Hate to admit it, but at the half dozen or so “farm” auctions I’ve attended this year I’ve been darn near flying blind on prices. I know what a good price is for the stuff I own and similar stuff like BMW motorcycles, Classic Minis, and big trucks. Well, the Marshall Public Library just got a copy of the 2012 edition of the Old Cars Price Guide, and I’ve been perusing it a bit, and looks like I’ve been off the mark a fair bit.

Back to the pair of non running but complete and surface rusted only ’58 Chevies I saw go for around $400, barely scrap price. These were Impala 4 door hardtops, not your everyday 4 door post, and the book says they’re each worth around $2000 at least in that condition. Then there was the mega auction west of Aberdeen with a couple dozen pickups and such from the 30s through the 60s. Again, coming from west of the snowbelt and a thinly populated rural county where salt is an unneccesary expense for the DOTs, pretty much surface rust at worst. Book values are typically $2000 to $3000, and they sold for just above scrap value at $300 to $1000. I bid $200 on a “61 Corvair at the same auction, and let the scrapper outbid me at $225; The book says that Corvair is worth around $1000. I did bring home a 99% complete but dead ’75 Yamaha MX250 from that auction for $25, easily worth that in parts even if  I can’t restore it. Than on monday I came home empty, dropping out of the bidding on another 99% complete and damn near rust free minor classic, a ’78 MG Midget. Book on that one is $1200, and the guy that bid it up to the grand sum of $725 couldn’t even fit in it and hardly knew what it was. If as the auctioneer said it only needs the carb rebuilt, it’ll quickly sell for $2000 or more after that minor repair… Then again, that auctioneer listed it as a much more desirable ’69 model.

Which brings us to the issue of  “desirability”… Now a good argument could be made that I should quit holding out for a 2nd generation Corvair or at least a rare 1st generation ‘Vair like a wagon, van, or pickup. But the book says they’re all worth about the same, with the exception of the convertables and Corsas being worth a bit more. I prefer the solidity of a roof in a sports sedan, and I know Corvairs enough to know there ain’t a hell of difference between a Monza and a Corsa, and them 4 carbs or a turbo can be a mixed blessing. So I’ll hold out for the ‘Vair I prefer. Same with the Spridget- the older ones share half my Classic Mini parts inventory, and I’d happily haul a “frogeye” Sprite hundreds of miles home. And the bikes… This rural area is littered with Japanese bikes from the 60s thru the 80s, and at the farm auctions they’re pretty much ignored. Especially the 80s- The Japanese gave us a torrent of technology in the form of shaft drives, XT550s, a triple, turbos, and CX650s that deserve to be preserved. It costs all of a couple MPG to tow the little trailer behind the VW dieselcar and the investment pays off handily…

So next year I need to attend more auctions and quit bein’ so damn cheap!

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