“Cheap” Cars At Auctions Do Exist!

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

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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.

Electric Turbos


I’ve often wondered why turbochargers didn’t have some type of electric assist at low end to get rid of turbo lag. Well, now some turbos will. Of course, I’ve often wondered why we don’t have thermo-chromic roof shingles that turn a lighter color at higher temperatures to reflect heat and turn a darker color at lower temperatures to absorb heat. Actually, I think some company has developed such a product, but as I understand it, stupid, arbitrary HOA covenants are a big obstacle. Don’t get me started…

A friend once said to me that I should stop coming up with ideas and start developing them. Well, I’m not an engineer and I am not well connected. In general, no man is an island. I cannot develop an ecosystem out of thin air that would allow me to actually develop these ideas on my own or even let me do what I want to do for a living (assuming I knew what that was) and earn reasonable compensation. Almost all of us need some help on occasion. No one who can help has been willing to help me for a long time.


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From autoevolution.com a picture of a Cadillac Allante convertible with the optional hardtop in place. In my previous blog I often wrote of my interest in these cars. In fact, even though I am not a member I receive emails from the national Cadillac Allante/XLR club.

The Allante was a failure; no other way exists to describe it. It was underpowered at first, very expensive and fraught with reliability issues. In its seven year run, only about 21,000 were produced. Many car enthusiasts have put the Allante in the same category as cars like the Pontiac Fiero in that as the Allante was finally developed into a good car, General Motors pulled the plug.

I think the exterior design is breathtaking and I don’t mean that in a Seinfeld kind of way. Of course, the body was by the legendary Italian company Pininfarina, so the looks should be no surprise. Here’s another one in a different/better color and better wheels:

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From classiccars.com a picture of a 1993 Allante in green and with wire wheels. In my opinion these wheels really suit the car. I have no room in my garage for another car and, to be honest, as a retired person on a pension I should not be dabbling in automobiles just as a hobby. If I were still earning a good living, though, I would probably buy a “toy” car every now and then, drive it for awhile and then sell it to buy something else. Oh well, as the line from Diner says, “If you don’t have dreams you have nightmares.”