Sale of the Week

1960s American Muscle is finally piercing the online bubble

by David Zenlea
10 October 2021 2 min read
Photo by Hemmings

Conventional wisdom has taken it on the chin in the past 18 months, but one of the few nuggets that has endured is, “Muscle cars don’t sell online.” Even as online auctions exploded in 2020, they accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent of muscle car sales.

Yet, there’s no reason the cars shouldn’t be popular online. Muscle cars appeal to enthusiasts of all ages, and online auction buyers, in any event, aren’t all that much younger than those who buy at in-person auctions. As we observed last February, “The fact that muscle cars don’t trade as frequently via online auctions as do modern classics says more about the focus of the most popular platforms than it does about the staying power of muscle car buyers.”

Judging by what we’ve seen so far this fall, muscle cars might finally be getting a fairer share of the digital spotlight. Bring a Trailer offered up a 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird with a 440-ci V-8 and a 4-speed at the end of September and then a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge at the beginning of October. (The Mopar didn’t sell despite fetching a high bid of $212,000, but the Judge fetched $136,000, right on Hagerty Price Guide’s Condition #1 value for the model.) Hemmings managed to top that by selling a 1964 Dodge 330 Hemi Factory Super Stock Racer for $183,750. It’s our sale of the week.

Key to the Dodge’s six-figure value is its Hemi but more so its drag racing history and its association with Norm Kraus, a.k.a “Mr. Norm,” who built Grand Spaulding Dodge in Chicago into a Mopar performance Mecca and passed away earlier this year. (For more on dealer-modified muscle cars, see Hagerty Drivers Club magazine’s 2020 feature.)

This particular car is no stranger to auctions—it was a no-sale at Mecum Indy back in 2011, with a reported high-bid  $95k and again then at Mecum Dallas 2019 at $120k. That it earned so much more in 2021 owes, if anything, to the recent spike in muscle car values, a trend that has also benefited in-person auction companies like Mecum. Yet the fact that it achieved this price online is evidence that sellers and the platforms themselves are awakening to the potential for muscle cars to hit it big online.

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