Home » The Cheapest Vehicles Up For Auction At Monterey Car Week Are Also Some Of The Coolest

The Cheapest Vehicles Up For Auction At Monterey Car Week Are Also Some Of The Coolest

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Monterey Car Week is nearly upon us, a festival of internal combustion and opulence as impressive as you could imagine. It’s a place where the latest and greatest supercars rub shoulders with historic automotive greats, and where some seriously pricey metal changes hands. However, you don’t have to be on any Forbes list to buy something at Car Week. Some of the purportedly cheapest cars and bikes being auctioned off during Monterey Car Week are also some of the weirdest, and we are 100 percent here for them. Shall we dig in?

1948 Ducati Cucciolo T2 Turismo

Ducati Cucciolo

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Estimated value: $8,000 to $12,000

It shouldn’t be surprising that a bike is the cheapest vehicle on any of the fancy-pants auctions’ run lists, and this popular Ducati moped is certainly a weird one. The Cucciolo was an engine kit made to help mobilize post-war Italy, and it was arguably the genesis of modern-day Ducati. See, before the war, Ducati was a radio equipment company, which is about as far from a motorcycle manufacturer as you can get. However, after the war, Ducati was looking to pivot and was given an unlikely opportunity by Italian automaker Siata.

Siata had a little 48cc engine that could be attached to a bicycle, and demand was outstripping supply. The firm needed a manufacturing partner fast, and that partner ended up being Ducati. From the Cucciolo engine, a motorcycle empire was born, and the rest is history. Now, is a possibly five-figure moped an expensive purchase? Sure, but it’s also an undeniable part of history.

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19-Something-Or-Other [REDACTED]

Ai Interior

Estimated value: More than $0.75

[Editor’s Note: I asked Thomas to remove a car because our boss may or may not want to bid on it, and it’s best to keep that on the DL so he has the best chance of winning it. That way we get to drive it, and create sweet, sweet Autopian content. -DT].  

Don’t worry, there was supposed to be an actual car in this section of the article, but, uhh, my boss kinda wants it, so it’s something to keep on the down-low, even if it’s totally something you can find. Still, we must press on, so here’s everything I can tell you about this fine machine. This is indisputably one of the cars of all time. Powered by an engine of some capacity, driving at least one wheel, it’s a vehicle for leaving one place and arriving somewhere else. Built in a country that probably still exists out of man-made materials, it’s truly a way to get around.

Oldsmobile Acheiva

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It comes comprehensively equipped with standard amenities including upholstery, a steering wheel, a dashboard, and air inside the cabin. It’s a car that will astonish onlookers, as their brains collectively form one uniform thought: “That is certainly a mode of transportation.” It exited production in the same way that it entered production — entirely in the previous century. I can say with utmost certainty that it isn’t a 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva, for nothing is a 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva other than the 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva. You are now thinking about the 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva. How does that feel?

1986 Rolls-Royce Camargue Coupe

Rolls-Royce Camargue 1

Estimated value: $40,000 to $60,000

Alright, we’re moving on up from new well-specced RAV4 money to new well-specced Kia Telluride money for this one, but that’s not horrible considering what you’re getting. Thanks to the likes of Tyler, the Creator, the underloved Rolls-Royce Camargue is finally getting some of the appreciation it deserves, and a handbuilt Rolls-Royce coupe for new Korean family hauler money is still a bit of a bargain. Styled by Paolo Martin at Pininfarina, the Camargue was a more modern sort of Rolls-Royce primed for the ’70s. Unfortunately, the Grey Poupon and Saville Row set that typically bought Rolls-Royces balked so hard at the squared-off styling that production was barely more than a trickle. Rolls-Royce made just 531 of these flagship coupes over an eleven-year production run, with this being one of the last. Now that’s rarity.

Rolls Royce Camargue Interior

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However, rarity alone doesn’t make a car desirable, for undesirability is rarely a redeeming quality. So, let’s start with the biggie — presence. The Camargue is a monolith, it moves with the stealth and discreetness of an airstrike. It’s a car for arrivals and departures, for everyone will notice it coming and everyone will see it leaving. What’s more, there’s nothing wedding about it, which can’t be said for a Silver Spirit. It drips with money and power like sweat from an ironworker’s brow, but it does so without being vulgar. It’s a crisp wind of reality, echoing the high-grade interior appointments. The wood is real wood, the leather is real leather, the metal is real metal. You could lose a small dog in the deep-pile carpet, and bring friends in comfort in the enormous rear seat. The Camargue is a Rolls through-and-through, but it’s completely devoid of cliché. To get all this for new three-row crossover money, well, that has to be some sort of steal, even if this one has a saggy bum.

1972 Citroen ID20 Break

Citroen Id20 Break 1

Estimated value: $30,000 to $40,000

Okay, now here’s a real use of new mid-range crossover money. Why ferry your family around in the same competent anonymity as pretty much everyone buying new cars these days, when you can glide on an oleopneumatic cushion? Other than the obvious issues of reliability, safety, parts availability, and all that left-brain stuff, of course. The Citroen ID20 Break is magnificent, an updated version of the Robert Opron-massaged Series 3 model fit for the 1970s with its five-bearing two-liter engine.

Citroen Id20 Break 2

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Even though the ID was a lower-spec DS variant, it was still heavy on the tech, style, and comfort. Ride quality is surreal in a true magic carpet sense, cargo room is enormous, the oleopneumatic suspension is one hell of a party trick, and the coachwork still looks futuristic all these decades on. Plus, with 90 horsepower on tap, the ID20 should still be usable in modern traffic. How good is that?

1992 Autozam AZ-1

Autozam Az1 Auction 1

Estimated Value: $30,000 to $40,000

Looking like a pocket-sized supercar, the Autozam AZ-1 — don’t you call it a Mazda — embodies the Japanese bubble era more than any other kei car. Here was a city-sized tax break special with gullwing doors, a mid-engined layout, and less cargo space than a bicycle. It’s a driveable meringue: Light, largely devoid of nutritional value, yet oh so sweet. Who wouldn’t want stellar fuel economy and doors that go up?

Autozam Az1 Auction 2

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This particular Autozam AZ-1 sports an incredibly low 58,301 kilometers (36,227 miles) on its odometer and comes sporting a series of aftermarket upgrades. The white Volk TE37 alloy wheels look fabulous, while larger anti-roll bars and an aftermarket exhaust system ought to up the sportiness of this tiny delight. Sure, it’s expensive for something that’s somehow less practical than a Lotus Elise, and it failed to sell on Bring A Trailer in 2021 with a high bid of $20,000, but it’s now up for grabs with no reserve, so we’ll just have to see where it hammers at.

So, which of these four unusual machines is your favorite? I think I’d have to go for the Citroen, only because my love for oleopneumatic French cruisers is deep-seated and almost lifelong. Every so often, a CX and an SM would appear in my childhood neighborhood, and I’d stand hands-in-pockets, marveling at these magnificent pieces of engineering. They felt like alien objects from a future that never panned out, living proof that a more interesting roadscape was possible. Why would anyone have bought a Buick Park Avenue or Cadillac Eldorado over these things? Sure, old GM boats can be fixed with shoelaces and a hammer, but I’m too much of a heart-on-sleeve, relentless, beaming optimist about interesting cars that I’d have made it work. However, maybe you want the complete opposite of a Panigale V4, a little slice of Gran Turismo nostalgia, or something completely different, and that’s totally cool, for there are no bad picks in this bunch. The heart wants what the heart wants, right?

(Photo credits: Gooding & Co., Bonhams, Broad Arrow Auctions)

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Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
9 months ago

Well good luck on Beau getting that car. Just for this i will be there bidding on anything he does and can bid confidently on all cars up to $3.50. Yeah like we Autopians have even cheap Pebble Beach money. Where cheap is $8,000 mopeds. I like the Citroën, but i bet a sedan fits the look better. But love a wagon but the only thing that 2.0 is hauling is the open space in the car.

Slow Car Enthusiast
Slow Car Enthusiast
9 months ago

I looked up the car that you left out and I respect that decision because I really want Beau to buy it so that you all can review it.
I think that in general you all under-utilize Beau’s awesome car collection; it would be great if Torch did a few episodes of Torch Drives with some of the weird cars he has.

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
9 months ago

I know I should go for the Citroen out of French Pride… but that Kei car is so awesome, in my mind that for once I’ll go Japanese…
And anyway I’m fond of Kei cars, because Japan found an answer to car size & weight inflation decades ago and stuck to it… Kei cars should rule the world in urban areas, not SUVs.

Vanillasludge
Vanillasludge
9 months ago

The hassle of pronouncing Camargargrouuge to everyone makes it a no for me.

Guillaume Maurice
Guillaume Maurice
9 months ago
Reply to  Vanillasludge

well Camargue is a swampy area in the Rhone Delta… It probably sounded foreign enough for Americans of that time… but since the area is riddled with flamigoes, bulls ( of the kind that ends up in bull fight ), mosquitoes, and a large sea salt factory and swamps…

the only important thing there is Aigues Mortes ( dead waters in old French ) where a crusade shipped out of and it’s UNESCO heritage walls and walled city.

And for a Redneck to get it right I’d say pronounce it : Ka Mar Gue
( ok, for me it’s easy, I’m French, and it’s a French location… so there’s no difficulty )

Taxi maniac
Taxi maniac
9 months ago

how have i never seen an autozam z1 ever before!

1500 lbs 64 hp. Made by mazda, suzuiki engine. A couple thousand made and sold in japan in the early 90s

I’d like to read about DT driving this car on tour around the world.

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
9 months ago

Now you owe us a full write up of the removed car after the auction!

BentleyBoy
BentleyBoy
9 months ago

That large sucking sound you hear is the money leaving your bank account as you get the Camargue’s hydraulics repaired. Lovely interior though……

Ricki
Ricki
9 months ago

The interior of that Rolls is gorgeous. Gorgeous. That’s the sort of shit that makes my innards all fluttery. The exterior is super nice, but that piping. That wood trim. All of it together! Wowza.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
9 months ago

I feel like an AZ-1 would make an awesome commuter. And I never understood why the Camargue was so hated in the first place.

LTDScott
LTDScott
9 months ago

I’ve always been fascinated with the Camargue. Even had a 1/24 scale Bburago model of one as a kid. I’d probably pick one of these over any other Rolls.

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
9 months ago

Well, since the country of origin still exists, I think we can rule out the mystery car being a Yugo, Trabant, Wartburg, a pre-1991 Lada, or anything brass era from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It’s a shame really, I was thinking one of you might eventually pick up a Laurin & Klement.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
9 months ago

Ducati also made cameras which I always wanted to add to my collection.

https://cameraquest.com/ducati.htm

Black Peter
Black Peter
9 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

TIL

Jeff Homolka
Jeff Homolka
9 months ago

“oleopneumatic suspension” sounds like… whipped margarine shocks? The French would never stoop so low. They must use real butter.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Homolka

The Citroen would be worth it just to be able to wear the “Ask me about my oleopneumatic balls!” tee-shirt.

I kind of like the French in name only Camargue, except that it is sort of a statement car and I think that it’s not quite old enough for the statement to have transitioned from vulgar display to ironic commentary on late capitalism or whatever. Maybe a John Lennon paint job would make it better , or maybe worse. It certainly looks better now than it did new.

Last edited 9 months ago by Hugh Crawford
Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
9 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

You could always put fat slot mags and a through-the-hood blower on it?

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

That ID20 is great. Take much of your write-up today on the Ioniq 6, especially the passages about the ride, and you could drop in ID20 and it would all still be valid. Gimme a Break!

Last edited 9 months ago by Canopysaurus
Tim Connors
Tim Connors
9 months ago

I could absolutely see DT randomly listing after a random variant of the Achieva.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
9 months ago
Reply to  Tim Connors

If David were interested in an Olds Achieva, then I too imagine he would be listing. From side-to-side like a cargo ship with an unbalanced load in the middle of a cat 5 hurricane. Because he would be drunker than he has ever been in his life.

Last edited 9 months ago by MaximillianMeen
Nic Periton
Nic Periton
9 months ago

The Camargue is a Rolls through-and-through, except for the Citroen/Lockheed bits which are busted, that is why it has a soggy bum.
Find a Fiat 130 coupe instead.

LaythU-K
LaythU-K
9 months ago
Reply to  Nic Periton

The 130 is probably the most handsome Fiat ever, that and its shooting brake concept counterpart

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
9 months ago

If it’s an Achieva SCX then wonderful!

Otherwise they are all under-Achievas…

Thom Mollen
Thom Mollen
9 months ago

Dammit, just spewed a respectable mouthful of an exquisite martini on my iPad you magnificent bastard

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
9 months ago

The Achieva SCX is the ova achieva. Base models are the unda achievas.

Thus sayeth Car and Driver in the 90’s.

Mike Harrell
Mike Harrell
9 months ago

“You are now thinking about the 1992 Oldsmobile Acheiva. How does that feel?”

It’s a little bit painful, inasmuch as the correct spelling is Achieva.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
9 months ago

Definitely the 1992 Oldsmobile Achieva. Or the Autozam.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
9 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

The front clip on that thing reminds me of a Bristol somewhat.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
9 months ago

I would like DS prices to stop increasing so rapidly, please

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