Unique cars: When is $1million just too much?

Would you be prepared to pay $1 million for a car with a Toyota or a Volkswagen badge? While your initial answer might be ‘no way’ perhaps it’s something to think about as both a Toyota and a Volkswagen have recently been up for sale for just that kind of money. In fact, in the Toyota’ case, twice that kind of money…

25 times the price

The new Toyota Supra is a car for which we’ve been waiting for almost 20 years, since the old A80 version went out of production. The new A90 Supra, sharing its chassis and engine with BMW, is a remarkable car — fast, fun, fleet — and at an €85,000 it’s certainly not cheap. So what would possess someone to pay $2.1million for one?

The car in question was not quite an ordinary A90 Supra. As the first production car, it carries the VIN code 20201 — year 2020, production number 1. With no mechanical or bodywork changes, it’s otherwise a standard Supra. Well, standard that is aside from the fact that the engine bay has been autographed by car-mad Toyota boss Akio Toyoda, who also threw in the racing overalls and crash helmet he used when track-testing the car for productions sign-off.

Supra 20201 also came with a distinctive matte-grey paint finish, with bright red door mirror caps, matte-black wheels, and a cabin swathed in red leather and carbon-fibre.

Charitable auction

It also wasn’t being sold off a dealer forecourt but instead was being sold by famed US auctioneers Barratt-Jackson, as part of a big night for charitable sales. Alongside the $2.1-million raised for American Heart Association (AHA) and the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF — a charity that cares for those who’ve served in the armed forces) by the Supra, Barrat-Jackson raised a total of $9 million on the night, with sales of the first model of the new Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, ‘Bumblebee’ Chevrolet Camaros used in the Transformers film saga, and a Ford GT painted in heritage Gulf Le Mans colours.

“When Toyota launches a vehicle of this caliber, you only get one chance to do it right – and this auction was the perfect setting” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales, Toyota Motor North America “After 20 years, this marks the return of a legend. Sports car enthusiasts have been dreaming to slide behind the wheel of an all-new Supra – and we’re happy to be a part of turning that dream into a reality.”

The humble Beetle

It’s not the only car from a mass-market brand to wear a seven-figure price tag, though. How does the thought of a USD$1-million Volkswagen Beetle grab you? The car in question is a staggeringly original 1964 VW Beetle, whose odometer records just 23 miles, and it’s up for sale at a Mercedes specialist dealer in Portland, Oregon with a price tag of $1 million.

The Beetle was bought new by a gentleman named Rudi Zvarich in 1964. According to classic car expert Mike Spicer, who has featured the car on his Collector Car Profile website, Zvarich owned a 1957 Beetle, but didn’t like the sound of the modifications that Volkswagen had planned for 1965 model year cars. So, he bought a new ’64 model to keep and use it as a replacement when his existing car came to the end of its service life.

Kept as a replacement

Which never, apparently, happened. Zvarich bought the Beetle from Riviera Motors in Beaverton, Oregon and kept it, very carefully, in a garage for the next several years. And kept it. And kept it. And, yep, kept it. According to Hemmings News, the car “has never seen daylight until now” and has never been registered. The original dealer sticker is still in the window, and even items such as the windscreen wipers and hubcaps have never been fitted — they’re still in their boxes, awaiting a pre-delivery inspection that never happened.

Apparently, Zvarich decided at some point that he just never needed to press the car into service, and decided to keep it as his own, perfect, personal, museum piece. Mr Zvarich passed away in 2014, and his nephew inherited the car. As Spicer puts it: “We may never see another one like it.”

Return on Investment

In 1964, Beetle prices ranged from $1,600 to $2,100. So this car has, if it sells for the asking price, depreciated by +62,400%. Can a humble Beetle, however original, really be worth that? Well, if a Supra can be worth $2.1-million…