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Hagerty Employee

9 cars that broke our price guide at RM Sotheby's Elkhart auction

Someone paid $1440 for a trash can at the RM Sotheby's Elkhart Collection sale this past weekend. That should clue you in to the kind of money being thrown around there—and that's before we even get to the vehicles. A 1936 White touring bus sold for $450,500, triple its estimate. A modified FJ43 Land Cruiser sold for $173,600. The list goes on.


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Did the Honda S600 come with all the missing parts?

Advanced Driver

Nothing is worth more than the buyer is willing to pay!

Pit Crew

A classic case of.....



Advanced Driver

A bit of hype all around, including from Hagerty in this case. The auction house thought the sales would net $35M - $40M and they netted $44M.  A few crazy people spent crazy money on a few cars. I'd wager that happens at nearly all auctions. In the meantime sales went about 10% above high projections. Yawn.


Love the article...BUT, the Buick had a significant spiderweb paint crack that would need to be addressed ASAP as well as chipped paint at the windshield showing some bondo.  Striking colors that may be hard to match at even the best paint shops.  My client thankfully passed on overpaying for this Buick.

Hagerty Employee

Good to know! It's always hard to spot flaws online, as any car can look great in photos.
New Driver

There is  something about a no reserve sale that spurs bidders on. They know the last paddle will own it. I've seen no reerve vehicles get bid higher than reserve ones.


I sold my 500 Jolly too early!!!! ONLY $42000! Oh well! a good investment I held for 25 years!!! 


I owned the 54 Buick pre-restoration. Nice to see it again, looks like a tremendous amount of work went into the car, and I suspect that the cost of restoration exceeded the sale price. Kudos to the new owner. 

New Driver

All this just reinforces the old adage that fools and their money are soon parted!

Pit Crew

Went thinking I might pick up the Lotus "broadspeed" at $20 - $25K, but after seeing trashcans, Craftsman tool boxes and tire racks going for crazy money I knew I would be going home empty. I think that Lotus went for $44K. The good news is that after seeing what a Opel GT with automatic went for, came home and picked up a 1970 manual for a fraction of the price. While the auction was a disappointment, it was still an excellent visit to a temporary museum with all the pristine, rare vehicles there.


I still love the Opel GT. Great car, super reliable and fun. 

Pit Crew

Lately, with the stock market in shambles and obvious manipulation by the large hedge funds, people are steering away from it and instead "Throwing" their money at auctions, which you can do right from your living room lazy-boy, sight unseen.  I've been buying collector cars for over 30 years the traditional way: search for a particular model, arrange to see it in person to ascertain it's true condition, take it for a test drive, consult several price guides and past sales history of similar cars, then if I feel it's a good investment, and only then, pull the trigger.   Lately I've seen ordinary cars listed on auction sites such as eBay and BAT that have sold for WAY more than the asking prices for identical cars sitting on dealer's lots, which you can still negotiate down from.  I've been scratching my head at this for a while now.   The old saying "A fool and his money are soon departed" is more true than ever.  With all the information available now which anyone can get instantly, bidders should be getting smarter, not dumber, like the FOOL that overpaid for a trash can which he could've bought on Amazon for $1200 less (by the time you figure in the auction fees).   I would not call it crazy, just plain stupidity.


Intermediate Driver

I concur with NoJodas’ comments except for the stock market being in shambles comment. The U.S. stock markets have rebounded (1/2021) since the onset of the pandemic when he posted his comment, and been doing quite well since February 2020. The whole world economy took swift a kick in the balls from the pandemic, including car events, collector car sales and yes, even traditional car auctions.
Intermediate Driver

I saw this collection in person when I dropped a car off (that was in the sale...) 


It was a really impressive collection and the guy who owned them

was very nice.  He seems to have embezzled the money to pay for all of these in the first place but there were some crazy prices for sure.  

The Austin taxi I saw he bought for

$40k at Sotheby’s however sold for ? $20k less.  He didn’t car how much he paid for it I guess since it really wasn’t his money.  

Like any addict I guess he didn’t know when to stop.  

Intermediate Driver

I owned a 1972 Opel GT 4 speed back in the 70's. Great little sports car, fun to drive, excellent mileage (@ 40 mpg), was not bad in winter in Canada either. A few for sale up here for under 20k Cdn. Who knows, might own another one in the future.

New Driver

They spent twice the sold number restoring them, lol.


I guess since Hagerty over prices just about everything, they have to brag when a couple sell for a few thousand more than they predict.

New Driver

What a Bunch over over priced jokes! 


My two cents on why the high prices at a forced sale.  It was Previous owners trying to get some of their favorite stuff back, and someone making them pay up for it. 😏

New Driver

I owned a Little Honda 600, just like the one in the pictures,  In late ‘72, while in college, 

But, only for about a week!

it was the most underpowered, un responsive car I’d ever driven..

if there was more then one skinny college kid in it, you could almost jog faster then it would go!

I almost immediately

traded it in on a new ‘72 Bug..

(& kept the bug for over 10 years!)

Pit Crew

$40k for an MGTD?  That's absurd.  What's the point?  It will sit in a garage with a collection and never be driven.  I would much rather have a $15k TD that I can drive to the market or post office all summer.


I've often said that the Buyer's Curse at an Auction is that the Winner is the only person in the room who thinks the car/toolbox/garbage can/work of art/whatever is worth that much money. I've been in the Hobby for a long time and I've never used an Auction to buy anything related to cars, nor the cars themselves. I frequently buy off the street, that's right folks, but one has to know what one is doing, or following rumors in the Hobby, or watching Hemmings, which through changes it has made is becoming a disappointment. Hagerty is simply excellent regarding intimate car knowledge and anybody not watching Tom Cotten or the engine guy (I can't remember his name) on You Tube is missing a great deal. The point is there are many ways to acquire without using the auction device and thereby avoiding herd mentality; very destructive as it relates to pricing.

Intermediate Driver

Advertising these "ridiculously" inflated prices is what will be the end of the collector car hobby. People will be impressed by the numbers UNTIL they research the marketplace for their dream vehicle. The difference between the ficticous auction prices and the market would make anyone hesitate to purchase. Sure, some of the vehicle values make sense, but let's be realistic. Don't inflate all of them, just to build hype in the marketplace. This will eventually backfire.

Just look at what Beckett did to the sports collector market!




I had a 1968 Opel Rallye (sp?) - a Kadette in disguise.  Great handling and economy.  BUT, it had solid lifters that made the engine so loud and intrusive that I could not hear myself think.  Even after a tune-up, it took 50 miles when the loud engine took over again.  Couldn't wait to sell it.  The Opel GT looks great but, ....

Pit Crew

How about an article on cars that seriously underperformed their expected price?

Pit Crew

My daddy always said, after he restored a vehicle and put it up for sale, “there’s an ass for every seat, and a seat for every ass, you just have to be patient long enough for the right ass to fit your seat, and you’ll get the price you want” ;)))

Intermediate Driver

I'm so disappointed there was no picture of the $1440 trash can.

Community Manager


Intermediate Driver

Yeah, we wanna see this trash can. At least give us a link.

Glad that this auction in particular made extra money, sounds like (from the comments) he had to repay a lot of victims and never should have been able to purchase these treasures in the first place.

On top of everything else with the Jeep, methinks the graphics are neither original nor factory.  You can see that the word "Renegade" is crooked, as the middle of the sticker drifts down toward the hood line, and the last two letters trail upward.  Probably applied in someone's garage, and not too well.  Looks like a JC Whitney job to me.

New Driver

Drove a Fiat Multipla in high school , girls loved it !  Unbelievable what they are going for today ! 


Great! I'd take 'em all but the buick and cj  (the 'CJ-8" or  Scrambler is the 1 to have). My '66/77 bronk made #1 this Winter (dwn 2 # 23rd this Spring, ?now).

Advanced Driver

Most of these were only 10-15% over the Haggerty values, the exceptions being the Metropolitan at around 60% over and the Amphicar being about 30% over. Neither are traded often, but the Met seems to be an anomaly for sure! I can understand the Amphi because of the rarity and uniqueness (and not many sold), but the Met is highly unusual!! The others? 10-15% higher doesn't seem to be a big jump, and won't affect prices much.

Pit Crew


New Driver

As for the GT, its about right. Its a #2 with under 20,000 original miles. BTW it's over a 100,000 made, and they didn't rust any worse than anything else from that time period. If anything they are surviving at a greater rate due to the battery being in front of the radiator and not near structural components. Also Autos are the rare of the model, so it is actually a desirable addition. has a up to date price list.


The shop tools and equipment in this auction sold for multiples of suggested high value.  Memorabilia sold for even higher multiples.  A Mini peddle car that I was interested in had a suggest value of $1,000 - $2,000.  It sold for $10,800 with buyer's premium.  The online aspect may have brought more bidders to the auction - 53 countries were represented.  Obviously, bidder had large quantities of money to spare.