1 February 2017

Scottsdale deals and steals

The Scottsdale auctions aren’t exactly Craigslist when it comes to bargain hunting. TV coverage combined with strategically located bidders’ bars tend to wring every last dollar and then some out of buyers. But it isn’t always the case. Sometimes you get lucky and you catch the dealers and the other bidders napping. This year, it was often European sports cars that snuck away cheap. Here are five from Scottsdale that are either going to make their new owners happy with the deal they got, or show up on a dealer website with a hefty markup, probably sometime next week:

1974 Jaguar E-type Roadster
Sale Price: $49,500
Hagerty Price Guide: $44,100-$141,000
Barrett-Jackson
V12 E-type roadsters with four-speeds are somewhat rare.  This one had a recent $110,000 restoration featuring a rebuilt, bored and stroked V-12 with six Weber carbs. Cosmetics were quite decent (with the exception of the blingy 17” chrome wire wheels) and it sounded almost Ferrari-like. Going late in the afternoon on Sunday, it was clear that the right buyers just weren’t in the room. It seemed about $20,000 light.

1962 Morgan Plus 4 Drophead Coupe
Sale Price: $34,100
Hagerty Price Guide: $20,900-$69,300
Gooding & Company
This no-reserve lot at Gooding oozed charm. A nicely mellowing older restoration with California black plates, it was one of just 433 built in this very pretty body style, which uncharacteristically, featured heretical (for a Moggie) creature comforts like roll-up windows and a lined folding top. Going strictly by the price guides, it was maybe just a few grand light, but of all the sub-$50K cars on offer, it might have been the one I most wanted to walk away with. So much eyeball and charm for so little money.

1963 Alfa Romeo Giulia Spider
Sale Price: $44,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $33,500-$83,500
Barrett-Jackson
Like the above Jag, 2017 just wasn’t the year for European sports cars at the Amerigasm that was Barrett-Jackson 2017. This pretty red Alfa was recently restored and other than standing a bit too high, it looked quite decent. This one appeared to go to a well-known dealer who was positively salivating at the prospect of a quick $20,000 profit.

1984 Avanti
Sale Price: $7,015
Hagerty Price Guide: $7,900-$29,600
Russo and Steele
These later built Avanti IIs certainly lack the cachet of the Studebakers of twenty years earlier or even the appeal of the Newman-Altman cars that preceded them. But these 1980s IIs, built when the company was owned by Steve Blake are actually great driving, well-built cars that are quite comfortable, even if the body-colored bumpers aren’t everyone’s taste. With just 22,000 miles on this one, it seemed criminally cheap.

1985 Lotus Esprit Turbo
Sale Price: $22,000
Hagerty Price Guide: $15,100-$39,900
Russo and Steele
Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed Esprits of any year are heating up after being the poster children for cheap exotics. They’re fast, relatively easy to live with and drop-dead gorgeous. Avoid snapping a timing belt or having an engine fire as a result of worn-out fuel lines and these can be as fun as any Ferrari or Lambo for a fraction the price. A similar car sold at RM for over twice as much. This car at just over $20,000 qualifies as the exotic steal of the week.

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