Streamlined Chrysler makes big bucks at Auburn Spring sale


A giant sale of American classics took place at Auburn Springs, Indiana on 8-10 May, with the top price going to a futuristic streamliner from the 1930s.

The '34 Chrysler Custom Imperial Airflow was expected to fetch up to $140,000, but the excitement surrounding the historic rarity drove bidding to a dizzying $213,400. The streamlined pioneer was designed with the assistance of aviation legend Orville Wright, and featured aircraft technology reflected in its 'truss bridge' chassis.

Also in the sale, and posting the second highest result, was a 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409 Lightweight Sport Coupe, which sold on estimate for $151,250. The former racing car is thought to be one of the most original examples of the rare model and, owing to living life a quarter of a mile at a time, had only 5500 on the clock.

The car was much as it was in period and still sported its Zintmaster livery, along with the original driver's name, Dave Mason.

The highest pre-sale estimate of $130-160,000 belonged to a 1970 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Limousine, but the American-centric lot list did the Brit no favours. It eventually sold for just $108,900.

A 1980 MGB, which was slated to make as much as $25,000, fell considerably short of that figure, with bidding stalling at $11,275.

Selling for $275 less, but looking much better value was a 1965 Ford Mustang notchback. It was fitted with a Cruise-o-matic transmission and a 289cu in V8 engine.

The Mustang wasn't the only bargain of the sale: a 1964 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Spyder Coupe sold for just $7975, while just $7700 was enough to secure a 1967 Ford Galaxie 500.

The best value lot from a British perspective was surely a 1959 Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite, which changed hands for just $4950. Though it appeared to require a new hood and remedial paintwork, it was very well bought.

Costing its new buyer even less was a 1977 Cadillac Eldorado, which crossed the block for $3520. The 75,000-mile car sported a 425cu in V8 engine and was smartly finished in red, boasting both air-conditioning and a tidy vinyl roof.

A 1953 Studebaker Champion Custom Starlight Coupe was one of the highlights of the John Scotti Collection, and sold for $42,900. The sleek '50s cruiser was wearing period-style custom wheels, a CD player and electric windows.

Exactly the same sum would have landed a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T or a 1981 Ferrari 308GTS.

Click here for a full list of auction results.


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