Back in the good ol’ days, Bring A Trailer was a mailing list of cool project cars for sale. Then it became an auction site for cool and unique vehicles, and then a premier auction site with only the best, handpicked listings. Now, it seems to be entering a new phase of its life: A site where you can sell new cars you just bought for a massive profit. Welcome to the Suckers Slides, y’all. Let’s see who overpaid this week.
1988 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 16V – $29,001
These classic GLIs are more interesting than their book values would suggest. Those perfect boxy bodies, high-revving four-cylinders, and timeless mesh wheels make for a combo that’s hard to turn down. At least, it would be, for a reasonable price.
For starters, this doesn’t appear to be an immaculate GLI. Despite the accident-free history report, the car’s hood definitely doesn’t match its front fenders, and the door hinges are dark brown with rust. For this much money, for a Volkswagen this old, it should at least be pristine.
1992 Nissan Sentra SE-R – $33,500
This Sentra SE-R sold for over thirteen times its book value. Yes, that accounts for the low mileage. I guess clean, affordable enthusiast cars are dead, and everything costs thirty grand now. I am going to throw myself into the sea.
1979 Ford Bronco – $37,000
Hagerty value: I am afraid to tell Hagerty about this vehicle for fear that The Powers That Be have me assassinated for assaulting their senses. I am but a humble messenger, yet still I fear.
Look, I enjoy Taco Bell as much as the next guy. Sometimes, all you want in a meal is to have a bunch of vaguely-Mexican-inspired, wholly unrelated food items mashed together into one sickening, glorious Doritos Locos Cheesy Gordita Quesarito. Unfortunately, the time-honored culinary art of Getting Unreasonably Stoned And Thinking Up New Food Combinations works a bit less well on cars.
This poor classic Bronco appears to have its exterior slathered in aftermarket Jeep parts while its interior has the dash layout of a Mini and the amenities of a boat. The random assortment of hardware holding the fenders together will haunt me in my dreams, yet someone still paid nearly forty grand for the privilege of owning the off road world’s worst panel fitment.
1960 Fiat 600 Multipla – $52,250
The classic Fiat Multipla is truly a friend-shaped car. Just picture this little guy trundling along, dutifully shuttling people around like an episode from an Italian spinoff of Old Enough. I will protect it, I want to see it grow up healthy, and I will tell my friends and neighbors about it, but I will not pay $52,250 for it.
At the end of the day, this Multipla is a novelty. It’s far less likely to be used as a daily driver than it is to be kept in a garage, occasionally brought out for a car show or a detail session. This poor friend, trapped alone inside because it’s too expensive to risk actually using. Free him.
1991 Saab 900 SPG – $57,000
A Saab 900 Turbo, specifically the convertible, has long been on my list of dream cars to own. This 900 SPG, complete with tri-spoke wheels, is an even better performer on the streets — but if it’s setting the pace for performance at auction, I don’t know that my wallet will keep up with any Saab.
Rising prices often lift all boats on auction sites, due to the concept of price anchoring. People browsing BaT see a 900 SPG sell for $57,000, and suddenly that price is anchored in their head. By that metric, a basic 900 Turbo for $35,000 is a downright steal — despite still being overpriced.
2007 GMC Sierra 2500HD SLE Crew Cab Duramax 4×4 – $67,000
What a twist. Rather than a late-’90s-to-early-aughts diesel Ford truck, today we have one from GM. Rather than a standard Sierra, this 2500 HD appears to be a Classic model, meaning it’s the same GMT800 truck introduced back in 1998, selling 24 years later for $67,000. I wish I was kidding.
I get the appeal of red ‘90s 2500 pickups, I really do. But to find one that was outdated when it was built, and pay new-truck money for it so many years later, is a purchase process I can’t comprehend. You can’t use it for Truck Stuff, because you’ll tank the value, but its value is entirely predicated on its theoretical ability to do Truck Stuff. It’s like that joke gun in Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, made real.
2001 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 1953-2003 Commemorative Edition – $97,000
Hagerty value: These Commemorative Edition Corvettes don’t seem to have their own book values
I take back everything bad I ever said about the Catfish Camaro. This unofficial anniversary edition Corvette borrows that car’s unloved grille, but gives it bright chrome braces as part of an all-over retro redesign. It’s like a mirror universe Mitsuoka, the modern-retro automaker’s evil twin.
Wealth in the U.S. is overwhelmingly concentrated in the hands of the Baby Boomers, but they don’t need to spend it on this. For $97,000, they could get really anything else. Any single other thing. Even multiple other things. It is near-impossible to do worse than this Corvette.
2022 GMC Hummer EV Pickup Edition 1 – $275,000
Wouldn’t it be nice to buy a car only to immediately sell it for over double what you paid? This Hummer seller lived the dream, buying an absolute base-spec Edition 1 Hummer EV and netting enough pure profit from the deal to pay for another.
My own thoughts on the Hummer EV aside, this deal seems like a poor investment for the buyer. Demand for this truck is high, sure, but it isn’t exactly going to replace the Camry as everyone’s daily driver. Supply will continue to climb, as demand stagnates or falls off. At the end of the day, they’ll be left with an electric truck that’s worth something, but not nearly what they paid.
1994 Porsche 911 Turbo 3.6 – $470,000
This 1994 911 Turbo is arguably Peak Porsche. It was the last gasp of the classic 964 chassis, the best it ever performed before being usurped by 993 body. It’s painted Guards Red, the classic Porsche color, and its immaculate condition means that turbocharged engine could still be making every one of its original 335 horsepower. But, much like the Multipla, god help you if you experience any of its driving dynamics.
This Porsche has a hardwired battery tender connection, meant to keep it drivable while it sits for extended periods. It was purchased by a previous owner just to sit, and now purchased by another to do the same. It’s now art, admittedly gorgeous art, but it can no longer be functionally called a car.
2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale – $772,000
MSRP: $584,798, now starts at $625,000
Once again, we have new cars selling for more on Bring A Trailer than they cost at the dealer. With this Ferrari, however, there’s an extra level of insidiousness on tap. Since new Ferrari purchases are so limited, the brand expects hopeful buyers to already own previous models from Maranello. Paying above sticker for a used car may be the only way to get into the company’s good graces, just to buy a future car at MSRP.
This likely isn’t the intent when putting a late model Ferrari up for auction, but whoever paid nearly $200,000 over sticker for this car is now a Ferrari Owner in the eyes of the company. They now gain a level of acceptance from the brand, and can ingratiate themselves to buy future models. Was that worth the cost?