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Joe in Canada

Mecum Auction

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Posted (edited)

Mecum auction started today  so anyone going to go to scoop one of the deals there ? Start of a new year so we will see if the market is getting softer on what.  

 

https://www.mecum.com/auctions/kissimmee-2020/live?utm_source=AAInfoNet+Master&utm_campaign=a6d8deed59-FL20_Wellborn_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa410e9114-a6d8deed59-118033111&goal=0_fa410e9114-a6d8deed59-118033111&mc_cid=a6d8deed59&mc_eid=c6d646fa4b

Edited by Joe in Canada (see edit history)
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I have already exceeded my yearly quota of watching Chevelle  and Camaro restomods cross the block.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Restorer32 said:

I have already exceeded my yearly quota of watching Chevelle  and Camaro restomods cross the block.

 

Even Gooding and RM have filler.    There are some cool cars in that Mecum auction.  I already posted the 442 W30 I'm lusting after.    Probably 25% of the cars are pretty interesting.  Not a bad ratio.

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

Given my experience with the several thousand cars that have passed through my hands, I have reached the conclusion that so many cars are rife with issues that it's statistically reasonable to say that "all" old cars are crap. No auction can have 1000 or 2000 or 3000 great cars. Perhaps 5% of them are good cars. The rest are average cars with the usual issues that have been polished to look great under the lights and on TV.

 

The auction companies have also done a fantastic job of convincing the public that they're carefully vetting the cars, that they have teams of experts out there ensuring everything is right, and there's a crack team of pro mechanics making them 100% right. The truth is, a mega auction company like Mecum will take anything they think will look good on the block and the only thing any auction house is checking with any regularity is to make sure the number on the car matches the one on the title. RM and Gooding have gotten pretty selective because their auctions are smaller--the last conversation I had with RM, they told me anything under $200,000 wasn't really something they wanted. And even at that price, the big collectors filling those auctions are sending their trash, too. Just because it costs $250,000 doesn't mean it's not full of problems. Any time someone sending me a car says they bought it at auction, no matter which auction, I automatically expect it to be 20% worse than advertised. I'm rarely wrong about that.

 

My trash goes to auction. Cars I don't want to put my name on go to auction. Cars that I know will cause headaches for the next owner go to auction. No test drive, no lift, mere seconds to make a decision, plenty of pressure and alcohol and noise, and when the buyer has regrets there's no recourse because the auction company will tell them to get lost unless they've spent more than $3 million with them already. That's the perfect venue for dumping some junk. I am most certainly not the only one who knows that.

 

And you'd better believe they know how to make bad cars look good under the lights.

 

The upside is that most people own junk and don't know it, so 70% of the trash goes back into circulation and nobody ever complains just because they don't know the difference. Sorry.

 

 

Edited by Matt Harwood (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Matt Harwood said:

The upside is that most people own junk and don't know it, so 70% of the trash goes back into circulation and nobody ever complains just because they don't know the difference. Sorry.

 

Truer words were never spoken.   Like most things in life,  people tend to be casual observers and not necessarily educated or experts.

 

So, going through the lots again,  I revise my 25% to 10%.

 

I don't particularly like Thunderbirds ,  but this thing is very cool:

 

https://www.mecum.com/lots/FL0120-397415/1957-ford-thunderbird-phase-1/

 

And the car I want is this W30 4 speed convertible.  It checks every Musclecar box I can think of

 

https://www.mecum.com/lots/FL0120-396963/1969-oldsmobile-442-w-30-convertible/

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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I like how when auctions have low prices they are the concrete barometer for the whole market for the whole year. But when a car sells for a high price it was just the result of 2 drunk nuts and should be forgotten. Weird huh?

 

 

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6 minutes ago, ted sweet said:

glad to hear most of us own junk

 

So you own 11 cars and if a potential buyer came to purchase one of them, he wouldn't find anything to complain about? There's nothing on one of your cars that you wish was better? Something that doesn't work, a clock, a radio, a synchronizer that grinds a little bit if you rush it? A rear main that leaks a little more than it should? No squeaks and rattles? They all always start instantly and idle perfectly? No rust in the nooks and crannies? No floor patches? No pitting in the chrome? Visible filler under the paint? A few bubbles at the bottom of a door or under a trunk lid? No cracks in a plastic steering wheel? Perfect alignments, brakes at 100%, good tires? Strong batteries and correct electrical systems? No Home Depot hardware or parts store junk in there somewhere?

 

You must have put in A LOT more work than the average enthusiast to make your cars superior. It's the way it should be. Not pretending that an average car is a great car and that everyone should be willing to put up with problems because "that's the way they all are."

 

It's like the guy who came to me with a  matching-numbers 1970 V-code 'Cuda convertible with an older restoration. Rare car, very cool, decent overall condition. Except it didn't have a third gear, or at least, you had to be this guy who had been driving it that way for a decade to be able to get it into 3rd gear. He figured that since he was OK with it then everyone else should be, too. The big 440 didn't care if you skipped 3rd, what did it matter? Then because of that one thing, you start looking closer at the car and the urethane bumper is cracked and held together with glue. Modern hose clamps. Aftermarket horn button under the dash. Non-correct radio. Pinpoint vinyl top instead of Chrysler's unusual long-grain vinyl. Hurst shifter. Magnum 500 wheels instead of Chrysler Rallyes. Carpeted trunk instead of a mat. Flowmaster mufflers. And, well, it went from being an awesome car to an average car with a long list of needs. He nonetheless thought it was the greatest thing ever and expected #1 money for his #3 car. Even rare cars can be crappy.

 

If you bought that car at auction where you had no idea someone had knocked 3rd gear out of it and it looked pretty good under the lights, would you be equally delighted with it if you found all that stuff when you got home? Caveat emptor applies, but that car is exactly what I'm talking about. A car that the owner thought was 100% pure awesome would simultaneously be very disappointing for a buyer. That's how most of them are--full of compromises that the owner ignores but the next guy won't be so willing to forgive.

 

Are you that 'Cuda owner or do you know where your cars' shortcomings are? If you're smart enough to know where the shortcomings are on your own cars, then you also must know that a vast majority of cars are rife with similar problems. And if you're an above-average hobbyist (which I presume you are, because you're here), then it is also reasonable to assume that most cars are probably worse than yours. Which means most of them. My own cars certainly aren't exempt--heck, you can see my regular and frequent struggles to make my cars work properly right here on this very board. There are holes in the rockers of my '41 Buick big enough for me to stick my fingers into. Despite my love for the car, I have no illusions about its crappiness.

 

So can you be objective or are you just going to be offended?

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I agree with Matt with the caveat: 98% of cars advertised for sale print, web, or auction have issues. We are always looking for the 2% but since not in the business I also look for rare and unusual. The real restriction for me is the need for AC (did have to add to my ordered Sunbird which was not available with C60 but that was a special case). Not in the business and I average one different car every two years. Have a vague desire for an XLR but not enough to buy one.

 

Further I can fix anything (not cosmetics) that is wrong just is a question of "do I want to". Have one project car that runs and drives and is enough. Rest are "good enough" to take to a show.

 

So come at the hobby (ask the IRS) from the enthusiast end. Can understand purists (nearly every stock part I remove is bagged and tagged) but not when it impacts driving quality. Can understand the restomod crowd but have no desire to pour money into making one (would like a Tremec for my Judge - but not enough to buy one).

 

Just want to enjoy my cars but all have handsfree,  modern wheels,/tires, and AGM batteries. Can talk and listen to both ALDL and OBD. Is part of modern life. Keep in mind that we are now 40 years in from the first production computer cars.

 

ps once took my goat wagon to a national show. Offered a prize to anyone who could find 25 things "wrong" (I knew of more). No one came close.

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I work for an auction company and no car is 100% correct  -- none --   our late model / low mile 36,000 and under all have something that needs work ---You just buy what you can put up with.

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Just watched the '33 or '34 Ford hot rod 2 door sedan sell. They showed it from above with a high mounted camera - I thought those years still had that cool roof insert? Am I right or wrong? It'd be a shame if they took it out to have a smooth roof. Cool looking otherwise.

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Guess I was lucky to find 2 cars in a state of "disrepair" I could handle, and brought them up to a condition I could tolerate.

Neither is Pebble Beach material, and I don't have the desire or cash to pursue that goal.

I have to drive them two miles down a gravel road to get to our local car show each year.

But I do enjoy them and have quit lusting for any more.

 

 

Mike in Colorado

 

PS Matt just reminded me. I really should find some correct hose clamps for the '31 Imperial..................

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Nope Matt mine are all perfect.  That's why the Cord sits in the corner with a stuck engine and there is a huge drip pan under my Hot rod.  We won't get into the new Dodge Conv't that when I opened the cowl vent,  couldn't figure out why it seemed so loose,  only to find out the cowl vent is only attached by the arm that opens it and is missing both the brackets that actually attach it to the pivot.  Not to mention the heater motor dangling under the dash with one nut loosely holding it somewhat in place.   Fortunately I don't mind fixing things and it appears to have had alot of new suspension parts installed when they "restored" it, so I hopefully won't have to dig too deep into the mechanicals, which everyone knows is where you throw away alot of money you will never recoup when the time comes to sell. 

 They are all perfect.  

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2 hours ago, Matt Harwood said:

Given my experience with the several thousand cars that have passed through my hands, I have reached the conclusion that so many cars are rife with issues that it's statistically reasonable to say that "all" old cars are crap. No auction can have 1000 or 2000 or 3000 great cars. Perhaps 5% of them are good cars. The rest are average cars with the usual issues that have been polished to look great under the lights and on TV.

 

 

 

 

 

I value this perspective, even though all I'll ever own (or be able to afford) are mediocre old cars. Show level cars are a world that other people live in, not me, but I don't resent people because of their good fortune to be able to afford such things;  there are people in the world who probably resent that I can afford a couple of driver level old cars.

 

There need to be dealers with very very high - even brutal - standards for these high level cars because their customers spend a whole lot of money with them so it's actually very ethical to have such high standards. I had a business selling higher end (though not super high end) musical instruments for many years and my experience was that most people coming through my door to buy appreciated frankness. Many (but not all) people coming through my door to sell needed to have more humility about the guitars they owned...or less pride.

 

Still, I'm happy with what the vehicles i have...I've put scratches and worse in my old cars, and while it truly bothers me, I get over it because they're drivers. I don't have cable so I never watch this Barrett Jackson or Mecum stuff, so this auction is illuminating. (Thanks for posting.) I'm kind of amazed at how boring it seemed to me. Late seventies Corvettes, pickups and luxury cars are all cool, but watching them sell gets old.

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Matt take a breath!  I think you have expressed your true feelings regarding auctions. Most of us agree with your analysis ( except auburnseeker- his are perfect— sorry couldn’t resist and I do agree the big boy is perfect) but remember you have the ultimate power about auctions. Don’t watch and definitely don’t go to one. 
Have fun

Dave S 

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What is the deal with most "average" auction goers? Do they fill a suitcase with cash or get a bank line of credit then go shopping? Do the track the car they really want and research its history, or just buy stuff that looks good on the stage? Bob 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, 1937hd45 said:

What is the deal with most "average" auction goers? Do they fill a suitcase with cash or get a bank line of credit then go shopping? Do the track the car they really want and research its history, or just buy stuff that looks good on the stage? Bob 

 

 

There are no "average" people..............it's a combination of drunks, misfits, wealthy industrialists, eccentric paupers, basically it's a snap shop of the American people. How one goes about buying a car at auction...........well, since 99 percent of all cars are common, or common enough to find a bunch in a very short time, one must ask.....why buy any Mustang, Camaro, Corvette........model A or T or any other such car at the auction. I have bought cars at auctions..........hundreds for my used car and rental fleet..............with experience you can evaluate a modern car in just 30 seconds or less if you know what your doing. The only reason I used an auction for modern cars......when you need five or ten cars in one day, it's too much work to do it any other way. I have also bought "one-off" and very rare cars at the old car auctions.........only when I have no choice. I would say the last ten pre war cars I have traded, three were auction cars..............only because the auction was close by and I have trucking available, and I had already made tentative  sales on two of the three. Today if you called me and said I want you to find me this XXXX car I can probably do it in a few days or less. Very, very few cars can't be bought out of a garage or collection, very few. Trust me, if I walk up to you at your house with your wife standing there and offer you retail money for your car.......there's a 90 percent chance I will own it. It also goes both ways. I had my Pierce Arrow at a national meet a few years ago, and someone asked me if I would sell the car. I told them sure.........and my price. Several other people immediately asked to buy it also. The price I quoted was a fair retail price for a turn key car on tour. I sold it on the spot, and could have sold it two or three more times...........why? Because it was my car for ten years, my stuff runs and drives, has no bad habits, and a good reputation is everything in this hobby. I never intended to sell the car.........but then again ten years earlier I never intended to buy it when I saw it. Truth of the matter is, buying and selling cars is just like buying and selling a can of Coke.........just a different price. Everyone gets way to worked up over cars.............there is ALWAYS another one around the corner. 

 

 

Profound thought for today, the New Year, and for ever when it comes to a car and money, read the text below several times...............

 

 

Back twenty years ago, I pulled a one off custom bodied V-12 out of a barn in Northern Michigan, took it home, washed it off, tossed in a battery, and ended up driving it thousands of trouble free miles............yup....did nothing to it, everything worked on the car, everything, after sitting for 45 years. A good car friend offered me more than eight times what I paid for it on the spot when he saw it a few months later............I could have used the money, but knew this was my one shot at a car like this for the next 25 years. I refused his offer, still happy that I bought a fantastic car for a very, very good price. A few days later I drove the car to a car dealer's home and showed off my prize and related how I turned down a large six figure profit for the car.........this very wise man asked me exactly what I paid, so I told them the actual number.............he smiled at me and said.........

 

NO YOU DID NOT......YOU JUST PAID THE AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU TURNED DOWN (not the out of pocket number).............basically he said, I over paid retail by 50 percent.............

 

It took me three years to figure out he was correct...........( I was just out of college........just a kid)

 

......the next offer on the car I sold it.........seven years later.....for the same money I was offered earlier.........LESSON: There is ALWAYS another car........

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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7 minutes ago, edinmass said:

NO YOU DID NOT......YOU JUST PAID THE AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU TURNED DOWN (not the out of pocket number).............basically he said, I over paid retail by 50 percent.............

Ed, I understand the first part, but you need to explain to me the "overpaid retail by 50%"....

 

The other issue is that your "very wise man" is looking at sales potential and not at what joy you derive from that or any other specific car.  I do acknowledge that a substantial profit provides upwards leverage when another desirable car becomes available, but what if you really love the one you bought so well?

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OK, I didn't mean to offend anyone or imply that your cars are junk. I'm sorry. My point was that auctions have this reputation for having spectacular, perfect cars, and statistically it just ain't possible. I haven't somehow magically been able to find and sell the only 800 old cars with problems over the past six years.

 

And perhaps we're arguing over the definition of "junk." I don't mean that any car that isn't perfect should be on the scrap heap, you know that.

 

I DO mean that virtually all cars have problems that owners ignore and which buyers will find hard to swallow.

 

My perspective might be colored by the fact that people tell me they have a "mint" car to sell, and then just another average car with a growing list of needs shows up. That seller is no smarter or dumber than any of you, so why do so many guys in this hobby completely misjudge the quality of their own hardware? The statistics simply suggest a whole lot of people in this hobby don't know their cars have problems--again, there's just no way I'm dealing with the only clueless guys in existence. For this many people to be so wrong about the quality of the cars they own, it has to be pretty widespread. Maybe it's you, maybe it's not--but if it is, how would you know if you can't even recognize that your car has issues?

 

Then I have buyers who come in to see the cars I sell--which I am careful to cultivate and I turn away about 40% of the stuff as not being nice enough--and they nit-pick the hell out of everything. Even experienced guys like those on this board come in and play those stupid games with me. It seems that the expectations are all out of whack on both sides, and either people don't know their "mint" car isn't mint and/or the buyers are expecting all cars to be "mint" and think I'm a crook when they aren't. Which one is reality, because they can't both be?

 

So I don't mean to insult anyone's cars or imply they're junk or not worthy of enjoyment. But I do expect you guys to know the difference and to be smart enough to understand that a car with needs isn't perfect or mint or anything other than a #3 quality driver. If you have a car with known needs, expect someone to call you out on it when the time comes to sell. Expect it to be a barrier to a sale. Expect someone to demand a deep discount because of it. Or you can fix it, but almost nobody does that because fixing costs money they'll never get back from their "investment" in an old car.


Right now, almost every car that comes through here has something that needs to be fixed along with a previous owner who plays dumb and a potential new owner who doesn't understand why it's not as perfect as his new Lexus.

 

If you go to an auction, expect almost all the cars to be average at best. Don't expect anyone to have repaired or serviced anything beyond giving it a jump start to get it across the block, expect it to be slightly misrepresented, and don't think you're getting a deal because you probably aren't. If you're a guy who has a car with needs and are OK with it (as I am) then you should be equally OK with buying a car with needs (LOL, right). If you are OK with a car that has needs and are willing to roll the dice on what those needs might be, then an auction can get you a car you might enjoy. Or it will get you someone else's turd that had no chance of being sold any other way, which are the cars I send to auction and I guarantee I'm not the only one.

 

Do you feel lucky?

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Posted (edited)

Complete restorations or "builds" take years. For an ordinary person, probably a decade IF it ever gets finished at all. It is ridiculously expensive. If you want the car to be reliable and good to the core, the mechanical stuff must be done correctly, and while constantly asking yourself what could possibly go wrong. It doesn't need to be all new, but it does need to be all RIGHT. It rarely happens. Things that don't show get glossed over.

 

Most shiny perfect-looking cars need a bunch of work. It is absolutely insane to take apart a restored car with fresh paint to do all the mechanical work that should have been done in the first place. It is also BY FAR the cheapest way to get a restored car.

 

The thing is, after the car is assembled and test driven, it is not done. This is when the sorting starts. It requires driving the car, a lot. That could damage all the expensive paint, chrome, and detailing of a restoration. It is also necessary if the car is going to be reliable. Drive, fix, drive more, fix more. This can be held to a minimum by paying attention to EVERYTHING as you rebuild, but it can't be avoided. The bottom line is that it is nearly impossible to have a nearly perfect car that is also reliable enough to drive all over the country. Cars like that do exist. Their owners know how much money and work was involved because they did it. They know the soul-destroying horror that comes from dealing with outside sources. They remember the huge unexpected costs when things went wrong. They know the odds are against doing it again and finishing. Those cars are not for sale.

 

When a new person comes along wanting a good car, advice is often given to join the club for the marque, get to know people, get to know the cars, and so on. It sounds like ridiculous boilerplate, and almost no one listens to it. It is also the best advice I have ever seen in a car forum. It doesn't take that long to figure out which cars are touring all over the place and not breaking down. When someone decides to downsize due to age, or medical issues, or it hurts to push a heavy clutch pedal, or (God forbid) dies, a known excellent car will probably be sold before the ink on the club newsletter dries. It pays to be in the loop.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

Matt.......all cars are junk.............and they all need work. The average Pebble Beach fresh restorations and first in class winners need 25 k minimum to be ready to go from the show field to the tour circuit. Been there, done that.

 

 

In the recent  past, I was at one of he top ten collections in the world, and we were looking at a seven figure car they had owned for quite a while, and only recently discovered it was a replica body........it happens to everyone.

Edited by edinmass (see edit history)
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Buying a car at auction is just like buying a car from an individual or dealer--inspect it closely, decide if the condition it's in is worth the price to you (don't forget the 10% commission!) plus the additional cost of fixing or correcting whatever is wrong with it.  Determine your max price and stick to it--don't get caught up in the bidding frenzy.  (And don't try to compete with the millionaires.)  Sometimes you can get a good deal, but many times the cars sell for more than they're worth--at least more than they're worth to me.  A big difference, as Matt and others pointed out, is you usually don't get to test drive vehicles at an auction.  You're relying on what the consignor tells you (if you're fortunate enough to speak with him/her in person, and not just reading the auction description) or what you can glean from your own personal inspection.  Given the option, I'd much prefer to buy from someone I know who has owned the car for a while, knows its faults and will disclose them to me, and compromises on a price that's agreeable and fair to both parties.

 

Some of the auction companies do give you some recourse if the car is misrepresented--e.g., it has some major mechanical issue that the consignor did not disclose and could not be detected by visual inspection.  (Barrett-Jackson has a 30-day mediation window.)  I don't know if all auction companies do this.

 

The thing I like about watching the auctions on TV, and occasionally in person, is they're big car shows and you get to see a variety of vehicles and can dream about which you'd like to buy given the money and opportunity.  (I like to "bid" aloud at home and see how close I come to the selling price or final bid.  Then I wonder what I didn't see that caused the vehicle to sell for what at times seems like an outrageously high or low price.)  Auctions on TV are entertainment and, to me, better than a lot of other "entertainment" on TV.

 

One thing I find interesting with the Mecum auctions is that they seem to be willing to compromise on the commission (at least for the seller) on many vehicles to close the sale (and maintain a high "sell through" rate).  I don't see that with the other auctions, although I don't doubt that the auction companies work out special deals with their repeat, big dollar clients.  (Somehow I doubt that Rick Hendrick, John Staluppi, Ron Pratt, etc., pay the same selling or buying commission I would.  And I understand that--they buy and sell millions of dollars of high-value cars a year, whereas the average buyer or seller deals with one average price car every year or two or three.)

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1 hour ago, Matt Harwood said:

I DO mean that virtually all cars have problems that owners ignore and which buyers will find hard to swallow.

 

This is SO true.  I wasn't going to tell this story,  but a buddy of mine just sold a very very high dollar car.   Pebble Beach acceptance worthy sort of thing.   He spent loads of money on it and to you and I staring at it in the garage we would say H*ly Sh*t that thing is nice.   The buyer felt differently and came up with quite a list of things to fix,  probably 100k worth of stuff.   All justifiable for a "Perfect" car, but stuff most people can't see and would never bother fixing.    They car sold but it was a learning experience for my buddy.

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25 minutes ago, edinmass said:

Matt.......all cars are junk.............and they all need work. The average Pebble Beach freaks have restoration and first in class winner need 25 k minimum to be ready to go from the show field to the tour circuit. Been there, done that.

 

 

In the recent  past, I was at one of he top ten collections in the world, and we were looking at a seven figure car they had owned for quite a while, and only recently discovered it was a replica body........it happens to everyone.

Was it the red" Ferrari" on Miami Vice ?

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