There was a somewhat curious auction and follow-up auction of the same car — first in 2013 and then again in 2020. The subject automobile? A 1965 Chevrolet Impala with 14 (or less) original miles.
Yvette Vanderbrink sold this car on September 28, 2013 at the Lambrecht Chevrolet auction in Pierce, Nebraska for $76,150. Mecum sold this same car (much cleaner this time) on January 9, 2020 in Kissimmee, Florida for $27,500.
How could this happen? There are likely several reasons. Most of all, Yvette’s 2013 Lambrecht auction was a once in a lifetime event, which people had been waiting for since the 1960s. This is distinctly different from Mecum who has an automobile auction about every month.
Bidders can — and do — get emotionally energized by an event — a special event — where the story, history, provenance, location, property, seller, and auctioneer all come together to create an experience which can produce extraordinary results.
However, Mecum has [special] events so is that the entire story? It’s not. The very first time this 1965 Impala came to market was in 2013. The second time it came to market was 2020.
In other words, people waited about 50 years to see this car on the market in 2013 and only had to wait another 6 years, 3 months and 12 days to see it sell again. Of course, there would be lots more excitement the first time over the second time.
Additionally, something that’s been discussed in hallways at auctioneer events for decades is this: Can some auctioneers sell so much of the same thing that they “make a market” for that type of property? That could be great news … or that could be less than great news.
That would suggest that if an automobile was like other automobiles which any certain consistent seller of such vehicles sold — their prior sales might cap the perception of the value of any certain car by what has been sold before.
On the contrary, if this same car was sold onsite, possibly at the seller’s home, maybe where it was stored in an old garage for decades — there’s not that same market to affect or limit the value of this car.
It’s a double-edged sword as well — as this same car sold onsite out behind the barn 50 years later — without sufficient marketing — could actually sell for less than what that regular seller of such vehicles could produce; untold stories don’t attract much attention.
Further, the collector car auction market is constantly evolving. For one, the highest-priced cars tend to be 40/45 +/- years old. This 2013 auction was just past this range (about 48 years) and then in 2020, that number increased to 55 years.
We wrote about this the collector market in general here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/what-some-collectors-cant-find-buyers/. As a general rule, one would be better to purchase a 25-35-year-old car and sell it 5-10-15 years later, instead of buying a 48-year-old car and selling it 6-7 years later. Part of that rule is “buy low and sell high.”
Here is Yvette’s writing about this same car and it being sold twice: https://vanderbrinkauctions.wordpress.com/2020/01/10/right-place-right-time/.
Lastly, prices for cars which can be driven, enjoyed on the road are selling well, where cars that are museum-type cars (possibly a 1965 Chevrolet Impala with 14 miles) are demanding less. We recently discussed here: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2019/12/13/the-collector-car-auction-market/.
Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and America’s Auction Academy. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by the The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.