There are lots of automotive auctions that take place every year, most of which go unnoticed on this site. Every once in a while one will pop up that is worthy of the attention of our fellow curbivores (remember Ron Hackenberger’s crazy hoard of 700+ cars from 2017 or the Lambrecht Chevrolet auction from 2013)? Well here’s another one to add to the list.
The Beneventi family owned and ran a Chevrolet dealership in Granger, Iowa since 1932. The most recent family member to run the dealership, Don Beneventi, owned and ran the dealership from the 1970s. Don amassed quite a collection of Chevrolets over the years, including low mileage trades and a handful of held back never-titled Chevrolets from the 1970s and ’80s. Don recently sold the dealership and is now selling off most of his collection. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting cars, many of which are from the depths of the malaise era.
In my opinion, the jewel of the collection is this never-titled triple-black 1972 Monte Carlo that was ordered in 1972 as a demonstrator. It shows just 3,022 miles and is still sporting the original window sticker. Black was associated with luxury cars back in the ’60s and ’70s and was a common color for Lincolns and Cadillacs. It was not so common on Chevrolets, as only full-sized Chevrolets were available in black in 1972. The paint code of “01” indicates that this is a dealer special order, and the result is stunning: It does look a lot more luxurious than your run-of-the-mill Monte.
The interior is virtually showroom new. As a former demo, it sports a long list of options, including A/C, bucket seats, center console, rally wheels, and tilt steering wheel. This Monte is mostly show and no go, however, as it is powered by a 175hp 350 V8 and optional 3-speed THM automatic, which is the setup that most buyers likely left the dealership with. As I write this, bidding is currently at $38,500.
Next up we have this never titled 1977 Z28 Camaro which shows just 456 miles. This car was likely a demonstrator as well, given that it is equipped with a lot of options, and an automatic (again, how most of these cars would have been sold). 1977 Marked the return of the fabled Z28 moniker, which had been on hiatus since 1974. While the 165hp 350 V8 may seem (and is) wimpy, it was actually the top engine available in the Camaro in 1977, and the only engine available in the Z28.
The orange Z28 striping may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it seems positively subdued compared to the Trans Am that Pontiac was selling just up the street at the same time. How much for one of the best surviving examples of one of the worst years of Camaro? $36,000 as of this writing.
Here we have another never-titled car, this time a 1975 Chevrolet Caprice Classic convertible showing just 1,241 miles. The GM B-body convertibles have a nifty scissor top mechanism that you have to see in person to appreciate. Convertibles were on their way out by the mid-’70s, and 1975 would be the last year for the full-size Chevy soft top. You could only get the convertible body in the top of the line Caprice trim, and only 8,349 convertibles were produced in this ultimate year.
My grandfather had a 1973 Impala, so I have lots of fond memories staring at that dashboard. Not so fondly remembered are those molded plastic door panels that GM used on all their cars in the ’70s, the less said about which the better. While my memories are free, this trip down memory road is currently going for $23,750. which when adjusted for inflation is actually less than what it would have sold for new.
Here we have a never-titled 1978 Silver Anniversary Corvette with just 478 miles on the odometer. 1978 marked the 25th anniversary of the Corvette. The rapidly aging C3 platform, now in its tenth year, got a minor refresh with a fastback rear window and a refreshed dashboard.
It has a gorgeous red leather interior, T-Tops, and of course, all the options. Cost of entry for this nearly new Vette? Only $11,250 as I write this. I am honestly surprised that a nearly new Corvette is going for so little money. Granted, the emissions strangled 185hp L48 V8 represents the near nadir of Corvette performance, although this is actually up slightly from the 180hp the L48 produced in 1976. But still this is a C3 Corvette, a car that in this mileage and condition I would have expected to command more. I will leave it to the commentators to speculate as to why this is.
I have a real soft spot for this last car, a 1974 Chevelle Laguna S-3 with a 454 V8. These never failed to turn my head when I was younger. My well-worn Encyclopedia of American Cars claims that Chevrolet made 21,902 Laguna S3’s in 1974, but I would have guessed far less than that as these were rarely seen even in the ’70s when I was growing up.
With 51,000 miles it may not be quite as showroom fresh as the previous examples, but it has held up pretty well. This example was a demonstrator that was sold new by Don Beneventi and then traded back in to the dealership in 1980. At that point, it went straight into Don’s private collection. As a former demo, it has most of the available options, including the highly sought after swivel bucket seats, pictured above. Price to swivel into this example? $30,000.
There are actually over 20 cars available from the 1940s to the present, including the obligatory DeLorean (it seems like there is one at every auction). I’m glad to see some of these malaise era cars finally starting to climb in value. Check it out at the link below.