$2 million for a car you can't drive – there's a concept
By Bob Jennings
The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday June 21 2002
Ford's huge sell-off of concept cars – vehicles that cannot be registered and some that can't be driven – netted $7.8 million in three hours this week. The top price was almost $2 million.
The response to Ford Motor Co's auction of 51 concepts exceeded expectations, with all lots fetching more than tipped – many brought more than double the predicted prices.
Topping the list was the 1992 Ghia Focus concept (above), which had been expected to bring $180,000-$360,000. Bidding went through the roof and it was knocked down for $1,983,000.
The auction was conducted by Christie's at Ford's product development centre in Dearborn, Michigan, on the 99th anniversary of the company's founding. The proceeds will go to charities supported by Ford.
Ford's vice-president of design, J Mays, said many buyers had plans to update or restore the vehicles, giving them a second life by showing them in museums and at special automotive displays.
The concepts were created in secret in design studios in North America and Europe over the past four decades. Some inspired productions models, while others were one-of-a-kind exhibits used at motor shows to gauge public reaction to design ideas.
Mays said: "We're pleased that these concepts have gone to people who love them as much as we do, and won't fade into oblivion in dusty warehouses or meet the crusher as many concepts do."
More than 100 bidders participated, some by phone, but in line with auction policy their names will not be revealed.
The auctioneers were "astounded" by some of the prices. The 1997 Mercury MC4 concept brought $1,156,000 and third highest price was $880,000 for the 1992 Mustang Mach III concept.
Built by Ghia and powered by 300 kW V12, the luxurious Lagonda Vignale – star of the 1994 Turin motor show – was expected to raise $200,000. It went for $722,400.
The stunning Ghia Saetta from the 1996 Turin show set the style for the quirky Ford Ka. Tipped to fetch $55,000, it realised $105,000.
The Indigo two-seater (below), briefly seen in Australia, sold for $158,000.
Among the modest yields, the 1980s Ghia Mini Max concept was knocked down for $9500 and the 1989 Ghia Saguaro, $11,600.
Concepts under the hammer
1992 Ghia Focus – $1,983,000
1997 Mercury MC4 – $1,156,000
1992 Mustang Mach III – $880,000
1993 Lagonda Vignale – $722,000
1999 Ford Thunderbird – $105,000
1996 Ford Indigo with interior – $158,000
1962 Ghia Selene II concept – $158,000
2000 Ford Desert Excursion – $126,000
1988 Ford Splash – $126,000
2000 Ford Mustang Bullitt – $122,000