Few buyers excited by spring classic car auction

NOVI, Mich. — What should have been a buyers’ and sellers’ delight wasn’t. There was great potential among the dozens of cars and trucks presented for sale by Classic Motors Cars at its second annual spring auction here.

But bids were not high enough   to tempt the majority of sellers. Of the more than 150 vehicles for sale during the two-day event, 50 changed hands.

Top sellers included a 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 Hemi convertible for $41,580, including the  8 percent buyer’s premium; a 1940 Ford V-8 Deluxe convertible for $37,800, and a 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster for $36,720.

Classic Motorcars of Canton, Oh., did round up an interesting and varied inventory. There were Jaguars, Mercedes and Porsches, a couple of Model Ts, handsome members of the American Motors family, hot rods, Corvettes and older luxury sedans.

The seller of a signal orange 1973 Porsche 914 2.0-liter outlined its history on the car’s windshield. The two-seater, with plaid inserts in black vinyl, had had one ground-up restoration and was described as a  “complete blast to drive.” Close inspection was not only not a problem, it was encouraged.

But the “original luggage rack” car did not sell.

John Jacques was disappointed when his gleaming dark blue metallic 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS 396 Turbo Jet also failed to change hands as it crossed the auction block at Novi the first day of the weekend sale.

The high bid was $29,000, said the Clay, Mich. resident. Not enough, said Jacques, an experienced enthusiast who spent four years bringing the Impala SS to perfection.

Jacques said the Impala, which he bought locally five years earlier, had earlier had a body-off restoration. He added a dry cell battery and new air conditioning. The car features Eaton Positraction, a new interior and an aftermarket AM/FM radio with no modifications to the dash, he said.

“This was not my first project of this kind,” said Jacques, who appeared anxious to begin another.

“I also put in an oversize aluminum radiator and three-inch dual exhausts in the Impala,” he said. “It does not purr like a kitten.”

Neither did a head-turning 1934 Plymouth, with side pipes and terrific tobacco-and-blue color scheme. Bidding on the street rod did not meet the seller’s expectations and it went unsold.

Among the successful sales was a 1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Deluxe coupe. Black with a gray-and-burgundy interior and powered by a 216-inch six with three-speed manual, the Fleetmaster underwent a complete body restoration and repaint on bare metal in 2011. Its seller reported to have spent close to $16,000 on the Chevrolet in that year alone. It sold at the Novi auction for $14,040.

A Bill Blass edition 1982 Lincoln Continental Mark VI, in the Blass signature tailored two-color scheme (black and red in this instance), sold for under $3,000 — a lot of car for the money. Its background said this was one of 11 built.

An unusual restored Firecracker red and white 1979 Jeep Cherokee Chief 4X4, with many new components and valued at up to $14,000, did not sell at auction. Equipped with a small-diameter steering wheel and Edelbrock carburetor, the Cherokee Chief’s rugged “western” interior completed the package. Valued at up to $14,000, it did not sell at auction.

Rust bucket or fabulous find? A beat-up 1927 Ford Model T dirt track racer, advertised as a “barn find,” boasted of its original paint and patina, hand-made bucket seats and racing windscreen. Its provenance indicated the T had raced on dirt tracks in Iowa and Nebraska close to 70 years ago, but likely had not run since then.

Offered with a bill of sale only and valued at up to $30,000 prior to the April auction, the ’27 T did not sell in Novi.