You can still get a great deal on a car at auction

Collecting Treasures: January is an exciting time, but not the only time you have the opportunity to buy or sell a car at auction

We’re coming off of a week of big car auctions here in the Valley where millions of dollars were exchanged for thousands of cars, ranging from classic American muscle cars, race cars, trucks, and hot rods to sleek European and Asian luxury cars, and even vehicles used in Hollywood films or owned by celebrities.

It’s an exciting time, but not the only time you have the opportunity to buy or sell a car at auction. Throughout the year, you’ll find live and online car auctions where you can get a great deal if you know what to look for.

Recent auctions

For our auction house, since we auction full estates, often that will include our consignors’ cars, motorcycles, boats and even airplanes. Cars, of course, are the most common vehicles.

For example, two weeks ago, we sold a 1968 MG MGB GT two-door hatchback for $5,900. Now that may sound like a lot, or a little, but something to remember is that this car is considered to be a collector car. For that price, it was a solid investment as it is sure to be worth more in the future so long as the current owner continues to take good care of it.

We also sold a 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V for $11,500 in that same auction. With only 2,463 original miles, this rare beauty was in excellent condition, and the selling price was consistent with reported results for previous auctions of this same model.


So, if you’re in the market to buy a car or a truck, and you’re thinking about bidding at auction, how can you make sure you don’t buy a lemon? Here are some tips:

  1. Always preview the vehicle prior to bidding because once you’ve bid on it and won, it’s yours. There are no warranties or returns on vehicles at auction.
  2. Do a Carfax on the vehicle and find out the history of the vehicle. You can get a free report about everything from changes in ownership status and history of oil changes to red flags, such as odometer rollbacks, reports of damage and recalls.
  3. Have a mechanic look at the vehicle if you can. Our auction typically has a three-day preview and we allow people to have a mobile mechanic come in and look the vehicle over for them prior to bidding.
  4. Lastly, research the retail value of the vehicle you are looking at and know your limit! Don’t get caught up in the moment and excitement of the auction and wind up the proud new owner of a Ford Mustang at the price of a Porsche!

Erik Hoyer co-owns EJ’s Auction & Consignment in Glendale and J. Levine Auction & Appraisal in Scottsdale. Reach him at or @EJs_Auction on Twitter.


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