Selling off the Heritage Collection

Selling off the Heritage Collection

General Motors is cleaning out the attic to sell some stuff at the auction house to raise some much needed cash.

Around 250 vehicles from GM's "Heritage Collection," will be auctioned by Barrett-Jackson, with the first lots going on Jan. 13 in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the second hitting the block in April in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Don't think that GM is parting with the family jewels to pay the mortgage. Though insiders can't recall such a big chunk of the collection being sold at once, 25% of the total, most of the vehicles are special show cars and one-offs that GM snapped together for the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Assn. (SEMA) shows over the years, as well as some classic production cars that were duplicates of models GM still has.

Of interest to some bargain-hunting curiosity seekers, too, are some examples of GM design failures. As one GM executive told me off the record, "These are mostly cars that current management [probably product boss Bob Lutz and design chief Ed Welburn] don't much care for."

The real family jewels aren't going anywhere, even if one, like the first off-the-line 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado or 1938 Buick Y-Job, might bring as much cash as 10 or 20 of the cars being sold off.

GM Heritage Collection spokesman Greg Wallace says it's more a "thinning of the warehouse." He says it costs the company roughly $2,000 a year per car to maintain, store, and transport each vehicle. And with GM designs getting better and better under Lutz and Welburn, the company wants to make room for some of the new family gems, like the 2008 Chevy Mailbu and 2010 Chevy Camaro.

Here is a smattering of the some off the cars being sold, with estimated prices and provenance.

Business Exchange related topics:
U.S. Automakers
U.S. Economic History
Auction Business