It’s January and time for the biggest kick off to the auction season. Car guys and gals flock to the Desert Southwest and Florida for some of the biggest auctions of the year. For those that don’t, or can’t go, it’s almost like watching the Super Bowl on TV. I myself was one of those TV watchers. I keep in touch with guys that are there and watch the auctions on TV. Not only is it entertaining, but also it can give insights in buyers’ attitudes, trends, and what’s popular and what’s lost its luster.
Recently, I enjoyed watching Barrett Jackson; I can tell you there was a wide variety of cars and trends that I saw. Their Saturday night show was amazing. An auction is an auction, and there are some deals, and others that well, you’re jaw drops with amazement. Barrett Jackson does have some wild moments at their auctions, like when the Batmobile was sold last year, and this year, the promotional Burt Reynolds Smokey and the Bandit 1977 Pontiac Trans Am selling for $500,000! What an iconic car that brought back such wonderful memories of that movie. I did feel older though, watching Burt get out of the Trans Am. Seeing him older in the passenger seat and not driving with that sexy smirk, was a little tough. That movie was a favorite of mine growing up. That movie launched the CB craze which was all the rage of that time. Our whole family had handles!
The price of Trans Ams were up as with other Pontiacs. Now, we can’t get all wild and think that the Trans Am in your garage is now worth a fortune after watching this year’s sale. Condition, rarity, and other factors come into play when determining value. An auction is the only way a seller may get more than they expected. It’s true any well-advertised auction that is marketed, and with active bidding, will show what the market is that day for that particular car. The key is “that day in time.” Just like other auctions we have done, The Lambrecht Auction is another great example of marketing and what a car is worth that day in time.
When I was watching, I could see the age of the crowd had changed somewhat. I noticed more younger people were bidding. That’s good! Keep the automotive hobby and history alive.
As in the past couple years, the American Muscle Cars had ticked up and GTO’s, Chevelles, and Mopars were stronger. This is based on the age of the bidders and their youthful memories. Resto-mod conversions were also popular. Pickup trucks were hot because everyone loves a pickup truck. The Cadillacs and Hot Rods still retain their popularity. Those iconic tailfins, they just don’t age and will always be an American treasure. The Impalas just don’t seem to get old and also represented strongly. I saw some adjustment in the 1950’s and a few of the earlier models although Brass Era cars and early luxury cars seemed popular. One item to note, the foreign cars have come on strong. Mercedes, Ferrari, Porsche to name a few. I think that has to do with a lot of new money and viewing them as good investment cars that are popular around the world. A MAJOR trend that isn’t seen as much on the auction shows, but on TV shows and our auctions, is the popularity of project cars, barn finds, and/or survivor cars. This was evident at the January auctions.
What is different about a “survivor” car? The project cars or field cars let everyone become a bidder and be able to envision what their finished project will look like. Also the parts are getting harder to find for some of these models, and the project or field cars are the only way to get them. The one thing that we have seen is that bidders may be pickier on what they buy with field cars. They need to be mostly complete, rare, or the majority of the vital components there. Kinda like, “ if it looks like a car or truck, it can be a car or truck again.” Good projects bring good money! But only if they are well advertised and sold through an experienced auctioneer.
The most important thing is that auctions are popular, unpredictable, and can bring amazing results. Something is worth what at least 2 people are willing to pay for them. Auctions are exciting and when the auctioneers do their magic, they can bring the money. As sellers, and us auctioneers, it’s important to look at trends and use that information when looking at buying or selling your collection. Seeing what the generational trends are, popularity of models, economy, that’s all-important in making your decision on what you are buying or selling. Right now, it’s a good time to sell and the hobby is strong. Like that old saying, “you make hay when the sun shines.” Well, the sun is shining on the classic car market now, and if you’re thinking of selling, the timing is right and we would like to work with you. Give us a call, let’s talk about the market and your collection.
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC
1847 80th Ave.
Hardwick, MN 56134