In The Tracks...
The Most Expensive Non-Running GTX
Hammers Off at $175,000
June 7, 2008

On June 7 at the estate auction for the late John Ott Farra in Malvern, Pennsylvania, one of the items was a 1968 Plymouth GTX with a Hemi 426 engine. The auctioneers, Paisley Auctions, Inc., described the car as "a real survivor", but also said that they couldn't confirm that it was a numbers matching car in the auction listing. Before the car was auctioned off, auctioneer Rodger Paisley, announced that the transmission was in working condition according to their independent inspections. However, the car was without battery and was reported that the engine was possibly siezed up, but they could not confirm.

On Friday, the day before the Saturday auction, I did my own brief inspection of the car. I saw a body that was in excellent shape with not a spec of visible rust. Inside the car was very clean with very minor wear. Reports were that there was a small tear in the seat that had been stitched up, but I didn't see it.

The engine, much like the interior, looked like it hadn't been used since 1968. Notice the upper radiator hose. It is very discolored and rotting away. Also, the hose clamps are also the original style used back in 1968. The heater line hoses are also in similar shape.

The engine was also very dirty and missing the air cleaners for the duel carburetors. To go along with the engine in the interior were a few extra guages.

The car was apparently modified for racing. You can sort of see in the photograph of the car at left that the front is raised a bit for racing. Also, the extra guages mounted on the dash including an oil pressure guage and a steering column mounted tachometer indicated the car was modified for racing.

They weren't the only modifications that indicated modifications for racing. Included with the car were the original 3:23 rear end gear. The car currently has what is believed to be a 4:56 rear end gear.

All of this plus the worn out racing tires revealed on Saturday for the auction, and the fact that during the auction of a couple SUVs and a van, they mentioned that they had to replace a battery in one of the vehicles to get it started. Yet, the GTX had no battery, but they didn't replace it to get it started. This created much speculation amongst many at the auction that the car's engine was siezed from racing.

The racing modifications to the car would have voided the warranty on the car, not to mention the use of racing the car. However, the reason they had two SUVs to auction off was because Mr. Farra didn't like one of them and bought the second one to replace it. However, he didn't trade the first one in on the second, he kept it. If he didn't like it why keep it? This tells me that money was not an object for him and raised questions about why he didn't replace the GTX engine or have the GTX engine in repaired if he wanted to keep the car.

Nevertheless, the car was in top shape to the eye besides the condition of the engine. However, with the car basically sitting for 39 years, there has to be other things that need repair such as rubber brake and fuel lines, wheel cylinders, ball joint bushings and much more that need attention with the suspension. Basically, the car needs a full restoration done, but the car has been garage kept for 39 years and so I'd doubt there's any frame rust.

So, let's put a value on such a car. Well, a 1968 Plymouth GTX needing an engine and much wheel and other suspension work should probably sell for about $50,000 at the most. I'd probably expect such a car at auction with so much unknowns is that it might go for a couple bucks below that.

Where did those numbers come from? Well, not just anywhere, how about the top of the line when it comes to auto auctions, Barrett-Jackson. The table below includes all of the 1968 GTXs auctioned by Barrett-Jackson over the years.

Auction Lot Year Make Model CarStyle Price
Scottsdale 2008 408.1 1968 Plymouth GTX 2 Door Hardtop $56,000
Palm Beach 2007 663 1968 Plymouth HEMI GTX 2 Door Hardtop $74,000
Scottsdale 2007 1593 1968 Plymouth GTX Convertible $50,000
Scottsdale 2007 1358 1968 Plymouth HEMI GTX 2 Door Hardtop $77,000
PBCCA Palm Beach 2006 761 1968 Plymouth GTX Convertible $41,000
Scottsdale 2003 1005 1968 Plymouth GTX Coupe $25,000
BARRETT-JACKSON 2002 801 1968 Plymouth GTX Convertible $34,500
BARRETT-JACKSON 2001 985 1968 Plymouth GTX HEMI $29,500
BARRETT JACKSON 1996 140 1968 Plymouth GTX UNKNOWN $11,000

Notice the two Hemi GTXs in 2007 were hammered off in the 70 thousands. Basing off of those and considering the cost of the new engine and installation costs and then taking into account that the car definitely would not then be numbers matching, it would knock the price down a bit from these as both of these cars were driven up on stage and in working order.

Ok, so take those hammer prices and factor in the needed work to this GTX and factor in a year has passed, but I'd still say about $50,000 should be tops at a Barrett-Jackson event. However, this car wouldn't have made it on the stage at Barrett-Jackson if it didn't run.

Just after 12:30 on Saturday they started the bidding on the car. They started by asking for an opening bid of $200,000, but that quickly fell below $100,000 before somebody opened the bidding. But, it quickly cleared the $100,000 mark and continued to climb. It slowed a bit as it passed the $150,000 mark, but continued up to $175,000 where it stalled out and after quite a bit of checking for further bids, they dropped the proverbial hammer at $175,000. Overall, after the buyer premium and Gov. Edward G. Rendell's 6% PA sales tax, the final price came to $203,000 for a car that would need a tow truck to get to its new home.

I was a bit stunned at the rate the price was going up and at the final price. There's no way that the new owner will ever get their money back on the car, plus they still have to do the required restoration and engine replacement.
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