The Best Buys at Any Price

1972 Iso Grifo Series II

Gooding & Company Lot 66, which sold for the “was everyone sleeping?” price of $511,500

Earlier this year, a good friend — and wonderfully overzealous lover of all things Iso — asked me if there was any chance this car could be worth $1 million, which was the owner’s dearest hope.

Say what?… Ummmm, no.

A few weeks passed, and then the partial-dose-of-reality asking price was $750k. That’s aggressive, but now maybe we are in “make a lowlball offer of $625k, and you’re in business” territory. Deal doesn’t happen, and the car is consigned for auction.

The world would now set the price.

I half expected that this “unrepeatable archeological artifact” would knock the ball out the white Gooding tent and be one of the true outliers of the weekend. Well, it was — on the low side.

Maybe the slightly strong catalog estimate scared away bidders — or maybe some thought that there’s no way they could afford that car because everyone will be bidding on it. Whatever the reason, the outcome was remarkable for the new owner. The rarest-of-the-rare Grifos in extraordinary complete, unmolested, original condition in the best spec! WELL BOUGHT. The room was caught dozing — it happens.

Runner-ups in the “sleeping room” category were Gooding & Company Lot 28, a 1995 Porsche 993 RS that sold for $363,000, and Bonhams Lot 92, a 1964 Pontiac Tempest wagon for free — okay, it was $15,400. Stephen Serio, SCM contributor

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1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/340 coupe

Gooding & Company Lot 147, sold at $110,000

This Split-Window Corvette pegged the tan meter, with saddle leather and gold paint. But it was also all original, and its hot-bond body seams and mottled metalflake as-sprayed-by-GM paint proved it. I dig all-original Corvettes, even if they’re not the best color. This car was cheap for its documentation and condition. Jim Pickering, SCM Managing Editor and ACC Editor

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1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale

Mecum Lot F93, sold at $105,000

While roaming Monterey and evaluating Porsches, one car startled me. You’re expecting it to be a 993 RS or 993 GT2, perhaps a 964 RS or Turbo S. Instead it was Mecum’s Lot F93, a 1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale. When in graduate school in Cambridge, MA, I walked to class every day past a blue example parked on Mt. Auburn Street. Stunning.

Tulsa’s Don Smith and his lovely wife took me through their beautiful car, in red with a white/red interior. I was about to call Donald Osborne for a quick primer, but said to myself, “Argh, it’ll sell for $140,000 to $150,000 and I’ll cheap out.” It looked well done — to someone who can’t even spell “Alfa.”

I was off elsewhere when the Smiths’ 10 cars (three Ford GT40s, four muscle cars, three others) hit the block. But I did look it up online that night. $105,000 all-in. Phooey. Prescott Kelly, SCM Contributing Editor

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1953 Moretti 750 Gran Sport berlinetta

RM Sotheby’s Lot 129, sold at $132,000

This car is all about getting great Italian design and engineering in a petite package.

Moretti is not likely to be the first brand you think of when it comes to Italian sports cars, but that does not mean it lacks the flair of a Ferrari or Maserati.

This Gran Sport also has the right history. It was featured in the August 1954 issue of Road & Track, and it came from the collection of iconic race car driver Skip Barber. This beauty is special. Just think 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter at one-tenth the price. Chad Taylor, SCM Data Specialist

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1971 Datsun 240Z coupe

Mecum Lot T235, sold at $10,000

This Series 1 240Z’s restoration looked a little shaky in places, but it didn’t really matter. For $10k, this was a fun driver. The dash had a cap on it, but most 240Zs show cracks there, so that’s no deal-breaker. It was $20,000 cheaper than a Series 2 car at the same auction. I’d call it a pretty good deal on a car that is seeing upside in the current market. Brian Baker, SCM IT Manager and writer