Long Form

Still Rolling: Swedish and the Bandit

This Trans Am was imported to Germany from the U.S. before it was shipped to Sweden.

Photo courtesy of Julia Eliasson

Across the Atlantic a Phoenix rose. A gold firebird dressed the hood of a 1977 black Trans Am T/A as it left the shores of North Carolina on its international voyage in the twilight years of the 1970s. It arrived in Europe and was transported to Germany.

There, amongst double overhead cams and flat inline fours, the Trans Am was used as a display piece in a General Motors dealership. The car was never driven except when it was being moved for stationing.

It served as an example of automotive power and design of the West. This wasn't a car anymore so much as an art piece designed to provoke thoughts of Levis, Cindy Crawford, and movie lines from "Smokey and the Bandit".

1977 Pontiac Trans Am T/AThe Trans Am has had very few modifications.Photo courtesy of Julia Eliasson

That was the car's existence throughout the 1980's until it was bought by a private owner and moved to Sweden in 1992.

New country, same lifestyle. The Trans Am was spared from Scandinavian winters, sitting tucked away in dry garages and storage sheds, becoming a garage collectable despite never to be removed from its box.

It wasn't until the summer of 2018 that the Trans Am saw a new hope. It came in the form of a young woman named Julia Eliasson who would save this Pontiac from a fate of never-ending storage and auction houses.

Julia is a 21-year-old self-described car-girl from South Sweden. She lives in the city of Hassleholm, a town whose population of less than 20,000 has a surprising amount of vintage American cars.

The Trans Am's privileged life allowed it to stay in Barrett Jackson-type condition. The car had been stationary for most of its life to the point that the odometer broke from lack of use. The only modifications done to the car since leaving America are the addition of aftermarket wheels and exhaust system, but Julia has plans on reinstalling its original duel pipes sometime in 2020.

The 1977 Trans Am is Julia's dream car. Right before she bought it, she was prepared to settle for a second-gen Camaro when the listing for this T/A suddenly popped up. The planets aligned in Julia's favor as the owner decided to give her the opportunity to buy the car out of several potential buyers.

1977 Pontiac Trans Am T/AThe Trans Am is living its best life, being driven in Swedish summers.Photo courtesy of Julia Eliasson

The Swedish woman's love of American V8's was passed down from her father who has several muscle cars in his high-octane past including a 1970 Chevrolet Nova and 1975 Pontiac Firebird.

Julia's favorite detail on the Trans Am is the CB radio.

Winters take up a lot of months on the Swedish calendar, so Julia only drives the Trans Am in the spring when the sun is out and the countryside beams with vivid shades of green. She takes her screaming chicken to local car shows and car meets around town, something she plans on doing for years to come.

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This 2020 Ford GT drew over $1 million at the auction.

Mecum

The world may be going through some tough times right now, but you'd never know it looking at auto auction results. One of the largest, Mecum, just reported sales from the auctions it held in Arizona last week, and the results are astonishing. Mecum says it took in $66.3 million in sales, which is a big increase over the previous year's auctions. Attendance was also up, and the event was packed with high-dollar, desirable vehicles.

Mecum Arizona AuctionHow about a 1967 Ferrari for a little over $3 million?Mecum

Mecum says that private collection sales generated $20 million of the $66.3 million, as some brought dozens of vehicles to participate in the auction. The Hooked on Vettes Collection, for example, brought 13 cars and sold every one of them. It even sold a load of neon signs for well over a million dollars.

The top ten vehicles sold at auction drew big dollars. A few include:

  • 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4: $3,025,000
  • 1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Convertible Coupe: $2,365,000
  • 2005 Porsche Carrera GT: $2,200,000
  • 2020 Ford GT: $1,100,000
  • 2017 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 Roadster: $698,500

Mecum Arizona AuctionThere was even a Duesenberg, which sold for almost $2.4 million.Mecum

If you've got money to burn and you're sad to have missed out on the Arizona auction, your next shot will be at the end of this month when Mecum hits Houston with 1,100 vehicles. The flagship Mecum auction in Indianapolis takes place in mid-May, and will feature 3,000 cars.

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Insurance company Hagerty compiled a list of cars it thinks will climb in value and price.

Hagerty

Vehicle prices have grown across the board this year, but collector car prices have been on the move for years. The world of online car auctions and car shows such as Radwood have driven attention to obscure and otherwise unknown cars, pushing their prices. Insurance and overall automotive lifestyle company Hagerty is stepping in to help. It complied a list of vehicles that it believes are currently a good value and have potential to climb. The Hagerty Bull Market List covers ten vehicles of all types.

Hagerty’s list is expansive, covering several vehicle types, prices, and time periods. The list features vehicles built between 1963 and 2012, and is designed to nudge people into buying cars before they become unattainable. This is especially important now, as online auction sites have moved the markets for some previously obscure cars well past the point of reason.

The Bull Market List isn’t intended to give you an inside track on car values so that you can flip them for quick profit. Instead, the list should give you the push you need if you’re already on the fence about buying a car to keep and drive a cool vehicle. Hagerty wants people to buy the cars and have the ability to pass them on to other enthusiasts without charging exorbitant prices.

The Bull Market List includes (with excellent condition pricing):

  • 1965-1970 Cadillac DeVille ($28,800)
  • 1969-1974 Ferrari 246 Dino ($365,800)
  • 1983-1997 Land Rover Defender ($61,400)
  • 1979-1985 Mazda RX-7 ($17,600)
  • 1962-1967 Mercedes-Benz 230SL ($80,500)
  • 1963-1967 Pontiac GTO ($100,200)
  • 1992-1995 Porsche 968 ($38,000)
  • 1985-1995 Suzuki Samurai ($10,200)
  • 2008-2012 Tesla Roadster Sport ($97,000)
  • 1975-1993 Volvo 245 ($15,800)

If you’re considering one of the vehicles on the list and have the means, it’s a good idea to act in the near future. Vehicle prices are rising due to supply chain shortages to the point that even older cars are climbing. That, plus the effects of online car auctions, have made it hard to find a good value car.

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