CCs For Sale: St. Vinnie’s Goes Upscale

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My, how quickly things change. The St. Vinnie’s (St. Vincent dePaul) sales lot, which gets its inventory from donations, has really gone upscale lately. Must be another consequence of the economy. Who would donate a Rolls Royce to charity? And to think that just a few years back, when I first did a post on what was then called DePaul’s, the most expensive car was like $2995. And the majority were  in the three digits. The Rolls? 

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Breathtaking. And no warranty.

Back in the day, you could have bought the whole lot inventory for that, if you’d felt inclined. And why did its owner decide to donate it? Was the estimate of the repairs it needed even greater than that asking price? Or are they just so rich now that they couldn’t be bothered to try to sell it?

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This is a 1976 Silver Wraith II, the lwb variant of the Silver Shadow.

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The interior looks quite nice; hey, even if it has some major mechanical malady, you could just go out and sit in it.

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Tom Klockau would approve of the color scheme…buttery; or rich vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.

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In front of the Roller is another British exotic, a Jensen Healey, no less. And why did someone decide to donate it? never mind; we’ll stop speculating. We all know these are bullet proof, and in the rare case it needs parts, they’re readily available at Auto Zone. Price: $5996.

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Keeping in the premium theme, it’s a BMW, albeit a rather modest one.

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In fact, it was the cheapest BMW one could buy in the US at the time: the 318ti. A shortened 3-series hatchback with a four cylinder engine and the old semi-trailing arm rear suspension from the prior generation of 3 Series. For those that just weren’t ready to give up their regular dose of trailing-throttle oversteer. Price: $3995.

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Bah, humbug, on those little Bavarian crackerboxes. You want German premium, how about some old school Mercedes? As in a 450 SLC, no less.

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The very first one of these I ever saw was in 1971, when I was in Washington, DC for a big political march. For some reason I was in Georgetown after the march, and saw one of these in the same color, although the earlier version with small bumpers. Wow! Now that’s something different…with that roof and odd louvered window. Turning an SL into a four-seat coupe necessitated some compromises, but all in all, I liked it. And would have much rather driven it back to Iowa City than in the chartered bus we rode in.  Price: $6995.

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If that’s a bit too old or cramped for you, how about this pristine (looking) W126? Like all of these Oregon cars, they’re solid; rust mites haven’t made it out here yet.

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A 380SE. Not the most desirable of the bunch, but it’s a smooth cruiser. I got to drive a six cylinder 300SE last summer, in the same blue, and it was a bit of shock. Well, it felt very solid and all, but it sure was leisurely, what with the transmission starting in second, unless it was floored. That always bugged me about my W124 300E, but it was quite a bit lighter. The W126 drove like a tank, in just about every sense of the word. Makes a modern car feel like a race car, all brisk and darty in comparison. Price: a mere $1995. Now we’re talking. How’s it run?

BTW, this is the same lot that the 1972 LTD that ended up in Germany was bought from, for $900. Maybe they saw the article, and decided they needed to jack up their prices.

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VW’s more recent cars may suffer in value from Dieselgate, but their vintage air cooled models are golden. Or yellow, as in the case of this fine 1600 Type II Squareback. These aren’t getting any more common, and this one has a clean body.

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The interior looks great, although a good deal more spartan than the Silver Wraith. You’re not going to want to hang out in here if it’s not running. Which of course would never happen…

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Someone is giving up the love of their life. or were they utterly sick of keeping it running? Price: $4995.

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Looks like it was a professor, at the UO. And the stickers are nicely arranged, going back to 1986. Ah, the memories…he’s going to regret giving it away.

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Enough of all these damn furrin’ cars; how about some good old American luxury cars? Well certainly. How about the finest Caddy ever made, the Mercedes-beating third generation Seville. It took Caddy a few tries to figure out how to really sell to foreign car lovers, but by the late 80s, they had it all figured out. Starting with a Rolls-Royce inspired grille.

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And if RR can have vinyl tops, so will the import-fighter Seville. Yumm. And merely $1495. What does that say?

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Well, that’s it for the premium brands. But here’s a mighty clean MGM. Looks a lot more premium (and desirable) than the Seville.

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Over there’s  some Volvos; two black brick wagons, no less. Always wanted a 740 Turbo, but I think it’s too late now.

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Here’s some more semi-premium cars for those not wanting to be seen as vulgar and nouveau riche.

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And the mere ordinary cars are lumped back behind the front line, so folks won’t get the wrong idea. St. Vinnie’s is now a premium free car dealer.

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Toyota Corollas, Echos and Hondas? We’ve hit rock bottom. let’s get out of here, before we’re seen to be mingling with the wrong crowd.

Note: St. Vincent dePaul’s Eugene operations do an amazing job, having built large numbers of low income housing and providing lots of other services and jobs. They are consistently considered the best-run non-profit in town. So it’s not really a surprise folks are donating more expensive cars to them. It’s for a very good cause.