KevinVal

What's your opinion of car auctions?

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Posted (edited)

I was thinking about going to a classic car auction...are they usually full of rich guys or just average joes? I can't bid more than $30,000. So I don't want to bother if I'm going to be outbidded some fat cat every time.

Edited by KevinVal (see edit history)

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Remember the winning bidder was willing to pay more then anyone else in the room (and internet, as well as phone) I personally do not have positive feeling after some of the stories my friends told me, they were sellers

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Just make sure you aren’t bidding against nobody.  

 

“Fat cats” aren’t there to spend money on cars they don’t want.  There is really no way to know if it’s worth your while until the time comes, unless you are expecting to get a $100,000 car for $25,000.  If your purpose is to buy a car simply to get a deal rather than to buy a car you really want, you will probably be disappointed.  Maybe not.

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I'd like to think that they are fun and honest, but

from what I have heard, that may not be the case.

Surely there are companies out there that do not

have all these questionable features:

 

---They may have "phantom bids" against you

(often called "shill bids") where no one is actually

bidding against you--up until the reserve is met.

 

---Fees are high, sometimes 10% for the seller and

10% for the buyer.  Be sure to take these into

account while bidding.

 

---They may "lubricate" their potential buyers by

serving them alcohol during the auction.  This

alters the mind of their subjects, making them 

think less clearly while spending tens of thousands

of dollars.

 

One highly reputable restorer I know says auctions are

where dealers cheat other dealers.  I know one person

has said, auctions are where he gets rid of his problem cars.

(Of course, there could be good cars at the auction too.)

 

Please, to keep my faith up, tell me the name of some

GOOD auction companies!

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Auctions are fun like casinos are fun. The risk is the fun, right? Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. and if you know your limits, you'll be fine. Remember that the house always gets their piece of the action and at auctions, whatever your final bid is, they're going to ask you to give them that much money plus another 10% for their cut. Keep that in the front of your head when you're bidding, because you WILL get auction fever. Just one more bid. I can afford another $100. Man, that's a nice car! If that guy wants it so badly, it's probably better than I thought.

 

"Fat cats" aren't buying $25,000 cars. Don't worry about the other guy. If he wants it more than you, let him have it. There are always other cars.

 

Also bear in mind that I send my trash to auctions. No test drive, no lift, no hearing the engine run, no history, no talking to the previous owner. Perfect for dumping a turd. Expect anything you buy at auction to be 20% crappier than you think and 50% crappier than they tell you it is.

 

Be smart and you'll have fun. Maybe go and hang back and watch how it works a few times before jumping in. You'll quickly figure out if there's a chandelier bid going on or if they're running up numbers against a reserve and there's only one guy bidding (or zero). You'll see it pretty quickly if you stand at the back of the room and watch the bidder's assistants. 

 

Enjoy!

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The annual antique-car auction held by the

Central Pennsylvania Auto Auction is a pretty

good one, I think.  Their fees to the buyer and 

seller are much less than the usual 10%.  Cars

seem to go for reasonable and realistic prices.

Cars are in all price ranges, from under $10,000

up to $100,000, and most are in the range that

typical collectors can afford.  No alcohol served;

no fee to become a bidder, though you must register

in advance and provide a bank's letter of credit.

 

This year's auction is coming up fast:  July 19 and 20:

 

http://www.cpaautoauction.com/view/annual_antique___classic_auction

 

 

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They seem like fun, I will eventually go to one. It is amazing though when watching one of the bigger auctions on TV how many cars have tail lights/brake lights not working properly. For some of the prices paid you should not have to chase down wiring problems. 

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GS66, I think non-operating tail lights would be the least of your worries at auction. Buyer beware.

 

And KevinVal : what kind of "Classic car" are you looking to buy at a classic car auction ? Buyer beware.

 

I have got extremely good deals on work trucks at auction. A couple of them are actually classified as antiques by AACA !   -   Carl 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

The annual antique-car auction held by the

Central Pennsylvania Auto Auction is a pretty

good one, I think.  Their fees to the buyer and 

seller are much less than the usual 10%.  Cars

seem to go for reasonable and realistic prices.

Cars are in all price ranges, from under $10,000

up to $100,000, and most are in the range that

typical collectors can afford.  No alcohol served;

no fee to become a bidder, though you must register

in advance and provide a bank's letter of credit.

 

This year's auction is coming up fast:  July 19 and 20:

 

http://www.cpaautoauction.com/view/annual_antique___classic_auction

 

That is the one I planned on going to. Thing is, they don't tell you the average prices of the cars or even show you all the cars they offer online, so it would be hard to bid by telephone or absentee. And of course you can't check the car out unless you're there.  Also, they don't provide a list of which days have which cars. So I guess I'd have to call about some of the cars that interest me and find out when they're being auctioned. Wouldn't want to go both days as it's a three hour drive from my area.

 

Have you been to it? If so, what is the minimum bid?

Edited by KevinVal (see edit history)

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17 minutes ago, KevinVal said:

That is the one I planned on going to. ....they don't provide a list of which days have which cars. ...

 

Have you been to it? If so, what is the minimum bid?

 

Yes, I have been to it several times.  It is worth

your 3-hour drive.  Even though I think this is an

upstanding auction, it would never be wise to bid

on an automobile as an absentee.

 

Their catalogue (probably available on-line) was produced

well in advance, and probably doesn't show all the cars that

will be auctioned.  You can call them this week and they should

be able to e-mail you a "run list," which is simply a list of all the

cars planned for the auction--in order.  You'll see which cars are

auctioned each day.

 

The auctioneer more or less determines the minimum bid.

If there's a $15,000 car on the platform, he'll often say,

"Who'll give me $25,000?"  (I hate that.)  When no one bids that,

he will start the bids reasonably--maybe at $10,000--and 

work up from there.  Final prices I think are realistic, and

I never see the foolishly high bids as you might see on TV.

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This observation is based on TV coverage of car auctions. Cars that don't fit it with the majority of the cars offered sell far under their market value. A stone stock 1915 Model T Ford in a 1970's loaded muscle car auction will sell for peanuts. Same deal with first day vehicles on a five day auction. If it costs $15,000 to paint a car or truck there are a lot of unhappy sellers at " No Reserve" auctions, but many happy buyers. How come you never see the sellers that sell at a loss? Bob 

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27 minutes ago, KevinVal said:

 

Kevin, do you realize that a muscle car, such as

that 1970 Buick Grand Sport, will go for substantially

more than the other cars you've shown us?

 

Some people on our forum disparage price guides,

but I have found this to be helpful.  The current annual

volume is the "2020 Collector Car Price Guide" by

F & W Publications:

 

https://www.amazon.com/2020-Collector-Car-Price-Guide/dp/1440249032

 

Bob (above) has seen some cars "sell for far

under their market value."  I haven't seen that at

the Central Penna. Auto Auction.  So don't expect

great bargains;  just expect realistic prices for most.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, John_S_in_Penna said:

 

Kevin, do you realize that a muscle car, such as

that 1970 Buick Grand Sport, will go for substantially

more than the other cars you've shown us?

 

Some people on our forum disparage price guides,

but I have found this to be helpful.  The current annual

volume is the "2020 Collector Car Price Guide" by

F & W Publications:

 

https://www.amazon.com/2020-Collector-Car-Price-Guide/dp/1440249032

 

Bob (above) has seen some cars "sell for far

under their market value."  I haven't seen that at

the Central Penna. Auto Auction.  So don't expect

great bargains;  just expect realistic prices for most.

 

 

That particular 1970 Buick Grand Sport, according to the book you linked, unrestored, should go from $9200 to $20,700...which is a pretty big leap from "good" to "very good". But I guess that's in my price range. Do you think it would sell for a lot more than its market value? Or were you just saying it would be more expensive than the other cars I've mentioned?

 

By the way, are you allowed to test-run the cars?

Edited by KevinVal (see edit history)

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That particular 1970 Buick Grand Sport, according to the book you linked, unrestored, should go from $9200 to $20,700...which is a pretty big leap from "good" to "very good". But I guess that's in my price range. Do you think it would sell for a lot more than its market value? Or were you just saying it would be more expensive than the other cars I've mentioned?



If you are interested in a particular car post the link, there are experts with years of experience that can guide you.
As noted, auctions are risky, sick advise before you bid.


 

By the way, are you allowed to test-run the cars?


No, what you see is what you get, experts may do ok, others are likely to be unhappy.

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I was just saying that the '70 Buick, being a muscle

car, would be more expensive than the cars you

mentioned in other threads.  I doubt it would bring

more than its realistic value.

 

I've never heard of test-running or test-driving the

cars at an auction.  You could certainly ask when you

phone the auction.  Usually, the owner isn't even there

with his car;  but maybe someone on the auction staff

could get the keys and go out with you to start the engine.

 

There are also "car corral" spaces on site, where some 

cars are for sale.  Leftover auction cars, too, are outside--

those that didn't meet their reserve price--marked

"still for sale."  However, I don't often see the owners

hanging around.

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I have gone to many car auctions both buying and selling for a dealership. While the inventory type is different, the basic rules are the same.

 

 Do not buy anything you can not put your hands on and check it out personally.

 

 

After determining it is a vehicle you are interested in, set a price you are willing to pay, considering auction fees, transportation cost, rehab needed (and it will need some, it is at an auction for a reason), and a buffer for things you missed

.

Stick to your price!!! Do  not get caught up in auction fever. STOP bidding when you hit your limit.

 

Auctions can be fun. Just remember they exist to sell cars. It is up to the buyer to make a determination of any cars value.  As far as an auction running up the price on a car, that never really bothered me. If I am bidding against the auction or a shill, as long as I stick to my price it is up to me whether to bow out or go higher no matter. It still comes down to what I am willing to pay for that car.

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Lots of good advice. I will add some more. Bring two car friends who know cars with you. Three sets of eyes and two additional opinions are always a good idea. I never, ever sell my cars at auction. I rather deal with selling a car and be able to explain the car and make a sales pitch. At an auction, you car is just another “unit”, and the guy trying to sell three hundred cars in a day gets tired and stops working the room for bids after twenty minutes. Unless the car has a very, very high dollar value it’s the same old “run it up there and blow it out.” You can find bargains at auction. Look the car over well, set a price you are willing to go all in, and then walk away if it goes higher. I like to arrive early....very early. I always look over three cars, so they aren’t sure which one I am Intrested in. Two schools of thought on bidding.......get in early or lay back. I always lay back and wait for the “final call” to start. That way you don’t drive it up, and get the auctioneer in a upward bidding rhythm. Plan on spending money on the car no matter how good it looks. Good luck.

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Kevin , auctions are certainly fun to attend ..  Matt's post is "dead on " and excellent advice  for the novice buyer .

The 1970 Buick GS listed  appears to be a base model GS 350 ..  A very well documented one BTW.

I've bought and sold at auction , set a price record or two in the process ... lost a bunch of money as well !

Use all your senses !  Eyes, ears, nose.. and most of all use common sense !  Know what you are looking at.

Good cars do bring good money , they don't need any help getting "real money"

Bid what you think its worth... All in home.. (fees, transport , misc.)

Every car needs something when you get it home.. that's a guarantee ..

I like this Buick .. It should generate a few real bids.. Dealers will not overpay for a GS350 coupe .

Lack of a/c hurts ,steering wheel cover certainly doesn't help either and I'll bet its loaded with under coating.

I own a GS ... Love it .. Great driving car.. Good luck at the Sale..........

 

 

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We have actually been asked by an auction seller to detail just the passenger side of a car since the audience only sees that side when the car crosses the block.

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as a buyer...........

 

dont waste your time. you will never "win"............ too many fees, costs and unknowns.

 

as a seller, I get it.

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Some of the auction houses will buy the car if the price is low and either sell it at or another auction or at one their dealerships, I know of two instances of this happening. The seller was told a number they thought the car would sell at, highest bidder was way less, and the car was for sale on their website later that week. While true they were the highest bidder, just seems a little unethical to me. 

 

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I only bought a car at an auction once - in 2016. There did not seem to be a reserve ( but that didn't mean they started it off at 10 bucks either) and a few days before the auction I went to the dealer that was having it at his place of business and hear the car start and  run and was able to inspect it . Yes, I did take several friends with me and did so the same night as the auction. Car was well restored and took a national AACA award in 1981 then was stored in heated garages . I had it set in my mind what I could pay and allowed for the dealers commission as well as what i would have to pay in sales tax once home ( car was in a different state then where I lived) . Only one other bidder seems interested. Open body style  but a 7 passenger and most collectors want 5 passengers or dual cowl , not 7 passenger tourings.  I loved it , as I like to take people along with me when I go for a drive to share the experience of a 80+ year old car. Along at the auction I also had a long time friend who owned a restoration shop about 20 minutes north of where the auction was and the plan was to not bring the car home but send it straight to my friend Byron York's  shop to have him take it apart to inspect what was there, drop the gas tank and give it to me to let me restore that part etc.

Great experience, I paid for the car what it would cost to have one painted and plated if I already owned the same car. SO that "trailer queen" now is in my garage , is a trailer queen no longer ( I don't own a trailer and never will)    The award badge it had on its stone guard came off and went into an envelope in the glove box ( I don't like awards either) . AND Marty Roth and I both own the same type of touring cars ! way cool.

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Just out of curiosity did anyone research that car ? Yes it is a GS but that is about all - suspect that has the 350 engine not the 455 and is a column shift automatic (turbo 350, 455 got a THM400). No gauges, no AC, bench seats, no console, says deluxe wheel on the option sheet but that sure looks base to me, 14" wheels. Suspect why the low (for an auction) estimates.

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That auction sure has variety, something for everyone.

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