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Auctions: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We take a deeper dive into some vehicles covered in the current and next issues, all in CCMR's unique 3-picture format. Below are some standouts - for different reasons. Enjoy!

1956 Lincoln Premier two-door convertible. Lot 63, VIN 56WA38496L. Starmist White, black cloth top, red and white vinyl bench seat interior. 285hp 368ci V-8 engine, column shift 3-speed automatic transmission. Reasonably good trim-off repaint not to many years ago. Doors fit well enough, but when latched there is some rattling. Most of the large and easy to remove chrome pieces were replated. Gold-tone trim on the sides was redone, the more complex trunk lid trim is original and quite dull. Replacement top fits well enough, but doesn’t fully cover the side rails like it should. Optional power front bench seat, which (like the back seat) was redone in vinyl instead of full leather. Yet the upholstery workmanship is quite good, to also include the new door panels. New carpeting. Steering wheel is staring to yellow. Older engine repaint is now getting dirty and greasy. Group 51 battery (usually for an older Honda Accord) bought at the NAPA here in Auburn, just to get it running – which it did. Overall condition 3, bid to $25,000, SOLD!

1956 was really the “sweet spot” for Lincoln in the 1950’s. While from 1951 through 1954 they were dominant in the La Carrera Pan-Americana Mexican Road Races, that didn’t really translate into strong sales. The 1958 though 1960 massive unibody cars almost caused Lincoln’s demise. It was the Premier, introduced in 1956, that saw sales nearly double on a car that not only was styled cleanly, but actually put up a fight against the dominant Cadillac for sales that year. It even won the prestigious International Design Institute Award for outstanding design, rarely handed out to an automobile. While finely restored examples used to bring six-digit sales, few of those have been on the market over the last few years. Lesser condition and driver-grade examples – like this one – have been the norm. Also the norm is lower selling prices, so don’t think those onsite and the whole world online missed a smoking hot deal in today's market – they didn’t. What they did miss was a genuine investment opportunity and a real looker ready to enjoy.

Verdict: Beautiful cars (even more so in the flesh), these Lincolns managed to artfully manage the convergence of the flamboyant design of the fifties with good taste. Two door hardtops in similar condition, arguably even more attractive, have been trading hands in the high teens to low twenties. At this price it's nearly impossible to go wrong. BARGAIN

1956 Lincoln Premiere Convertible
1956 Lincoln Premiere Interior
1956 Lincoln Premiere Engine

1964 Pontiac Tempest LeMans GTO two-door convertible. Lot 21, VIN 824M23995. Red, white vinyl top, Parchment bucket seat with center console interior. 325hp 389ci V8 with floor shift three-speed manual transmission. Stated that this was a two-owner car from new, the second owner treating it to a frame-off restoration a decade ago. Equipped with power steering, power brakes, and while reproduction Rally II wheels and radial tires are on the ground, the original optional wire wheel covers are in the trunk. Expertly applied paint, with the only masking lines visible being around the windshield and vent window trim. All other chrome, alloy, and stainless was removed for the repaint and refurbished; only a few pieces look to be reproductions. Nice, even panel gaps; even at the usually irksome-to-line-up cowl. Reasonably well fitted top – another irksome item to get fitted right, due to the concave rear panel and back window. Only the black edging between the rear valance panel and the rear quarter panels looks not right. Well fitted reproduction interior soft trim, with no discernible wear. Triple aftermarket gauges are mounted below the dashboard. The painted chassis only shows light road spray. Correct 78X engine code for this driveline combination, with the repaint on the motor cleared off to reveal it. Overall condition 2, bid to $55,000, SOLD!

Until 1966, the GTO was just an option package for the Tempest LeMans, not a separate model. Early on, the GTO got a lot of street cred among the drag racers (serious and those who thought they were serious). While a three-speed would usually get scoffed at, the real serious dragsters preferred them since there was one less time-losing shift to do. Since Muscle Cars first became a collectible thing in the 1980’s, green 3-speed GTO’s tended to be “restored” into red 4-speed cars. Today, folks are wiser. While it was really easy to leave it Grenadier Red (or more in the case here, close to it), our complements to the restorer to leave the original 3-speed in place. The consignor was well rewarded for it when the hammer dropped here.

Verdict: Early GTO's had been, amazingly, languishing a bit in the market over the last few years. This is good result for an authentic car. STRONG MONEY BUT WORTH IT.

1964 Pontiac GTO Convertible
1964 Pontiac GTO Interior
1964 Pontiac GTO Engine

1968 Ford Mustang two-door hardtop. Lot 528, VIN 8R01C169421. Jade green metallic, black vinyl roof, Nugget Gold vinyl bucket seat interior. 200hp 289ci V8 with floor shift 3-speed C-4 automatic transmission. Options include air conditioning, power steering, hood louvers, full tinted glass, AM radio, full wheel covers, and bumper guards. All verified by a Marti Report and copy of the original window sticker from when it was sold new by Casey Meyers Ford of St. Joseph, MO. Now fitted with chrome GT style wheels with radial tires. While stated that it has 51,753 original miles and is generally original, it has had a high-quality trim-off repaint, although the original vent window seals do have masking lines. Good door fit. Moderate to heavy scuffing and sanding scratches on the windshield frame trim. Replated bumpers. Excellent vinyl interior soft trim. Light soiling and fade on the original carpeting. Heavy wear on the door lock plungers. Recently detailed under the hood, with all OE type components except for the battery. Overall condition 2.5, bid to $24,000, SOLD!

While a 53 year-old car with 51,753 can certainly be considered low miles, this one isn’t as minty original as some would claim it to be. In an interesting twist, you have to buy the car to find out about the past history of the car. Pass. It’s a nothing Mustang, even if it’s in Bullitt Highland Green. Yet folks not only opened the bid at $11,000 (a reasonable entry price for this) and easily passed the $18,000 reserve (plenty for the goods offered) and continued to be bid until it sold for more money than makes much sense. I hope it was bought for long-term ownership, as it can’t be flipped without losing your shirt.

Verdict: A pleasant enough car with a believable story, although keeping it from potential buyers is odd and a red flag for us. Believe it or not, it is now offered for sale at a Missouri dealer's website for $38,900. You read that right. RED ALERT

1968 Ford Mustang Coupe
1968 Ford Mustang Interior
1968 Ford Mustang Engine

1978 Chevrolet C-10 Cheyenne two-door short-wheelbase half-ton pickup. Lot 260, VIN CCL4448Z141747. Medium blue metallic, blue cloth bench seat interior. 145hp 305ci V8, column shift TH-350 3-speed automatic transmission. Factory optional cruise control, full gauge package with tachometer, dual gas tanks, sliding rear window, and power brakes - but standard manual steering. Faded and worn original paint, which may have got some help for additional patina. Then given a layer of clear coat. Various dents, dings, and some rust perforation aft of the rear wheel wells, but not beat to death (beat into submission, maybe). Fitted with a 1981-87 tailgate. Front bumper canted downwards, the rest of the bright trim is original and useable. Period GM Rallye truck wheels fitted with newer performance radials. Under the hood, the grimy and rusty original engine now sports a new aftermarket 4-barrel performance carburetor with small chrome air cleaner. Seems to run out well. Steering wheel rim cover and seat cover have a matching multicolor pattern, the latter hiding very heavily worn upholstery. Heavily sun-bleached plastic door panels. All interior hardware is rusty. Period Sparkomatic AM/FM/cassette in-dash sound system. Overall condition 4, bid to $4,250, SOLD!

While I understand the logic of putting together an old car or truck with an emphasis on drivability over cosmetics (not having to obsess over paint damage on the road being the big thing), the whole clear coat over rust and faded paint makes no sense. So, you are so intent on having faded paint that further fading or getting damaged is a problem? They might as well just repaint it. These 1973 through 1980 (and the 1981-87’s to a slightly less degree) are the hottest vehicles in the market right now. This one passed the reserve and immediately was hammered sold—a bit more patience may have brought some more bids. Leave it as is or give it a paint job to some degree, this was a tremendous buy for an original short box simply because one can take it to another venue and flip it and make some degree of money on it, regardless of what you choose to do with it. Otherwise, the buyer got in cheap for his restoration or build before prices get completely out of hand.

Verdict: Not too long ago this was a $2000 vehicle. Before that, probably $1200. At this price it was quite the bargain, as in most parts of the country it will bring at least $7,000 with little effort right now as it sits. FLIP AWARD

1978 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne Pickup
1978 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne Interior
1978 Chevrolet C10 Cheyenne Engine

While we're at it, here's one from the upcoming Fall 2021 Issue:

1958 Chevrolet Impala two-door convertible. Lot S67, VIN 8186752167. Rio Red, black vinyl soft-top, red vinyl with black and silver insert bench seat interior. 280hp 346ci V8 with triple two-barrel carburetors, column shift Turboglide automatic transmission. Other equipment includes power steering, power brakes, positraction differential, tinted glass, AM radio with rear speaker, dash clock, tri-bar spinner wheel covers, and continental kit. Originally a Canadian market car. Professionally restored in recent years. Excellent body prep and paint application, although there’s some flaking around the body tag on the cowl under the hood. Equally good door and panel gaps, along with the door fit. Show quality chrome work abounds. Expertly polished stainless trim. Seats are starting to wrinkle slightly from light use. Black carpeted floor mats protect the reproduction carpeting. All new interior bright trim. Clean and well detailed to stock under the hood. Modern battery and 1960’s era reproduction spring-clamp battery cables. Engine block stampings are heavily painted over. Clean, authentically detailed chassis also, just lacking any replicated inspection markings. Overall condition 2, bid to $100,000, SOLD!

Introduced in 1957, the Turboglide automatic never really caught on. While some today claim it was junk, I’ve talked to people over the years who had them when the bought their Chevy new and said that it worked fine for them. Today, they are few and far between – most end up being swapped with something more modern, like a TH350 or 700R4 instead. Making this car double whammy rare is that it was assembled in Canada. Bidding opened at $50,000, and in no time the no reserve car was at this bid and hammered sold to an online bidder. With the border still closed, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this was bought by a Canadian.

Verdict: A very nice car bringing a correct price for today's market. Years ago the best of the '58 Impalas had overtaken the always popular '57, then fell behind again. Latest data (including this sale), suggests they have pulled even again. CURRENT MARKET VALUE 1978 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
1978 Chevrolet Impala Interior
1978 Chevrolet Impala Engine

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