Another week brings us another bumper crop of interesting Bring a Trailer auction highlights. This week’s auctions ranged from Ferraris to Volkswagens with a little bit of everything in between. Though some sales prices may have appeared to be bargains, we’d suggest they were anything but.
1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo
All Z32 series Nissan 300ZX models had 3.0-liter V-6 engines, but they came in two flavors: naturally aspirated and twin-turbocharged. Here, we have one of the latter cars in Super White with red leather with a five-speed manual gearbox and 48,000 miles on the odometer. As you can see from our Market Watch feature, Z32 Turbos have typically lagged in value against their period competitors, namely third-generation (FD series) RX-7s and twin-turbo fourth-generation Supras. This was a strong sales price courtesy of an engaged seller, strong auction photos and engagement, and an interesting color combo. One strong sale doesn’t make a market trend, however, so we’ll keep on monitoring Z32 prices going forward.
2008 Mercedes-Benz CLK63 AMG Black Series
When the CLK AMG Black Series launched in 2007, it was one of the more exciting cars to come out of the gates at Affalterbach that year. Essentially a road-going version of the period Formual 1 pace car, the CLK63 AMG Black Series had a naturally aspirated 6.2-liter V-8 (one of the last, great non-blown, big-displacement AMG engines) which made 500 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. It was a real hooligan car, equally capable of setting quick, precise lap times at your favorite track as it was doing big smoky burnouts and lurid drifts. That’s why it’s so unfortunate that this example had been messed with. Someone in the chain of ownership thought an aftermarket supercharger, ECU software, and exhaust system would make the car even better. Instead, it was damaged in an accident, repaired, and offered on BaT at auction. The seller should have taken the high bid on this one and never looked back.
With an MSRP of nearly $125,000, this 638-hp 2011 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 was sold off a Florida Chevy dealer’s lot in 2011 to its first owner. Though you or I would probably be excited to take delivery and immediately put a few thousand miles on this ultimate C6 Corvette, the buyer was apparently content to let his or her car sit in the garage, detailing it monthly, finally selling it earlier this year to a dealership with 452 miles on the odometer. We don’t know how much the dealer paid, but presumably it was more than the $60,000 high bid-coincidentally, that’s the amount it takes to buy a brand-new C8 Corvette, which is just a flat-out better car. Let’s recap: a virtually brand-new C6 ZR1 failed to sell at less than half its original MSRP. The moral of the story? Drive your ZR1s, people. These are used cars, not collector’s items. If you think a few more years will change that, take a look at C4 ZR1 values.
1988 BMW M3
If you were hoping a good old-fashioned recession might help bring E30-series BMW M3 prices back down to earth, it’s not happening yet. The latest evidence is this 1988 example with reasonable miles (116,000 currently) in attractive paint scheme of white over red, but in generally scruffy condition. The listing mentions some aftermarket accessories, non-functioning cruise control and central locking systems, some rust around the sunroof, and paint damage. Some 15 years ago, this car would have struggled to bring $15,000, let alone the $45,150 it sold for on BaT. Sadly, for those who don’t own one already, this was a fairly market-correct price.
1995 Ferrari F355 Spider
One of the unique things about Bring a Trailer is that it’ll accept cars that a traditional auction house wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. Case in point, this ’95 F355 Spider which has been used, abused and then used some more. Positives include a desirable six-speed manual gearbox (worth a healthy premium over a comparable F1 transmission car), no accident history, and reports of a belt service four years ago, but no receipts. Negatives? That belt service (a $10k job or so, if all goes well) will be due again in one year based on time, the factory seats were stained and replaced by cheap looking aftermarket items, the convertible top is said to be slow operating, and 51,000 miles is more than a bit higher than average for F355s at this age. Five previous owners, a filthy engine bay and general wear and neglect make this expensive-to-service Ferrari a somewhat scary buy. This is no recession bargain; excellent, need-nothing Spiders are about $30,000 more, and well worth it.
1956 Devin Sports Racer
Devin Enterprises was a company that sold fiberglass sports car bodies out of California starting in the mid-1950s. The company lasted about a decade, initially, and could turn a more pedestrian chassis and engine (Triumph, MG, Panhard, Chevy, etc.) into something that looks like it should be battling Ferrari Monzas and Porsche 550 Spyders on the track. Some Devins were actually raced quite successfully, as well. This 1956 Devin utilizes air-cooled Volkswagen running gear and is said to be in running, driving condition, but isn’t a show-quality car. The seller bought this car on BaT two years ago, and after a little refurbishment, took a small profit. Fairly bought and sold for a car that looks like it should be worth multiples of this amount.
As you well know, fourth-generation Supras (especially the Turbo models) have been red hot of late and this ’93 Turbo has good colors, just 16,000 miles and a clean Carfax report. We’ve seen the best, low-mileage Supras top $100,000, so what happened here? Blame it on the four-speed automatic transmission that virtually no buyer really wants and maybe a slight cooling of the Supra market. We’ve seen fourth-gen cars flood the marketplace in the past couple years, their sellers in search of a lottery-style big win. From this sale and others we’ve seen, the tides may be starting to shift.
1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI
Sporty water-cooled Volkswagens from the late 1970s and 1980s seem to be the new-old hotness at BaT of late (remember this VW Scirocco that sold for $37,000?) and the trend doesn’t seem to be letting up. This week we bring you an ’84 GTI with 78,000 miles that sold for not much less than a brand-new example would in 2020. This is a 1.8-liter car with a five-speed manual gearbox, well kept in black over blue, with dealer-installed accessories including Bosch fog lamps. As an original, first-gen GTI, the window sticker included with the sale shows an MSRP of $9,445. The sales result was 2.5 times this amount, and probably well worth it considering how many GTIs have simply been used up and junked. Here’s proof that very strong cars bring very strong prices.