestingly the original engine was removed from the car and preserved with a different 250 GT block presently in the car. So an owner could drive the red racer and still have the original engine for history and originality.

Will it exceed $60 Million? Hard to say but the scarcity of the Ferrari’s suggest that some company stock might be sold off to allow for a new car in somebody’s stable.

Some photos courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

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Drag-U-La Selling at Russo and Steele

If you are a certain age, you’ll remember the TV hit- The Munsters. This comedy featured some famous bits and even some neater cars, like the Drag-U-La. It seems strange that the producers would allow purpose built cars that would last for only a few episodes. But we’re glad they did.DragULa Front End

Drag-U-La

The story line was that Grandpa had to build a dragster to race and win back Herman’s “The Munster Koach”. So Hollywood had George Barris produce the car/casket vehicle. While Barris has been known for claiming credit for builds that are barely linked to his firm, this one was designed by Tom Daniel under his auspices. Richard Korkes took on the build and used an actual coffin for the “body”.

The original car moved among sellers after the series and a movie ended. At one point it was owned by Planet Hollywood. The Volo Car Museum had it for a while before flipping it. By then it had a 302 engine and an automatic transmission.DragULa Passenger Side Close Up

Drag-U-La Recreation

So why are we talking about a custom car from the 60’s? Because auction house Russo and Steele has a recreation of the Drag-U-La on their docket for this weekend. We had a chance to part the crowds at a recent Cars and Coffee and check it out on the flat bed tow truck.

Drag-U-La’s Design

This version has the reliable 350 ci engine and a two speed PowerGlide automatic transmission. With such little weight, only functional rear brakes were installed. Just like the original, the exhaust pipes sweep up to look like a church’s organ pipes. The seller claims plenty of “vintage” car parts but also indicates the have “custom made vintage air cleaner”.DragULa Passenger Front

This front engine coffin will certainly be a crowd pleaser when you pull up, but the single seat does limit the ability to hop onto the HOV lanes. Hopefully this is a car you would “die for?”

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Gas Monkey Garage AWOL at Barrett-Jackson

Gas Monkey Garage, Where Are You?

At the January, 2018 Barrett-Jackson Car Auction held in Scottsdale, AZ there are over 1700 cars and trucks ready to sell. But the venerable Gas Monkey Garage, with Richard Rawlings and Dennis “I need my name on every shirt I wear” Collins are nearly invisible.GMG GT350 Decal

Gas Monkey Garage

As mentioned previously the most recognizable Gas Monkey Garage selling vehicle is the 1956 Nomad that Rawlings did for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Mountain Dew. It has drawn some interest under the tent and it will be interesting to see what it brings.

Gas Monkey Garage’s GT350

As for Gas Monkey Garage, there is a nearly new 2016 Shelby GT350 Mustang that was on the Fast N’ Loud series on the Discovery channel. Rawlings drove it onto the track when he was building a car for Kurt Busch. From the seller’s description it indicates the car “was personally owned by Richard Rawlings of gas Monkey Garage”. So it is anybody’s guess if the seller is actually Richard Rawlings.GMG GT350 Low

For the car itself, it has less than 200 miles on the Mustang. It is black inside and out along with a vivid red racing stripe. Not sure why the seller hasn’t taken care of a recall for an engine oil cooler tube assembly replacement yet. After all it wasn’t on the road that much.

The Shelby Mustang is the 5.2 V8 engine with the six speed manual transmission. It sells on Friday (the seller couldn’t even get a Saturday docket number?) So if you were expecting a fleet of Gas Monkey Garage cars at the auction his week, you might be disappointed.GMG GT350 Rear End

So do you think the GT350 will sell for above retail? After all it is nearly new and hardly abused?

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Gas Monkey Garage at Barrett-Jackson Auction Scottsdale 2018

Gas Monkey Garage at Barrett-Jackson Car Auction

At this week’s Barrett-Jackson Car Auction, the presence of Gas Monkey Garage is sparse. A 56 Nomad done for Mountain Dew and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a can’t miss green and silver color scheme is the most obvious car linked to the Gas Monkey Garage crew.Gas Monkey Garage 1956 Nomad Side View

Gas Monkey Garage

For a spell the bar outside the auction stage was a Gas Monkey Garage theme, but that has dropped out. I suspect that Richard Rawlings might show up since he’s selling his 2016 Shelby Mustang GT350R with only a scant 200 miles clicked on the odometer. But who knows for sure? That Mustang is slated to sell on Friday.

Gas Monkey Garage Past Offerings

We’ve kept a close eye on Gas Monkey garage’s offerings even before the series became a monster hit.  Remember this hot rod from the early years?

As for the Nomad, who wouldn’t remember that bright green custom wagon? The current owner has a neat set of sunshades on the rear windows. Gas Monkey Garage 1956 Nomad Rear Window ShadeThe wagon has a 350 CI Chevy ZZ4 crate motor, TH350 automatic transmission, air conditioning and all the trick goodies. This video shows the wagon in action.

Gas Monkey Garage Season 4 Fast N’ Loud

Gas Monkey Garage built the car in 2013 during their fourth season on Discovery and of course they had an impossible deadline to beat. This car was used as a promotion for Mountain Dew, one of Earnhardt’s sponsors and hence the color on the 56 Nomad. Of course fans of Richard Rawlings know that his favorite color is green. Both for cars and for money.Gas Monkey Garage 1956 Nomad Passenger Side 2

The car had previously been offered for sale on eBay at $78,500 nearly four years ago. It also was offered on the internet at $69,500. So it will be interesting to see what the car fetches on prime time Saturday. Any guesses?

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