These 3 unlikely cars went for big bucks at Amelia Island

Hagerty valuation specialists are constantly looking at auction and private sales results to keep a finger on the pulse of the collector car market. After each big auction there are always a few notable sales that make us reconsider just how collectible certain models are. There were three major breakout sales at this year’s 2019 Amelia Island auctions; each was rather unexpected.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/03/12/3-breakout-sales-at-amelia-island-2019

Once again you folks at Hagerty are making a big deal of three vehicles that found a few bidders with more money than common sense. The Jolly is likely not even street legal in some states; and is purely a novelty vehicle best used on some estate with private roads. Both of the other two vehicles are relatively easy to find and likely better shape than most. I see examples of both at larger car shows here in the Phoenix area.

I think Hagerty is spot on with the Thing comment. I go to quite a few of Volkswagen shows in the Midwest and there are maybe one or two Things in comparison to the vast numbers of Beetles and Buses. The Thing may be more popular in the Southwest portion of the US due to year round driving opportunities but “easy to find” is subjective.

Rarity is a big consideration but then “attractiveness” if I may coin a word, is subjective. Are you attracted to the vehicle for whatever reason ? People seem to have more reasons than common sense but if common sense were more common then VW buses would be $5 - 10,000 in good condition as they should be. Then there is speculation. “Investors” can ruin a market and that’s why I don’t play that game. In 10 years or so you will see these cars at a “fire sale” or from a collector losing money at an auction because the fad will be something else like first gen Prius.

Need 20 characters: Yawn…

Just observations from Hagerty. Get over it. Hagerty seems to post good topics yall commented

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The Z32 is overdue for some recognition. Certainly this particular one is ridiculously overpriced. Still try to find one in good shape without 20 plus years of poorly thought out modifications and the rarity of a clean stock example becomes clear.
The '96 being valuable primarily due to limited numbers. I think the variable timing control was lost for '96 which technically makes it a less desirable machine. The only year for ODBII in a Z32 if that’s worth anything.
To me the '95 model would be the most desirable. The newer design fuel injectors, the electric hicas, improved front brakes from the early years.
The other two cars, meh.

Z32’s last year was 2000 not '96, and thus not the only year for obII but the last year for import in North America when Nissan took it out of that market.

Tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for VWs defeat the purpose of the car.

Talking about 90’s Japanese Sports Cars, too bad there were no nice examples of 3rd generation RX-7s. Those are truly starting to show up in the market bringing down some big bids, but hard to find in excellent or ‘survivor’ condition.

The Thing was only made for a few years because it was a novelty car.

This is proof the economy is humming and people have “stupid” money to throw at cars.

$53,000 for a VW Thing versus a Olds 442
$123,000 for a Fiat Jolly instead of a 67 Shelby GT 500.

Wow! I am jealous

Just didn’t hit this discussion…

Correction the vw thing only came to US for two years because it failed safety standards. Was widely available in Europe as a military vehicle 1960s through late 70s, nothing rare about it.

3 days later, that 300ZX was dropped by 2 inches, was sitting on 22" chromies, and had a veilside kit on it with neons.

Sorry I’m joking of course. I came from the Japanese car culture, and while it was great fun, I am now partly ashamed of being part of the ruination of such cars.

This is the reason an example like this is now worth the money. While the 300ZX is not “rare” in anyones books, an un-ruined one is a very very rare thing.

And that goes across the jap car culture range.

I hope that explains to some why that car fetched so much.

I am sure you did not intend your comment to be derogatory but the term “JAP” is considered a derogatory term as a reference to the Japanese people and by reference their cars.

All I know about the Thing is that a buddy had one to use to go surfing, beach, etc., in 1975. It was yellow, (not my fav) but whatever. It ran about once a month, and NO ONE could figure out how to make that “simple” VW engine run. He finally gave it away, I think. It was so rusty it barely held together. Frankly, being only a few years old, my opinion was it was a (somewhat) rolling pile of junk.

That’s my only experience with the Thing.

NO ONE could figure out how to make a 1600 VW engine run? You must not know a single old school VW mechanic. They are STONE AXE simple. Breaker points, Valve adjustment or fuel delivery. The only things that ever fail till it gets worn out and has blowby and endplay problems. It is exactly the same spec motor used in EVERY US bug from 1971-74 and also 1971 buses.The fact that most VW’s of the era had no ACCESSORY (radio) position on the ignition switch made it really easy to burn the points. One must NEVER leave the ignition switch on without the engine running in points type ignition.

I hear you. Simple engine, but it just never ran more than a few days at a time. It was a real issue as he could not get to work on some days when his regular car was in for service and either his girlfriend or I had to come drive him to work. I have no idea what the issues were–I always thought it was a pretty weird choice for a beach car, but then again that is what it supposedly was for. A car has to RUN to be useful…just a lemon, and not only the color!