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Ebay Challenges Top Auctioneers With The Pontiac Banshee Prototype

By September 13, 2010

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1964 Pontiac BansheeThe XP833 1964 Pontiac Banshee was created by GM executive John DeLorean to give Pontiac a shot at the Corvette market. To quiet the fears of Chevy excutives, the Banshee was designed with a 155 horsepower straight 6-cylinder engine, so it would remain less powerful than a Corvette. In fact, the car was intended to compete with the Ford Mustang, but eventually that honor went to the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. The Banshee was never built, and this prototype went into private hands. It's got just about 1500 miles on the odometer. This unique car has been across the auction block twice already this year, and it hasn't sold yet.

The Banshee went up for auction in March, and garnered a high bid of $325,000 - but no sale. That's the magic of reserve price auctions - if the number doesn't meet the seller's target, there's no requirement to sell. The seller still pays a commission to the auction house, of course. Some things are just not open to negotiation!

Then the Banshee was on the block again in August during the Monterey classic car festivals, but this time with a different auctioneer. The high bid was $400,000 - but still no sale.

So now the owner has the car up for auction on ebay. With 6 days left to go, the bid is about $48,000. It's hard to think that an ebay auction will yield a better price than the high-zoot auctions at the Amelia Island Concours and Monterey where this car has been presented already this year, but at least the seller will pay a far lower commission to ebay if the car doesn't sell.

Frankly, I find it hard to imagine any car being worth $400,000 - and if someone offered me that much money for the Banshee, (assuming it was mine to sell) I'd take it in a heartbeat. I don't know what number the seller is looking for, but if the high-end auctioneers couldn't deliver the dollars, it will be nothing short of earth-shaking for the auction industry if ebay succeeds.

September 20, 2010 at 12:17 pm
(1) Mark Knass says:

It does look as though eBay was able to bring in a little more moeny than your so-called high-zoot auctions. Just maybe eBay is the future for high profile items too!

September 20, 2010 at 4:47 pm
(2) corvettes says:

Yes – The ebay top bid was $407,500 – not quite 2% more than the top bid in Monterey – but the big difference will be that the buyer and seller premiums and the listing fees will be far far less on ebay and the audience far wider.

That being said, the potential for the ebay bidder to be a complete fraud or flake is also correspondingly higher.

It will be interesting to see if more high-dollar car sales migrate to ebay. Right now, many cars at auction that don’t make reserve still change hands privately after the event. Ebay allows this explicitly, so there’s not a lot of downside to trying online auctions before the expensive kind.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

October 7, 2010 at 1:20 am
(3) Mark says:

I followed this car on eBay and there were several bidders over $400,000 so it seems as though there must have been real money on this great car!

To bring a car to any of the top collector car auctions is a costly proposition before the car even hits the block! Their fees include entry fees from $300 – $2,000 plus the costs of getting the car to the auction and that can range anywhere from $150 to as high as $2,000 depending on how far the aution is and how you want to ship the car. When the car sells, you can pay as much as 8% in seller fees.

On the fip side, the cost to list a car on eBay is less than $100 and if it sells the seller’s fees are only $150 or less.

Plus auctions like Barrett Jackson are no-reserve which means that you are obligated to sell the car at whatever the highest bid is while eBay allows you to have full control of your reserve price…

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