Gooding & Company
Lot 62: 1927 Ford Model T Custom Dry-Lakes Roadster
VIN T14884116. Sold at $11,200
This one took a lot of folks by surprise. The auction house guesstimate was $20k to $25k. It was a good-quality build, even if it was in off-the-shelf project-leftovers territory. With a fuel-injected Chevy 305 small block, 700R4, and modern 4-wheel disc brakes, it would take that $20k estimate to build one.
It may not be the most practical hot rod out there, but if you want practicality, get a new half-ton pickup. Well bought.
Lot 205: 1949 Kaiser Vagabond sedan
VIN K492038169. Sold at $10,080
Part of the Portland-based Tonkin Collection, this Kaiser Vagabond was done at $10,080. It has “two doors too many” for most folks — it’s only us cheapos who really value a 4-door. Not quite a wagon but more than a sedan, these unique Vagabonds are usually high on the hit list for Kaiser-Frazer fans — but those guys are getting to be few and far between. For those who like frumpy, odd 1950s sedans, this was a good buy.
Lot 56: 1972 Ford Thunderbird
VIN 2Y87N129498. Sold at $9,350
I have a soft spot for big 1970s FoMoCo products, especially Mark-series Lincolns. From this year through 1976, Big Bird was a mechanical clone of the Continental Mark IV. The 429-ci base engine and different trim are the biggest differences from the 460-ci-powered Mark IV. This one only had one owner from new, with 55,783 miles on the clock — although the tin worm was living under that vinyl roof. The only thing putting me off about the car was the color combination. At $9,350, it sold a bit rich compared to the market.
Lot 85: 1926 Ford Model T roadster
VIN 3986126. Sold at $5,600
Model Ts are seeing something of a renaissance, but don’t go selling your Hemi ’Cuda to buy every one you can get at estate sales. It’s more a case of demand finally starting to catch up with oversupply, with younger folks (read that as anyone who doesn’t have Medicare) deciding to see what all the oldsters had been making a fuss about. Sold cheap enough to modify, but I say leave it as-is and teach your kids how to drive it. It’s expendable enough and they’ll thank you later.
Lot 13: 1993 Chevrolet Caprice 4-door wagon
VIN 1G1BL83EXPW109443. Sold at $3,520
Once you get away from minty virgin 1994–96 Roadmasters, GM B-body wagons start to get cheap (despite still having a cult following, mostly among you, my “Cheap Thrills” brethren). Revamped with a repaint, custom DiNoc wood trim (Caprice wagons could be had with plastic lumber as an option), retro-look 17-inch Rally wheels and an obligatory surfboard, you could do a whole lot worse for the cheapest car at the biggest auction in Arizona.
Lot 314: 1938 Chevrolet Master 2-door sedan
VIN 5HB127842. Sold at $2,970
And this is how you can do worse. This small-block 350-powered half-baked street rod took the low honors at MAG. Speaking of half-baked, you could have spent more time waiting for a pizza to cook than was spent working this one’s body filler. They say you can hide a refrigerator in a white paint job, but how about a 53-foot reefer trailer? Hopefully bought as a parts donor for another ’38 Chevy.
Lot 303: 1979 Mercury Cougar 2-door coupe
VIN 9H93H701834. Sold at $550
As the new kid on the block in Maricopa County, Leake had a docket that had something for everyone — even “Cheap Thrills” seekers. The winner here was this unassuming Cougar.
Granted, I’ve had unassuming Cougars surprise me in the past, but she now lives on the East Coast with a new boyfriend. This Merc with the optional 351M engine, air conditioning, snooze control, tilt steering column and Quadrasonic 8-track tape deck should’ve really been trading for $1,500 or $2k on a bad day. It was one of the first cars to sell on Friday. This was a great deal. I hope a FoMoCo fan got it.
Russo and Steele
Lot TH220: 2000 Chrysler 300M 4-door sedan
VIN 2C3HE66G8YH137405. Sold at $330
Cheapest-sale honors go to Russo this year. I had a 1999 (first year of the 300M) as a trusty winter beater a few years ago. That one cost more than double what this one did, ran great, but had more rust and every single panel was dented, dinged or creased in one way or another. I didn’t buy it as a future collectible, and neither should you. Even at used-appliance money, this was well sold.