Hoopde for sale. Starting price - $500. Winning bid - $226,521.


I love stories like this. It gives me hope that one day, something “worthless” sitting in my garage will instantly fill up my daughters’ college funds. In this case, the seemingly worthless item was a rusty bucket of bolts called a 1963 Pontiac Le Mans Tempest. When I saw the pictures, I was surprised at the high starting bid of $500. Imagine how the owner felt when it netted him almost a quarter of a million dollars.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Urban Dictionary describes a hoopde (or hoopdie) as: A busted up car, usually very rusty, dented, with broken headlights, bumpers and/or doors; any junk car that can be obtained for less then $1000. And as you can see by the pictures below, this one certainly fulfills all of those criteria. It has no motor, the bodywork is mostly rust and the trunk doesn’t even open. What would you pay for it?

However, as Autoblog recently reported, this was no ordinary car.

The car's Plexiglas windows, unusual suspension setup and a dash plate bearing the name of a racetrack tipped the owner to its racing history. But what he didn't know is that the car is one of only six 1963 Pontiac LeMans Tempest Super Duty coupes ever made. Hemmings recently did a story on the rare cars in which they listed all ever built. This one looks to have been driven by Stan Antlocer and was the fastest drag car in 1963 before disappearing.

Over the nine days the car was up on eBay, things went from good to great to unbelievable. Clearly this was something way beyond the expectations of the owner. It’s reported that he was offered a buy-it-now offer of $160,000, but turned it down because of, get this, fears of negative feedback! Would you care for that kind of money?

With only seven minutes until the close of the auction, the tally stood at $95k. But when it was all over, the grand total was a whopping $226,521. That’s over $66k more than the firm offer he had turned down. In this economy, that kind of windfall is something of a dream come true.

Stories like this are rare, but they do happen. And that means we all need to be studious before we have a garage sale or sell something on eBay or Craigslist. Personally, if I had inherited that crappy looking car, I would have been overjoyed with $1000 for it. More fool me. But we may all have hidden treasures right under our noses.

Take that old, dusty painting stuck in the back of the closet or basement. Most of us have one, sometimes handed down by an aging relative that we took graciously so as not to hurt their feelings. It is most likely just an old painting. But it may be a masterpiece, as The Antiques Roadshow has so often highlighted .


And an old weaving...


Old watches, ornaments, papers, books, you name it, sometimes there really is a treasure in the trash. So look, think and maybe do a little research. If you’re not sure of an item’s value, check it out. A little of your time could turn into a whole lot of money.


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Guest's picture

My granddad used to collect clocks and fix the exteriors of them, and then several years ago my dad took up the craft and started fixing the interiors, using original parts.

When my granddad passed away, we inherited all the clocks in his house, which brought my parent's total to something like 70 clocks! One day not too long after, I made a comment to my dad about how we were tripping over them and should sell some on eBay, and he just looked at me and laughed. He then took me on a trip around the house, pointing out which ones were valuable, etc. Very eye opening!

But even better than that is how my dad won't get rid of any of 'em because they're a link to his father.

Guest's picture

Wow! A quarter million dollars?! I could only wish for a fraction of that. I briefly ran a consignment business through eBay. The things that people kept hidden in their attic or garage were amazing. I didn't feel like I was doing them justice by posting them for a profit, but hey I would can that moral setback for that much money.


Guest's picture

ha! and i was psyched when an old dusty sidetable in my garage that i'd gotten for free turned out to be a 70s era Knoll and netted me almost $400 on ebay as-is. i think the dealer that bought it refinished it and turned it around for like $900.

Guest's picture

Reminds me of the story about that one guy who traded a paperclip for a pencil, the pencil for pen, the pen for a roll of tape, the tape for a stapler....etc. and ended up with a house years later.

Guest's picture

Very nice story. Its fun to make life into a treasure hunt every once in a while.

Guest's picture

I've found things of more modest value at our local thrift store before they made an "arrangement" with a dealer. It's fun to look. A tramp art frame for a quarter, sold to a dealer for $35 and a bohemian art deco glass vase for $4 sold at auction for $65. Old stuff is neat to look at too, and enjoy at home. Something about not paying a bundle for it makes it more enjoyable.

Guest's picture

I read about this car somewhere else on the internet and thought that was interesting; what I liked about this post was the two video links you added about the to antique road shows. The latter of the two you could see the old man was very choked up and you can sympathize with that because he was very proud of his family for keeping such an amazing piece of artwork/textile in the family.

Guest's picture

What a terrific stroke of luck! Glad it turned out so well for the seller.