Auctions are seen as the holy grail of selling. You bring together the best stuff and the best buyers. It’s the ideal situation, usually. Last weekend’s car auction in Burbank was a great example of the wrong merchandise for the wrong audience.
The cars in question were two beautiful hot rods in ready-to-drive condition that sold for an average of $3000. Other hot rods in the sale sold for the upper side of $30,000. So what went wrong? They were kit cars.
So what’s wrong with kit car hot rods? If you’re a normal motorhead, nothing. If you’re a car collector, everything. Kit cars are imitations of cool. Everyone gets the same thing, and for the individualist world of hot rodding that’s a no-no. They see it as lacking personality and therefore lacking in value.
So who would buy such a thing? Lots of people. The vast majority of people wouldn’t know they are kit cars. Then there are more general motorheads, like myself, who see the value in the object itself rather than some esoteric ideal. One of the kit cars in particular was a track roadster style which I love. These are well-engineered drivable cars.
So what are they worth? If I bought these cars and wanted a quick turn-around I’d take them down to the consignment car dealer. The fancier-looking one I’d ask for $15,000 and the other $10,000. I doubt that either would be there at the end of a week. If you wanted to take the time you could possibly get another $5,000 each.
Will hot rod kit cars always be worthless to the collector car world? Well, once upon a time all hot rods were worthless to the collector car world. On the other hand Shelby Cobra kit cars, depending on the brand and build, can be worth quite a bit. On the other other hand I don’t think any serious collector will ever covet a Bradley GT except maybe for the vintage VW parts that live underneath.