Classic Car Corner - Resolutions

  • Written by Tom Berg, Windermere Real Estate

I think New Year’s resolutions are kind of silly but sometimes I make them anyway. As my more avid readers will remember, last year I resolved not to buy any more cars for the year. Well, I made it to September when I accidentally found and bought a real nice ‘49 Studebaker business coupe that I just couldn’t resist. I even drove it yesterday and it’s a pleasure to drive. I rationalized that purchase by saying I would sell one of my cars by the end of the year and thus have no net gain in cars for the year. That didn’t get done so my resolution for 2014 was a failure. I was close though, so I thought I would make the same resolution this year. The saying goes: “The definition of madness is when you do the same thing over again and expect different results.” Well I did the same thing over again and sure enough, this year I only lasted two weeks!

merc 230I went to the Scottsdale auctions again this year with a promise to myself that I would buy no cars, just look around and enjoy the cars and watch other people buy them. Just to be sure, I wouldn’t even get a bidder card especially since they cost $200 - $500. I went to Barrett-Jackson on Tuesday, saw a lot of cool cars and watched others buy them. Then I went to Bonhams (free buffet breakfast), saw some really cool cars and watched other people buy them. Next I previewed the RM auction at the Arizona Biltmore. Just to attend that auction you had to get a bidder card for $200 so I just did the free preview. I tagged along with a guy doing a tour and got the inside skinny on some of the cars. They had lots of very high end cars including many Ferraris. Next was Gooding’s auction in downtown Scottsdale just a couple of blocks from my Motel 6. They aren’t 6 bucks anymore but it was clean and a great location. No free Bloody Marys this time but again lots of high-end cars. A beat up, horrible barn find Aston Martin went for half a million and a GTO went for a quarter of a million.

Well I was doing just great till I went out to Russo and Steele on Friday. Strolling through the tents just marveling at the variety and condition of their cars, I saw a car that I’ve been wanting for 40 years! I knew it would cost more than any car I’ve ever bought but I had just sold one of my rental homes and apparently that money was burning a hole in my pocket. I also rationalized that it would be a good investment and more fun than money in some account somewhere. I still might have been O.K. but the owners were there and I learned all about the history of my dream car. This car would be going on the auction block the next day so if I was going to bid I would have to come back again and get a bidder card for $200. I thought (hoped) I would change my mind overnight but alas all I did was firm up my maximum bid for the next day.

When I got there on Saturday I got my bidder card, went in and saw my dream car lined up for the auction block. There were lots of people intently going over the car and I was getting worried. I was afraid I wouldn’t even get to bid on my dream car so I decided to raise my limit by one bid increment. When my car was getting close to auction block I found just the right seat in the stands and anxiously waited. I then decided to raise my limit one more time and hoped that I could actually stop if it exceeded it. Finally my car pulls up on the auction block and the bidding starts. I got in early with several other bidders and finally there were just two of us and the bidding slowed down. As fate would have it I got to exactly my limit, waited and waited, and won. Had the other bidder bid one more time would I have been able to stop? I’ll never know but the way I see it, fate has decided this car should be mine for a while. Now I need to sell a car or two to get back to the number of cars I started with this year.

When you see a beautiful, dark grey Mercedes 230 SL with 45,000 miles on it driving through town or parked in my #1 Windermere spot — it’s me!

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