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Here Are Some Offensively Expensive Cars Bring A Trailer Sold Last Year

All image credits: Bring A Trailer
All image credits: Bring A Trailer

At some point, Bring A Trailer evolved from a place you could buy a clunker on the nice(r) side to one where pristine machines that aren’t always terribly rare but with only a handful of miles on them changed ownership at tip-top dollar. It was only a matter of time, I suppose. Here are some of the more bemusing ones.

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The following cars are what a Bring A Trailer spokesperson called “surprising,” but are probably more accurately “offensive.” There are no Ferraris or vintage Aston Martins on this list, if you get my drift. They are cars he picked that brought in usually high amounts of money and “broke records for individual models.”

They may not be your cup of tea, but here goes.

10. 2007 Volvo V70 R: $25,570

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Okay, to be fair, the blue and tan interior is pretty ace. But it’s an automatic, which sort of defeats the purpose of this unicorn wagon. The listing said it had 53,000 miles on the clock and it ultimately sold for over 25 grand. I don’t know, man. See this silver V70 R with a manual? It was being sold for $11,500.

9. 1991 Honda CR-X Si: $33,600

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The white Honda CR-X Patrick George (RIP) wrote up in August made the list. And at a final price of $33,600, it’s very obvious why.

Patrick mused, “A CRX, going for as much as a nicely equipped new Subaru BRZ. Never thought I’d see the day, man. I remember when CRXs were dirt cheap, and generally treated in accordance with that.”

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Same, dude. Same. I guess really nice ones are expensive now.

8. 1994 Toyota MR2 Turbo: $38,250

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I directly blame Radwood for this one. Well, most of these are Radwood-bait, but this MR2 especially. For just $10,000, you could climb into the new Supra. But, I’m pretty sure which car this lot would choose.

And it’s truly a wonderful car. I’m only salty because it’s way out of my price range.

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7. 1985 Mercedes-Benz 300TD Turbodiesel: $44,525

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With 57,000 miles on the clock, this cream-colored Benz turbodiesel wagon is definitive Jalopnik cool. It doesn’t look like it has any rust, either. But it also sold for, like, the same amount of money as a typical luxury car now. This one would probably stay running for longer, though.

6. 1991 GMC Syclone: $50,000

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I had no idea people liked Syclones this much. I also guess I had no idea how rare they are. The listing claims only 2,995 were built, ever. Hmmm. And with only 4,000 miles on it. Alright, proceed.

5. 1983 Jeep Cherokee Laredo: $51,360

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I remember this Jeep. David Tracy wrote it up. He called the car perfect. Is this the price we are willing to pay for perfection?

4. 1997 Acura Integra Type R: $82,000

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What the fuck.

3. 1994 Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2: $101,101

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This one, to me, is kind of like, “No shit.” It has about 33,000 miles and was imported from Japan to Germany in 2015, and then brought to California.

2. 1970 Datsun 240Z: $124,260

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Are you kidding me? What’s special about this thing?

Oh, I see. From the listing:

This 1970 Datsun 240Z is a Series I example which was restored by Bill Reagan of Texas in the early 1990s, subsequently receiving a Gold Medallion award from the National Z-Car Convention as well as being displayed at the Whitney Museum of Modern Art in New York. The car was also featured during the induction of former Nissan Motor Corporation USA president Yutaka Katayama into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1998, and was further used as the basis for a Franklin Mint model wearing the same chassis number.

Power is from a numbers-matching 2.4-liter inline-six paired with a four-speed manual gearbox, and the car is finished in orange over a black interior. This 240Z is offered by the selling dealer in Oklahoma with a Franklin Mint model signed by Katayama, supporting documentation and memorabilia, factory literature, restoration photographs, a Gold Medallion award, and a clean Delaware title.

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Alright, alright. Carry on, I guess.

1. 1962 Austin Mini Beach Car: $230,000

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Look it’s so cute! It’s one of about 15 “Beach Cars.” Of those, 13 were left-hand drive examples that we got here in the U.S. for the purposes of promoting Mini in North America.

And now I’m going to go have a drink after seeing that sale price.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on these cars, because they are genuinely wonderful. But, like, someone paid nearly 40 grand on a Toyota MR2 Turbo? Look guys, it’s your money and you can do whatever you want with it. But, Jesus. The Radwood-era car price inflation is real.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.

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DISCUSSION

Bring-A-Trailer is a wonderful place to see all sorts of exotic, unusual, rare, offbeat, bizarre, impossible to find, and otherwise drool-worthy machines. I’m on the site far too many times every day for sound mental health. It’s fantastic entertainment, like watching the Barrett-Jackson auctions.

Because that’s what the site has become – an on-line version of Barrett-Jackson, where the rich and famous come to buy and sell cars for other-worldly prices that may not always be indicative of reality outside of the world of BaT.

I’ve been following BaT since it started in 2007. Originally it was site by and for hardcore gearheads, sharing listings for various vaguely car-shaped bits of rusting metal in the process of returning to the earth from whence they came. Literally projects for which you needed to bring a trailer (hence the original name).

In recent years it’s evolved and changed significantly and has become a business, and probably a highly lucrative one. The model has changed to be mostly auctions, for which BaT collects a commission. It now seems to cater to the same types of buyers and sellers that frequent the usual Arizona and Florida fantasyland auctions, a place for Silicon Valley tech bros, venture capitalists, hedge fund managers, and other members of the 1%+ to buy cars on line. There used to be many anecdotes and stories on people’s automotive experiences. Sadly, there are now not infrequent posts from buyers to ‘keep comments limited to information that will actually be helpful to buyers’, and admonishing people that ‘this isn’t FaceBook, don’t feel compelled to share your spontaneous feelings’. Now a name change to ‘Bring a Trillion’ seems more fitting.

It’s no secret that the collector car market is in a bubble right now. I’ve been around a long time (60-something years) and have seen this happen many times before. The mid 1960’s, early 1970’s, mid 1970’s, late 1980’s, late 1990’s, 2007, and most recently the past decade. It’s been the same every time. In past bubbles, Ferraris, Jag E-Types, 60's muscle cars, all had breathtaking price runs into nosebleed territory, and then plummeted back to Earth. Now air-cooled Porsches and 90's Japanese cars are having their day. The stock market has a good run, people see their investment account statements and feel rich, and figure, “What the hell? Why not buy that xxxx-mobile I’ve always lusted after? After all, you can’t drive a stock, but you can drive a car!”

There’s also the phenomenon of a flight to hard assets at the end of a bull market. When the stock market has had a long good run – and the recent one is the longest in recent history, at 10 years – people start feeling nervous, knowing a “correction” (= the bubble popping) is inevitably coming soon. So they harvest some profits and put the gains into hard assets, like cars. Some shrewd money people see bubbles in hard assets like cars as a sign that the stock market is due for a spanking soon. 

More than anything else, I think BaT shows that there are far too many people out there with way too much money they don’t know what to do with, and think nothing of spending on a car what could buy a house in much of the country.

I wish I was one of them.