10 August 2015

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

The Monterey auctions are mostly about high-dollar dream cars passing from one millionaire to another. These are the cars that make the headlines and get the pundits talking, but given the sheer volume of cars that come up for sale on the peninsula each August, there is always a decent number of collector cars that the rest of us can consider, or at least comprehend, bidding on. Here are five that we’ll be watching:

1965 Lotus Cortina Mk I
Presale estimate: $75,000 - $100,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $23,400 - $77,900

The term “wolf in sheep’s clothing” is a pretty popular one in the car world. Few if any cars epitomize the phrase more than the Lotus Cortina, with which Colin Chapman took the attractive but docile-looking Mk I Ford Cortina and gave it the Lotus treatment with the famed 1,558cc Lotus Twin Cam, lightweight body panels, front disc brakes and beefed up suspension. Enough were built to homologate for FIA Group 2 racing, and there are plenty of pictures of Jim Clark in period sailing through a corner in a Cortina up on three wheels. Bonhams’ well-kept example last changed hands at Quail Lodge in 2011 for $42,120, but the market for genuine Mk I Cortinas has seen a jump since then, as reflected in the presale estimate.

1958 Lincoln Continental  Mk III Convertible
Presale estimate: $70,000 - $80,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $30,200 - $91,500

The Mk III Continentals were massive cars with similarly massive engines. The 430/375-hp V-8 was necessary for a car that weighed almost 5,000 pounds, and it was 229 inches long. Only a little over 3,000 were produced in 1958, so considering the size, rarity, extensive list of equipment and notable build quality of these Continentals, they represent a decent value. Mecum’s example was a long-time piece of the Jim Rogers collection and has reportedly been refreshed to factory specifications.

1989 BMW M3 Coupe
Presale estimate: $60,000 - $70,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $17,000 - $67,900

The E30 M3 is one of those cars that’s already a full-blown collectible despite being a relatively new car, and if you wanted one of these for cheap, you missed the boat two years ago. They’re still not completely unobtainable, but their value has continued to rise and it will be interesting to see how this one does in a large auction setting. Auctions America sold a 1990 example in the same color and similar condition as Mecum’s M3 at its California sale a few weeks ago for $55,000, which is already below Mecum’s presale estimate for Monterey.

1996 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Presale estimate: $80,000 - $95,000
Hagerty Price Guide:  N/A

The 993 was the last of the air-cooled 911s, and the market for these cars has been growing at a faster pace than almost anything else. As a result, more are showing up at auction, and Mecum alone will have seven 993s in Monterey. How the 993s do when they cross the block in Monterey will be a useful indicator of how the market for these cars is overall.

1986 Morgan Plus 8
Russo and Steele
Presale estimate: N/A
Hagerty Price Guide: $18,600 - $72,100

The Morgan Plus 8 combined the timeless (or stagnant, depending on who you ask) Morgan styling with the grunt of a Rover V-8, and seriously improved the performance of the classic roadster. Russo and Steele’s example was restored seven years ago, and although it was made in 1986, it looks like it could have been made 40 years earlier. Values haven’t moved much for Plus 8s, so they remain a cheaper (and faster) alternative to most of the big Healeys.

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