Tuesday, June 13, 2017

2017 Vette City Classic Car Auction

OK, so it’s not exactly Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, but the annual Vette City Classic Car Auction is still a nice place to watch old cars offered for sale to the highest bidder. Auctioneers Phillip Traylor and Russell Mills do a nice job putting this event together at the ABC Auto Auction in Bowling Green, Ky. The selection consists of cruise-in-quality rides, with a few standouts along the way. It looked like there were quite a few no-sales this go-round, but it seemed to be more an issue with unrealistic floor prices than lack of buyers. At any rate, it was fun to take a look at everything that crossed the block last weekend.

My favorite car was, without a doubt, this ’68 Buick Riviera. This isn’t your typical spit-shined, repainted, glammed-up cruiser. This was an original, 50,000-mile cream puff. The paint was dull and thin, but it was 100% original. It had door dings and small imperfections consistent with a well-taken care of, 49-year-old used car. It fell a little short of the $17,500 reserve price, but I don’t think this crowd really appreciated how nice this car was. I hope whoever does end up with this one understands the value of originality and doesn’t try to restore it or something. That really would be a shame.

This little ’51 Studebaker 2R5 pickup was as nice as it was adorable. I suspect it had some recent paint and sympathetic restoration work done on it, but it was still pretty honest. The old, aftermarket turn signal stalk and lights tacked up on top of the fenders is something they would have done back when this wasn’t considered a classic. Studebaker cranked these trucks out basically unchanged from 1949 to 1953, but they were pretty modern and aerodynamic looking at the time. This particular one is screaming for a set of hubcaps, but it may actually never have come with them, and they’re probably tough to find. Cute truck with or without them, though.

1987 maybe wasn’t the best year for the Indy pace car, but you saw a surprisingly large number of these LeBaron convertibles back in the day. There were only about 1,000 pace car replicas, however, making this one much less common. The actual pace car was red, but they made this civilian version in red or silver. These were sort of a transition from the Broughamy luxury of the 1970s, and the sleeker, blander rides the 1990s would bring. Sure, it’s an underpowered, front-wheel-drive econo-vert, but it still has hidden headlights and fake burled wood trim. The idea of an affordable, mid-level convertible was still pretty popular in 1987.

Here’s the ever-popular black and gold ’78 Trans Am. This was as tough as Pontiac muscle got in 1978, with a 6.6-liter, 200-hp V8 rumbling beneath a shaker hood. This one did not have T-Tops like Bo Darville’s ’77, but they tended to leak, so maybe this is better anyway. You’ve got to love these cars. They’re just so over-the-top. It’s like a bodybuilder on steroids. Bumps, flairs, and stickers everywhere. And how about that fire-breathing bird covering the entire hood?! You tend to think of this as commonplace because you see these pretty often, but look at it—it is not commonplace at all.

I took more than 150 pictures from the 2017 Vette City Classic Car Auction. You can see them all by clicking this link.

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