Silver Auctions tent with resort and Four Peaks in the background | Larry Edsall photos
A couple of days ago, our collector car marketplace analyst Andy Reid shared word that while the tip of the auction iceberg is solid (at least if the car you’re selling is immaculately preserved or restored and has stunning provenance), the values of much of the mass of cars below the surface, those with six-figure valuations, is, well, melting.
But dive farther down and the base of the berg, the entry-level cars, are on fire, and not in the sense of melting but of prices not only being very solid but expanding, just as the mass of H2O does as it freezes.
That all should bode very well this weekend for Mitch Silver’s third visit of the season to Arizona. In recent years, Silver Auctions has staged sales at the We-Ko-Pa resort on the Fort McDowell Reservation at Fountain Hills not only during Arizona Car Week, but also in the fall and spring. The spring sale began Friday and runs through Sunday.
Although it will accept cars worth six figures, Silver specializes in driver-level recent vintage and collector cars, vehicles of the sort you can drive and even show. In many cases, snow-bird bidders buy from Silver when they arrive in Arizona for the winter and sell those same vehicles in the spring when it’s time to fly back north.
Early Friday afternoon, I wandered around the parking lot where the cars are placed before and after their appearances across the Silver auction block. Here are those that I’d pursue if I had a bidder’s number:
1963 Dodge Polara convertible The blue-accent on the convertible’s white paint drew my eye. But there’s more beauty to this car beneath the skin: A 375-horsepower, 440 cid V8 engine, power top, front disc brakes, only two owners and 52,744 miles since it rolled off the assembly line more than 50 years ago.
1975 Bricklin SV1 Are we already seeing a theme here? White cars! I’ve never been a big fan of the Bricklin, but maybe it’s because I’ve never seen one before in white. This sports coupe with gullwing doors has a 351 Ford V8 and automatic transmission, as well as power steering and brakes, and air conditioning.
1975 AMC Pacer Pro Street Someone spent eight years turning a mundane AMC Pacer into the Pacer X Treme, a Pro Street hot rod with a souped-up 351 Ford Windsor V8 (built with lots of Ford GT and Lightning and aftermarket components), Corvette gearbox, 9-inch Ford rear, Ram-Air hood scoop, four-wheel power disc brakes, Weld Racing wheels, wheelie bars and drag-racing parachute and Mickey Thompson street slicks.
1970 Fiat 850 Spider When I was a young sportswriter, the publisher of the newspaper where I worked drove one of these to work in good weather. This 850 Spider wears new “Ferrari” paint and has a new tan interior. The consignor’s note says the brake system has been redone and the exhaust system has been ceramic coated.
2005 Chevrolet Tornado This isn’t an Olds Toronado but a Chevy Tornado, a car-based pickup truck from South America with a 1.8-liter engine driving the front wheels through a five-speed manual transmission. Though not imported by Chevrolet, someone got this one titled, licensed, emission-certified and insured in Colorado.
1962 Cushman Super Silver Eagle Parked close enough to the Tornado that I couldn’t shoot the truck without including the bike was this 1962 Cushman Silver Eagle. Nine horses. Two transmission speeds. Electric key start. And reportedly a favorite with Shriners.
1956 Buick 40 Special station wagon Still with its original Nailhead V8, but customized with tangerine paint and leatherette interior, new Coker wide-white radials and Cragar “Smoothies.” Odo shows 19,178 miles.
1964 Chevrolet pickup Bummer! This was the fourth vehicle across the block and already had sold before I arrived. Chevy pickups from this era are highly collectible, and this one has a 327 V8 under its hood.
1963 Chrysler 300 convertible The turquoise paint, white top and copper Arizona collector-vehicle license plate attracted my attention, and I was hooked when I read the vehicle description sheet that noted that not only is the 413 cid V8 the engine that was in this convertible when it rolled off the assembly line, but that it had been used as a Rose Bowl Parade vehicle.