Three times each year, Mitch Silver and his merry band travel from Spokane, Washington, to Fountain Hills, Arizona, to stage an auction of classic cars for an audience that are happy to have a car that might not win any trophies at a fancy concours d’elegance, but would be a lot of fun to drive and to park at your local weekend car show.
And, oh yes, classic cars that are way more affordable than the six- and seven- and eight-figure beauties crossing the blocks at the other auctions taking place in Phoenix and Scottsdale.
Figure on spending five figures at Silver Auctions, sometimes even just four for a car that might need some TLC on weekends but that will bring a smile to not only your face as you drive it, but to those who see you behind the wheel.
I poked around the 300 or so cars that started being auctioned Thursday afternoon. The parade continues through Saturday evening. Here are half a dozen I think I’d enjoy:
1968 Ford Mustang California Special
Lot 296 is the most affordable of Shelby-tweaked Mustangs. The California Special was a standard Mustang, but Southern California Ford dealers did a deal with Carroll Shelby and Shelby Automotive to design a special appearance package that included fog lamps, Shelby hood pins and side scoops, a pop-open gas filler, rear spoiler, ’65 Thunderbird taillights (mounted on an extended fiberglass rear end designed by Shelby Automotive) and GT/CS stripes.
1972 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia When I was starting college, the Karmann-bodied VW was my lust car (although my tastes changed and by the time I graduated, I’d bought a ’69 Mustang fastback). But Karmann Ghias still catch my eye. This one (Lot 27) has been restored and fitted with modern suspension and brakes and such.
1967 Citroen 2CV “Truckette”
Although never officially imported into the U.S. market, this delivery-truck-version of the 2CV (Lot 424) is cute and, according to a handwritten note on its vehicle description sheet, it “runs great!”
1959 Oldsmobile Holiday
I also had my eye on a big blue ’60 Olds at Silver, but this red-and-white one (Lot 476) is a massive two-door hardtop, not a four-door sedan. Add in a 394-cubic-inch V8 and we’re ready to cruise-in or simply cruise anywhere.
1951 Chevrolet 3100
Restored in a nice brown shade, this truck (Lot 514) has a chromed hat rack that suspends a handsome straw fedora from the headliners of the passenger compartment, and then pivots down so you can step out in style.
1967 Nissan Patrol
Toyota FJ40s are all the rage among buyers of early sport utility vehicles, but I’ve owned a pair of Nissan Frontier pickup trucks, so I like this ’67 Patrol (Lot 470).
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.