Rose Backs acts as a spotter for her husband, Matt, as he works to sell a 1922 Hudson limousine in Portland, Oregon for Silver Collector Car Auctions. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)
If you're the type of automobile enthusiast who wants to simply buy a collectible automobile to drive, rather than attend an "automotive event" or flip a car in six months to make a grand or so, the market for affordable collectors cars has returned; or so it seems. There are more auctions with cars below the $35,000 thresh-hold, such as a recent auction conducted by Silver Auctions at the Portland Exposition Center in Portland, Oregon.
Of the 190 vehicles, that included several motorcycles, 123 sold. If you wanted to buy a 1920s limousine, or any of several General Motors mid-size muscle cars or even a 1950s British sedan with an updated Nissan drivetrain, you could do so for well under $25,000, in most cases. Call it an auction of irregular autos for regular guys.
This Chevrolet was one of a million sold in the model year, 1941. In fact, the 1941 model year is sometimes referred to as the "year Chevrolet got everything right." Powered by a smooth-running, overhead valve six cylinder engine displacing 216.5 cubic inches that produced 90 horsepower, it rivaled the Fords of its time. The exterior design was pleasing to the eye and is likely another reason that the Special Deluxe, introduced half-way through the model year, sold 84,000 units; despite the abbreviated production run due to the start of the Second World War.
If someone wanted an interesting vintage British automobile, albeit with some modifications to make it easier to use as a daily driver, there was a 1950 Hillman Minx sedan retrofitted with an engine and transmission from a Datsun series 1600 convertible sports car.
Hillman automobiles don't show up at auctions in the United States very often; so a lot of people in the audience weren't quite certain what it was. Nonetheless, they came up and looked at it. The purists seemed a bit put off by the drivetrain, which wasn't original. Bidding stopped at $4,900 on the docket; however, a short time later, a winning offer of $5,100 was tendered and the deal was done.
Towards the end of the second day's auction activity, a turquoise 1969 Dodge Polara 500 two-door convertible came onto the docket. Completely original and unrestored, it had been parked in the garage of the original owner from sometime in 1979 until 2009. A flyer showed the original owner, Arch McKeever and his wife, June, with the car, earlier this year. (Mr. McKeever is 94.)
The Polara was equipped with a 330 horsepower, 383 cubic-inch V8 engine, a posi-traction rear end with gearing that had a 3:23 final ratio and a heavy-duty suspension package. It also was one of just 573 Polara 500 convertibles reportedly ever built. That all helped it to garner a best bid of $13,500; however, the current owner, who'd driven it down from Seattle - a journey of about 165 miles - refused to drop the $18,500 reserve. -- Terry Parkhurst
Recommended website: to see an in-depth auction report on this particular auction, consider Collector Car Market Review magazine, available in print or in digital format at http://www.collectorcarmarket.com/