If you closed your eyes during the Carlisle Fall AutoFest extravaganza, you’d swear you were on the set of the movie “Apocalypse Now.”
Held on Nov. 11-12 at the expansive Sun n’ Fun Aeronautical Complex in Lakeland, Fla., the Fall AutoFest created a carnival-like atmosphere. With a swap meet, collector car auction and show, and rides in either a biplane, or you guessed it, a Vietnam-era Huey helicopter, the Fall AutoFest event aimed to entertain.
With an extremely accessible bidder/seller program, this Carlisle auction offered 400 lots and opened the door for the entry level buyer and seller. This isn’t to say the auction was full of junk, it had many tasty offerings up for grabs. Modern and classic American machinery was on hand in Lakeland, with a few European entries scattered in for good measure.
Affordability was the theme of the event, with most cars available for under $40,000, and some even sold in the four-digit range. Although the sell-through rate was less than spectacular, the auction produced a respectable $3,000,000 worth of sales.
Emphasizing the American-centric nature of the auction, the highest sale went to a 1934 Buick Series 60 survivor at just over $85,000 including fees.
It took a little time to separate the wheat from the chaff, as some of the entries were a little rough around the edges. However, for the savvy buyer, good deals were available.
With a great color, big-block power and a clean interior, this midsize 1967 Buick Skylark Convertible offered a ton of fun for just $12,500. Perfect for evening runs down to the ice cream shop, or to the local cruise-in, this Buick seemed like a great deal.
A 2004 Chevrolet Corvette went over the block as a no-sale, but could be had for just $15,000 through a consignment firm. With 405 HP and a track-ready chassis, this potent Chevy looked clean and honest, and had traveled just under 88,000 miles.
Next up was a 1965 Chevrolet Corvair Convertible. No, it wasn’t a Corsa Turbo, heck, it wasn’t even a manual transmission equipped car. What this little Chevy did represent was a very affordable entry into the collector car hobby. With a selling price of only $5,000, it’s hard to see how the buyer gets hurt on this transaction.
And then there was a 1978 Lincoln Versailles. This pristine example of perhaps the worst car ever made really belongs in a museum. A rolling nightmare of just how bad things used to be, this Granada with frosting gave us equal feelings of awe and nausea. The auction bidders wisely passed on this one although it was in like-new condition with only 25,000 miles. We’d pass too.
Smokey and the Bandit era Trans Ams are hot, and this 1977 Pontiac Trans Am had a ton of curb appeal. Equipped with the 6.6 liter, a four speed and a few resto-mod touches, this car came across clean and honest. These 1977 and 1978 cars are more sought after than those with the revised nose that appeared in ‘79. The selling price of $17,000 may seem cheap in a few years.
There were bargains to be had at the Carlisle Fall AutoFest, but the low sell-through rate was a bit concerning. Are we looking at a softening of the market, especially at the entry level? A harbinger may be Carlisle’s Winter AutoFest, held once again at the Sun n’ Fun complex in Lakeland Fla. This winter event will take place on Feb. 23-26, 2017 and will once again include an auction, car show, and yes, chopper rides!
Photos courtesy of Carlisle Auctions.