“Cheap” Cars At Auctions Do Exist!

At the recently concluded Mecum auction in Denver, a car like this was offered for sale:

See the source image

From consumerguide.com a picture of a 1990 Cadillac Allante. Once again, Mecum does not allow online photos of its lots to be captured or I would have shown a picture of the actual car.

I realize that my affinity for these cars is WAY higher than 99.9% of the car fanatic population. Still, want to guess what the hammer price was? $1,500! Even Kelley Blue Book puts a higher value on these cars than that price. OK, with the premium the buyer actually paid $1,650.

Auctions are not venues of complete integrity. The auction companies make absolutely no guarantees as to the quality of the cars. It is the definition of caveat emptor, buyer beware. In fine print, the auction houses reserve the right to “bid up” cars sold with a reserve, a minimum price that must be met before the consignor will agree to sell. (The Allante in question was obviously sold at no reserve.) Also, don’t forget that two or three determined and well-heeled bidders can force the price of any given car way beyond its “market” value.

Still, on occasion a car can be purchased at auction “below the market.” That probably doesn’t happen often, but it does happen as this Allante sale proves. Remember that one sale doesn’t make a market, so the fact that this particular car sold for such a low price doesn’t mean the next five will.

For $1,650 plus whatever it would have cost for shipping I would have found a place to park this car. One of the allures of automobile auctions for me is the hope that, one day, I will buy a car because the price is just too tempting. My wonderful wife and I currently plan on attending the big Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona next January with her parents. I think the probability that her father buys a car, while not high, is also not zero. That’s OK because life should be enjoyed.

I would very much like to read about your experiences with car auctions. Thanks.


2 thoughts on ““Cheap” Cars At Auctions Do Exist!

  1. On buying a vehicle in Scottsdale during the January 2019 Barrett Jackson Auction – NOT SURE! Maybe more after we receive our “Auction Information” I could make a better prediction. However, if there is a 1952 Studebaker Comander Starlight Coup, well who knows what an old man might do!?!


    1. “I think the probability that her father buys a car, while not high, is also not zero.” Not Zero = Not Sure


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