Every so often, something sells on an online auction platform for a price that makes your jaw drop so hard, seismologists detect it. This is one of those times. A coin-operated amusement ride for small children just sold on Bring A Trailer for more than what my actual BMW 325i is worth, and I’m flabbergasted.
This is an Amutec Dune Buggy Racer, the sort of thing you’d find in a dead shopping mall. It was made in England to pry quarters from parents, and the listing claims it will give a 50-second simulated ride for just 25 cents. Unsurprisingly, considering this thing was built to take years of use and abuse, it’s in outstanding shape, with gleaming yellow paint, simulated velocity stacks, and a roll bar that appears to be made out of conduit. Sure, the spoiler and the base sport some patina, but what old and well-used amusement apparatus doesn’t see some wear and tear?
Still, $5,400 seems like an insane price to pay for something that operates like a motorized rocking horse while playing simulated combustion noises from a single speaker. I mean, I’m sure it seemed great before we were tall enough to go karting, but it seems insane that this thing sold for more than the value of my actual car. Plus, where do you even find something like this?
For what it’s worth, I don’t drive a complete shitbox, partly because it didn’t come with a complete factory toolkit and partly because my 2006 BMW 325i is actually a pretty nice car. Sure, it may have 287,000 kilometers on the clock and a little rust bubble on the hood, but it’s a three-liter rear-wheel-drive manual sports sedan with plenty of functioning luxury tech. I’m talking 14 speakers fed by a Class D amplifier, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated seats, self-leveling xenon headlamps, power-adjustable front seat bolsters, a heated and cooled cupholder, and automatic power windows in all four doors. Sure, it needs a brake fluid flush soon, but that’s just routine maintenance. It’s a fully functional car that’s worth less than a children’s ride.
Intriguingly, this auction was slow at first, but then two bidders really got into it. In the last hour of bidding, the top bid climbed from $700 to the $5,400 hammer price, proving the old adage that auctions get really interesting right at the very end. So, what could you do with a $5,400 coin-operated children’s ride? Well, you could place it somewhere and see if it could pay for itself.
Jason thinks, and I quote, “You’ll make that money back so fast,” but I’m not entirely sure. At its current rate of $0.25 cents a ride, assuming zero operating costs and free electricity generated by magical opossums or something, it would take 21,600 rides to just break even on buying the thing. Mind you, it doesn’t seem like the ride’s new owner is particularly interested in that. The winning bidder commented “MY GRANDSON WILL THANK YOU” in all-caps, meaning that they are about to become the coolest grandparent of the year.
Still, $5,400 seems like an absurd amount of money for something like this, especially when you can buy a coin-operated ride-on car for less than $1,000 on eBay. Oh well, at least one kid should be getting an incredibly cool toy that will eventually be a rather intriguing piece of garage art.
(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)
Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.