If you're tired of the exclusivity and absurd price tags typically associated with Monterey Car Week, I can't blame you. There are only so many special editions and $5,000,000 roofless wonders you can look at before you think to yourself, hey, what about the cars I could ever hope to afford?
With this in mind, I have a fantastic palate cleanser for you, because it turns out there are still deals to be found—even on the manicured lawns of Monterey. Here are the cheapest cars sold there this past week, and although there aren't any sub-$5K hammer prices like there were last year, there was still a handful of pretty good bargains. Here's every car—all six of them—that sold for under $10,000, all from Mecum.
1956 Pontiac Star Chief Ambulance: $9,900
The first car to slip under the $10,000 mark was this '56 Pontiac Star Chief that was built into an ambulance in-period by Superior Coach. Under its long hood, it boasts a 317-cubic-inch "Strato-Streak" V8, but more importantly, it also boasts fully functional ambulance accouterments, including a period fire extinguisher, gurney, Motorola two-way radio, and a working vintage Federal Beacon Ray roof-mounted emergency light, a sought-after rarity all on its own. It's completely restored and is decorated with a Mayberry Ambulance Service livery, in reference to the fictional town the Andy Griffith Show took place in.
Mecum notes it also comes with attendant seating in the rear, so you still might actually get to use this thing like a wagon.
1995 Buick Riviera Concept Car: $9,900
It is my fervent belief that the supercharged eighth-generation Buick Riviera is a criminally underappreciated car. It did fall prey to the GM weaknesses of the era, sure—plasticky interior trim abounds and amorphous, we-lost-the-ruler-in-the-design-studio styling dominates the character of the car—but it also had a 225-horsepower, 3.8-liter V6 that could propel the couch-like Buick from zero to 60 in 7.2 seconds. In the mid-90s that was nothing to scoff at, especially for a factory sleeper that looked better suited to a bingo hall parking lot than a car meet.
This specific Riviera is even more special; not only does it host the supercharged GM 3800 under its hood, but it's a genuine one-off convertible concept car previously owned by the GM Heritage Collection. Sadly, it's not street legal, which limits the chances the future owner will have to indulge in some front-wheel-burnouts, but it still feels like a steal to me.
1959 American Motors Rambler Coupe: $9,350
Mooneyes and flat black paint go together like no other combination, and this '59 AMC Rambler is here to prove it. The pinstripe flames and pair of surfboards (which were included with the sale!) elevate the whole package from a relatively mundane, entry-level compact of the '50s to a genuinely fun-looking car. The three-on-the-tree manual transmission undoubtedly makes it a much more interesting classic to drive, too, although I'm not exactly sure I would keep the Bud Light tap handle as my shift knob of choice, personally.
1977 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham: $8,800
For a mere $8,800, you could be chillin' with the finest peanut-butter-on-peanut-butter malaise couch-coupe Chrysler had to offer. This '77 New Yorker boasts original paint, a recent mechanical once-over, and factory air conditioning, although Mecum notes that "the air conditioning requires service at this time." So, you could be chillin' metaphorically, at least. I've loved every experience I've had with a land yacht so much, I think this Chrysler is what I'd personally want most from this list, even if I'd have to sweat a little bit to go for a cruise.
1978 MG MGB Mk IV Roadster: $8,250
This '78 MGB is a less-desired Mk IV with U.S. crash requirement plastic bumpers taking the place of the earlier chrome ones and a smog-restricted four-cylinder putting out around 85 hp. But, as a '78, it at least has the anti-roll suspension fixes MG implemented to improve handling, so it's not all bad. Either way, it's probably still a blast; every classic British car I've ever driven is a joy-filled driving experience, albeit a slow one.
Interestingly, this example had to be sold to "an out of state resident or a licensed dealer," which means that registering it might have been a little trickier than most auction wins.
1971 MG MGB Mk II Roadster: $7,700
And finally, the cheapest car at Monterey: this 1971 MG MGB, which sold for $7,700. Unlike the one preceding it, this is an earlier chrome-bumper Mk II which has a bit more elegant styling and more power than later versions—a whopping 92 hp. The British Racing Green paint looks a little worn in some of the images, but truthfully, that makes it even more appealing. Whoever bought this can go actually drive it and never worry about a ding or a scratch, because it's a reasonably priced roadster meant for some back roads instead of grassy lawns.
I'm still calling dibs on the Chrysler. Let me know what you'd choose out of this half-dozen!
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