6 January 2015

Auction Preview: Arizona 2015 Sub-$100,000 Cars

The Arizona auctions are best known for seven-figure prices—be it for a Batmobile or a bus—but the truth is that affordable cars abound. Most of the cars that will trade for less than $100,000 will be found at Barrett-Jackson, but quite a few cars in this price range can be found at the low-volume venues as well. Here are a handful that caught our attention.

1948 Buick Roadmaster Convertible
Presale estimate: $60,000-$90,000 (no reserve)
Hagerty Price Guide: $19,800-$106,000
Equipped with power windows, seat and top as well as GM’s new-for-1948 Dynaflow transmission, the Model 76C Roadmaster Convertible is a deeply impressive car and comes significantly cheaper than a comparable Cadillac Series 62 from the same year. 1948 was also the last year for the fourth-generation Roadmaster. This example consigned by Bonhams is an older restoration that is reported to still be very presentable, and it’s one of just a handful of postwar American cars consigned by Bonhams this year.

1967 Fiat-Abarth 1000 OTR
Presale estimate: $70,000-$90,000 (no reserve)
Hagerty Price Guide: $11,200-$41,100
One of Abarth’s more potent hot-rod Fiats was the 1000 OTR (Omologato Turismo Radiale), which was based on the 850 coupe. It was famously banned by the SCCA, essentially for being too quick, and only a handful ended up being built. This 1967 example offered by Bonhams had a successful hill climb career in period and was later restored during a period of ownership in Australia. RM sold a similar 1966 1000 OTR in Arizona last year for $79,750, which falls right in the middle of Bonhams’ estimate for its car.

1957 Chrysler Saratoga 2-Door Hardtop
RM Auctions
Presale estimate: $60,000-$80,000 (no reserve)
Hagerty Price Guide: $20,100-$55,500
The high fins, restrained use of chrome and 295-horsepower Spitfire Poly V-8 make the 1957 Chrysler Saratoga a fine choice for those seeking 1950s American elegance, and this example is about as elegant as they come. Represented by RM as being in concours condition, it has received extensive mechanical work for usability as well. The market for Saratogas has been steady for the past several years, so RM’s estimate seems a bit ambitious, but this does appear to be a strong example.

1978 Puma GTE Coupe
Presale estimate: not listed (no reserve)
Hagerty Price Guide: $4,600-$17,200
One of Barrett-Jackson’s first lots in Scottsdale is also one of its more unusual ones. The Puma is one of those cars that many enthusiasts have heard of but few have actually seen in person. Built in Brazil and exported (usually as kits) beginning in the early 1970s, Pumas mainly utilized the air-cooled Volkswagen components that were readily available in the country and featured styling cues from European sports cars of the day. This 1978 example has a VW 1600 with twin Weber carburetors and a Porsche 911 fan for extra punch. Although Pumas are quite rare, this hasn’t translated into extra value, meaning that the good looks, fun factor and serious exclusivity of this car could be had at an irresistible price.

1970 AMC AMX
Presale estimate: not listed (no reserve)
Hagerty Price Guide: $18,800-$58,500
The AMX was America’s other two-seater sports car and it presents a real performance bargain when compared to a Corvette. Of the two AMXs that Barrett-Jackson will offer in Scottsdale, this restored 1970 Golden Lime Metallic example is the more desirable. From the last year of production that the AMX was a standalone model, it is desirably equipped with the 390 V-8 and optional Go Package that includes front disc brakes and a Ram Air hood scoop. AMX prices spiked then dropped significantly a few years ago, but strong examples are on the rise again.

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