AutoGuide Answers: We Pretend We're Ballers and Pick Monterey Auction Cars to Buy

Sami Haj-Assaad
by Sami Haj-Assaad

It’s Monterey Car Week, which means there’s a ton of automotive eye candy to be found rolling around coastal California. However, the auctions are just as interesting, and many rare and collectable vehicles are being sold off for the highest bid.

A quick look through the Mecum lots left us all discussing what we’d take if we had unlimited funds. Some of our editors choices are quite surprising. Here’s what they said:

1996 Chevrolet Corvette Gran Sport – Dan Ilika, Road Test Editor:

If I had to pick just one, I’d go with the 1996 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport coupe. There isn’t a vehicle that reminds me of my childhood love affair with the automobile (outside of my parents’ minivan) more than the ’96 Grand Sport. It was 1997, and we all piled in the van to make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, NY, home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. After a couple days spent wandering the Hall, we stumbled upon a since-shuttered Corvette museum where I fell in love. There it was, in all its Admiral Blue glory. I didn’t know much about the car at the time other than the fact I wanted it. And I still do. The color scheme – the white center stripe, red fender hash marks and black wheels – still gives me chills, and not just because it bears a striking resemblance to a Buffalo Bills home jersey. Now if only I can convince the bosses that I need a raise in time for the auction…

1965 Shelby GT350 – Jodi Lai, Managing Editor:

I’ve never had to answer such a difficult question before in my life. I love all kinds of cars from vintage beaters to modern supercars to little micro cars with double-digit horsepower and high-brow marques to blue collar favorites, so looking at the lots up for auction, it took me forever to come up with what I really wanted.

I’d love to pick up a vintage muscle car, however. There’s an amazing 1965 Shelby GT350 Fastback for sale in the classic blue and white that gets me really excited. It’s highly original, has seen only three owners, and is incredibly well taken care of. The one catch is that it could fetch more than half a million bucks! After that, I’d buy a modern day GT350 in the same colors.

My parents used to have a Mach 1 Boss, and I love old Mustangs because of that.

1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster – Craig Cole, Associate Editor:

If money were no object, my “pick-of-the-litter” from Mecum Auctions would be this oh-so-lovely 1935 Auburn 851 SC Boattail Speedster. Normally I detest convertibles and even sunroofs, but with a body this sexy I can make an exception (and pack some Coppertone SPF 18,000). My reason for selecting this creamy-yellow beauty is that NOTHING looks like this anymore; no car in production today has lines and forms that rival this Auburn, plus its supercharged Lycoming flathead inline-eight is undoubtedly a gem of an engine. The suicide doors, exposed exhaust pipes and voluptuous fenders seal the deal for me. Now to scrounge up a million bucks so I can make a bid…

1960 Mercedes-Benz 190SL – Sami Haj-Assaad, Features Editor:

While not as rare or expensive as my colleagues’ choices, I simply can’t take my eyes off this baby blue Benz. Sure, the purists and collectors may scoff at my choice, because it’s not the amazing Gullwinged 300 SL, but there’s a different vibe that just exudes elegance with this convertible. The previous owner certainly took great care with this example being put up for auction, giving it a full restoration before hitting the auction block. Add in those stylish white-wall tires and a tan soft-top, which completes the cars overall design and I’m in love.

1936 Ford Custom Pickup – Stephen Elmer, News Editor:

What can I say, I’m a sucker for a pickup truck. This gorgeous 1936 Ford Custom Pickup would get all of my auction bids. Besides having a classic look that is soul stirring, under the hood lives a modern Ford V8 that makes 345 horsepower hooked to a five-speed manual. That means I get the gorgeous style without the hassle of a classic engine. To top it off, it’s finished in British Racing Green, a famous hue that brings a feeling of elegance to the truck.

Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione– Jason Siu, News Editor:

While it’s totally tempting to choose a McLaren P1 or an SLS as my car of choice, I would actually spring for something cheaper: The Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. It’s one of the rarest cars to ever hit U.S. soil, and it’s one of the few cars that looks absolutely exquisite from every angle. Sure, the Alfa Romeo’s front end styling isn’t for everyone, but I feel like the 8C is modern, but isn’t too modern where electronics and fancy tech gadgets take over the spirit of driving. It’s also quite a bit different in a sea of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and even McLarens in today’s supercar world. It may not be the fastest, most powerful or the most expensive, but something about the Alfa Romeo 8C just makes it a work of art in my eyes.

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta – Michael Accardi, News Editor ( GM Inside News and All Ford Mustangs)

I pick this 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta because it’s automotive hipsterism at its finest, sprinkled with a dash of elitism.

Since 1970 this 275 GTB was owned and maintained by a Ferrari mechanic — although self immolation will always be a risk.

Steve McQueen also owned one, which instantly makes it cool even if most hip kids don’t know who Steve McQueen is or what that the little horsies are for and who put this extra pedal here?


1949 Volkswagen Hebmuller Type 14A Cabriolet – Sebastien Bell, News Editor ( VWvortex, Fourtitude and Swedespeed)

The Type 14A was an early attempt at turning the Beetle into a sports car. Volkswagen tasked coachbuilder Hebmüller with building a 2+2 convertible and the result was this beauty.

Sadly, shortly after production began in 1949, a fire broke out in Hebmüller’s paint department and the cost of rebuilding was too much for the uninsured coachbuilder. Karmann finished the last of the Type 14As in 1953, but now it’s estimated that only about 100 of these premium Volkswagens are left.

Ultimately, the Hebmuller kind of doesn’t make sense. You can still feel the tension between the idea of a premium car and the reality of post-war Germany. My favorite line from the ad is: “Luxuriously fitted with roof insulation.” Well, la-dee-da.

Sami Haj-Assaad
Sami Haj-Assaad

Sami has an unquenchable thirst for car knowledge and has been at AutoGuide for the past six years. He has a degree in journalism and media studies from the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto and has won multiple journalism awards from the Automotive Journalist Association of Canada. Sami is also on the jury for the World Car Awards.

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