Doane Yawger: Consignment shops offer rare opportunities

June 2, 2012 

Doane Yawger, Sun-Star reporter

MERCED SUN-STAR

There are several different ways to see old cars these days.

Formal indoor and outdoor shows, less-formal cruise nights, car club visits, retirement homes, convalescent hospitals or auto museums all offer significant exposure to collector vehicles.

Here's one that's potentially expensive but would fit the bill as well.

Over Memorial Day weekend, I explored another way to see lots of primo vehicles assembled in one spot: consignment sales offices in Pleasanton and Dublin, along with an unusual used car lot in San Jose.

The consignment cars are indoors and can be viewed throughout the year when the weather is less appealing but the used cars have to battle the elements.

The East Bay is a veritable treasure trove of collector cars, but they ain't cheap. The cheapest vehicle I saw was close to $15,000 and a few were well over six figures.

Enthusiasts are free to roam these establishments with little or no interference and no one knows if you're only going to shell out a dollar for a soda pop or spend 50 grand for a vintage muscle car. It's a great way to spend a half hour or even longer gawking at awesome cars and trucks looking their Sunday best.

What stood out among hundreds of old cars and trucks?

A white 1962 Cadillac Sedan de Ville with a red interior for $20,000 and a 1955 Chevrolet 210 two-door sedan gone a little beyond plain Jane with a white-over-green paint job, big whitewall tires and a $22,990 price tag.

Another eye-catcher was a pale-yellow 1951 Chevrolet Deluxe convertible with a tan interior; That's where the 50 grand burning a hole in your pocket would come in handy.

Both Pleasanton and Dublin consignment showrooms had bumper crops of Corvettes and Mustangs, which obviously remain very collectible. But the highest price items seem to be late 1960s Camaros. A 1969 Camaro RS was selling for $119,995 and an orange 1958 Corvette roadster with a more modern drivetrain had a staggering $159,995 sticker.

Among the mainstream vehicles were a few oddities.

These included an early 1950s Chevrolet vegetable truck suitable for home deliveries and a 1965 Shelby Cobra roadster marked at $129,995, along with a 1967 Chevrolet convertible for a more modest $30,000 price.

In less formal surroundings along San Carlos Avenue in San Jose is a small used car lot, with six to 10 Chevrolet Corvairs, including a 1962 two-door coupe and an early 1960s Corvair station wagon. A number of 1965-69 Corvair hardtops were also available. A jet-black 1940s Dodge two-door fastback looked fairly respectable and had a $13,000 pricetag.

This lot always is worth stopping by to spot some gems among the more common used cars.

Car consignment places are a great place to spend a free afternoon, whether you only buy a Coca-Cola or pop for something much more expensive.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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