Welcome to the latest edition of “For the money,” where we examine auction sales from the prior month and see which rides you’d pick with a stack of theoretical cash. Last month, we set an arbitrary threshold of $70k and offered an eclectic swath to choose from. Of the vehicles listed, the 1938 Lincoln Zephyr took home the win with the readers, though the Cadillac CTS-V wagon wasn’t far behind.
This month, we set the bar at $50,000—not too far from June’s average new car price of $48,808. It’s not bargain hunting by any stretch, but you can still get a lot of classic—and certainly more personality than most new cars—at this level. Which one of these would you add to your garage if you were in the market?
Sold for $44,625 on Bring a Trailer, including buyer’s premium
In 1984, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer kicked off the domestic luxury SUV market (Land Rover’s Range Rover was in production but didn’t arrive in the U.S. till 1987). The Grand Wagoneer’s leather and carpeting nearly everywhere on the inside along with posh woodgrain exterior styling took a utilitarian vehicle and made it country club-worthy. Its standout character has helped it soar in popularity even among the burgeoning classic SUV segment—#2 condition value has more than doubled over the past five years. Someone even paid a whopping $154,000 for a Grand Wagoneer during January 2022’s pandemic-driven market.
At 72,000 miles and wearing a clean five-year-old exterior repaint and vinyl woodgrain update, this one, which sold for $44,625 on Bring a Trailer, is much more down to earth. That price slots it in between #2 (Excellent) and #3 (Good) conditions. The interior shows slight signs of wear, as does the weather stripping, and there’s one area of rust noted, but overall this Grand Wagoneer looks like a collector SUV the whole family can enjoy.
Sold for $42,525 on Bring a Trailer, including buyer’s premium
An air-cooled 911 for under 50 grand isn’t something we see much of anymore. This example is a RoW (rest of world) car with light but livable mods, mild wear and tear, and 88,000 miles on the odometer. It sold for around its #4+ Hagerty Price Guide value but appears to be a significantly better car than that.
In certain cases, Porsche included, coupes fetch more money than convertibles or Targas. If you’re shopping for an ’80s 911, you’re probably not looking for outright performance anyway, so why not consider the discount and wind in your hair that a Targa adds to the mix?
Sold for $42,900 at Barrett Jackson Las Vegas, including buyer’s premium
Early second-gen Camaros live in a middle ground between their vaunted first-gen siblings and the king of second-generation F-bodies, the Bandit Trans Am. That’s not to say there weren’t some hits for the Camaro in the early 1970s, including a potent 350-cubic inch Z/28 and available big blocks. That was short-lived, though, and while the attractive, sporty styling remained, horsepower was on the wane for 1973 as evidenced by this example’s 245-horse 350.
With one owner from new and a file full of maintenance records, this 76,808-mile Z/28 shows as an original-condition car with many of its accessories still in place. Its sale price is a hair above the #2 (excellent) condition Hagerty Price Guide value, which, based on the photos, may be a little generous. That said, the more potent 360-hp 1970 Z/28 in #3 condition will run 15 grand more than this one. It appears to be a solid driver you won’t be afraid to take anywhere.
Sold for $40,425 on Bring a Trailer, including buyer’s premium
Coke-bottle-designed cars from the late 1960s get a lot love, but there’s something to be said for the clean lines of the early muscle car era. By 1965, fins were out of the picture and Detroit had figured out that chrome could be the accent rather than the main event. Oldsmobile’s Cutlass 4-4-2, a direct response to Pontiac’s GTO from the year before, embodied well this moment of understated design and blossoming horsepower between midsize fenders.
This turquoise-over-white 4-4-2 received a frame-off restoration in 2018 and now sports a number of modernizations, including a Tremec five-speed transmission, QA1 coilover dampers, and a host of brake system upgrades. There’s some surface rust underneath—odd for a comparatively young restoration—but it’s an overall attractive package that has been updated to become a more modern-friendly driver. Only 25,000 4-4-2s were made in 1965, under 3500 of which were convertibles, assuring the new owner that this Olds likely will be the only one of its kind at the summer car show.
Sold for $42,000 on PCarMarket, including buyer’s premium
Like the Oldsmobile above, this MGA received some massaging during its restoration. It, too, received a five-speed manual conversion, and a supercharger helps the little British roadster get up to speed in a less leisurely fashion. Completed in 2006 but reportedly only having put 300 miles on the odometer since then, the car shows very well inside and out in photos and video.
Its sale nestles this MGA at about a #2+ condition Hagerty Price Guide value, which is a bit high but takes into account the upgrades that make it more livable and fun to drive. The market for British classics has been steady for nearly a decade, moving much more slowly than other segments. Lately, though, a few in this little bunch of roadsters have ticked up, the MGA among them. As of the latest update to the Hagerty Price Guide, prices for MGAs are up between 19 percent for a concours car and 12.4 percent for a driver-quality model.