27 March 2015

Auction Preview: Worldwide's 2015 Houston sale

Worldwide Auctioneers is getting ready for its annual Houston sale on April 25, and around 90 cars are expected to cross the block at the La Torretta Lake Resort & Spa,. This is a historically diverse event with vehicles ranging from high-end muscle cars to desirable European sports cars (it isn’t often you see a Yenko Camaro and a Ferrari Dino under the same roof).  There are many interesting lots to choose from, but we narrowed it down to  five of particular interest.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 427/425 

Estimate: $650,000 - $850,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $386,000 - $576,000

The ZL1 is probably the most sought-after and celebrated Camaro ever built, sporting an all-aluminum 427 big-block engine that came at $4,160 (nearly twice the cost of a base Camaro alone). Because of this incredibly high cost, only 69 were built, making the ZL1 a headline car when one comes up for sale. Only a handful have surfaced for sale over the past few years, with many of them meeting reserve. With a column-shifted automatic transmission, the estimate for this one seems a bit ambitious — well above documented ZL1 race cars. Is this example really the best one to be offered over the past few years, or is this just a test of the waters to see if there still is a strong market for these cars? We’ll soon find out.

1968 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Hurst 455/390 

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000

Hagerty Price Guide:  $33,400 - $93,500

While the 1969 Hurst/Olds is best remembered by muscle car fans, it was 1968 that saw the beginning of the legendary partnership between Oldsmobile and Hurst. This pairing allowed Oldsmobile to sidestep GM’s 400-cubic-inch engine cap in the A-Body and install its new 455 big-block. Hurst’s addition was its Dual-Gate shifter, allowing full manual control of that TH-400 automatic transmission. While these cars very rarely come up for sale (about 515 examples were built), they’re not incredibly expensive compared to the later W-30, their values are lower and they offer an additional 20 hp. To an Oldsmobile enthusiast, this is a “Holy Grail” car, and as this one even features some tasteful upgrades such as air conditioning, it should still perform well on and off the block. 

1989 Lamborghini Countach Silver Anniversary 

Estimate: $400,000 - $500,000 

Hagerty Price Guide:  $218,000 - $360,000

The Countach is probably one of the best poster cars from the 1970s and ’80s, and so it’s hard to imagine a Gen-Xer who didn’t dream about one day owning one. Because of that fact we have seen a steady rise in Countach prices over the past year as those same Gen-Xers finally have some disposable income. With the pricing of the rare “Periscopo” cars reaching above the $1M mark, it is no surprise that later renditions are appreciating quickly as well. With a high estimate of $500,000 on this example, we’ll see if the market continues to appreciate that quickly or if it still has some ground to make up to meet expectations.

1972 Chevrolet C10 ½ Ton Fleetside Pickup 307/135 

Estimate: $30,000 - $40,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $4,400 - $30,500

The ’67-’72 Chevrolet pickup is possibly the most recognized and celebrated classic Chevy truck to date. These pickups were well equipped, had plenty of engine choices and looked great on top of all that. Prices have been rising steadily as trucks have gained in popularity, especially for those priced out of the muscle car market. This particular example seems to be one of the few you’ll find that hasn’t had the originally equipped 307 small-block swapped for a 350. While that is extremely interesting does it justify an estimate you’d expect for a Cheyenne Super with a 402 big-block? Probably not.

1956 Continental Mark II 

Estimate: $40,000 - $60,000

Hagerty Price Guide: $21,800 - $102,000

Continental was Ford’s attempt at a luxury brand above and beyond Lincoln. This experiment only lasted for 1956-57, and these cars were extremely expensive at $10,000 (about $86,000 in today’s money), which was nearly twice the cost of a new Cadillac in those days or the cost of an average house. Sadly, few cars were made before production stopped. If you look at the original cost, these cars are a relative deal if you can find one in great shape. They have remained relatively stable in value, making them less of an investment and more of an enthusiast’s car.

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