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The "Last Eclipse" Earns $35k For Japanese Red Cross At Auction

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On: Mon, Sep 19, 2011 at 2:40PM | By: Andrew W Davis

The "Last Eclipse" Earns $35k For Japanese Red Cross At Auction

This wasn’t the only Mitsubishi Mecum Auctions offered in last weekend’s St. Charles sale, though neither T278 (a one-owner red-and-black 1987 Starion bid to $4,500) nor F5/F308 (a white-over-black ’98 300GT SL 5-speed bid to $1,250 then sold at $3,500) were—to my knowledge—sold to benefit any charity.

Listed as Lot S100, this "one-of-a-kind 2012 Eclipse Coupe SE—the very last production Eclipse that rolled off of the assembly line at the company's manufacturing plant in Normal, Illinois"—was auctioned on Saturday at no reserve (that means the high bid “wins” no matter what it is) to benefit the Japanese Red Cross. When the gavel fell it had garnered a top bid of—and, therefore, sold for—$35,000.

I’m sure the charity would have appreciated any amount, but it bears noting that this “Last Eclipse” didn’t sell for much more than the car would get if it was parked on a dealer’s lot. Why? Here’s what I think…

Mecum’s auction listing spells it out like this:

Lot S100[No Reserve]: “2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse SE; Proceeds to benefit the Japan Red Cross”

“In more than 22 years and 4 generations, Mitsubishi established the Eclipse as the best-selling Japanese sports car of the era, with sales of 980,000 cars. Built in August 2011, this Kalapana Black 2012 Eclipse is the last one to roll off the assembly line. In an historic first, its color was chosen by members of Mitsubishi’s Facebook community, who picked from a historical Eclipse color palette. It is the only Eclipse equipped with both the 3.8L/265 HP V-6 engine and the commemorative SE package, which includes special 18-inch Dark Argent alloy wheels and unique graphics. It is also optioned with a sunroof, leather interior, 650W Rockford Fosgate 9-speaker audio system with Sirius XM, hands free Bluetooth phone interface, rear view camera and HID headlights. Proceeds from the sale of this unique 2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse SE will go to the Japanese Red Cross to aid victims of the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami.”

One never knows what a car being sold for charity will pull down at auction. I felt, therefore, it was best to wait and see the car’s selling price before I said anything, so as to avoid looking foolish in retrospect.

Well, after all was said and done, this “last” Eclipse pretty much went for the same price you’d find at a dealership for the same car, only here they didn't offer any retail “incentives” or the like.

“But wait a minute,” you say. “This is a special car customized by Mitsubishi itself. It’s the only “SE”-equipped “GT” that has ever existed. Certainly it’s one-of-a-kind.”

Well, yes and no.

The “SE” trim level differs from any other mainly in having a “Dark Argent Finish” on its alloy wheels (rather than just polished), an “SE exterior side decal” and black exterior mirror housings (vs. body-color).

The “GT,” on the other hand, includes serious equipment not available on any other Eclipse, including a five- (rather than four-) speed “Sportonic” automatic transmission, Automatic Climate Control and—naturally—the 265 horsepower 3.8-liter V6 in place of a 162 hp 2.4-liter four-banger.

See the difference? You can't "GT" an "SE", but buy a black 2012 Eclipse GT coupe and head to the parts department—or Craigslist or eBay—and buy the SE-specific wheels and side stickers and viola! you’ve basically created this car all by your lonesome.

[You could also “build” this car in any of the available Eclipse colors—“Sunset Pearlescent” (orange) is my favorite—though it would mean you’d have to pay extra for the black mirror housings.]

Price-wise, if you started with a “stock” GT’s $30,203 MSRP, added the cost of the stickers and (hopefully) were able to just trade-out the wheels, you’re looking at around $32k—max—or three grand less than the gavel price this “last” Eclipse.

It would seem, then, that neither this car’s “specialness” nor its being sold for charity were enough to coax the big bucks out of anyone in the audience. I know no Mistubishi Eclipse is really a collector’s item, and the new ones are neither rare nor all that hard to get, but there was almost no charity “bump” here.

Perhaps if they did more to REALLY set this car apart from its production counterparts it would have attracted at least a few additional bids. Forget Facebook; how about a REALLY wild color? A special body kit? A “chip” or similar performance-adder? ANYTHING would have helped elicit more crowd enthusiasm—and, therefore, bids—than this.

Still, the buyer can be secure in the knowledge that they got a retail deal on a unique—circumstantially, anyway—Japanese performance car, with the bonus that the proceeds of the sale went to charity thrown in for free.

After all, what have YOU done (for charity) lately?...

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AutoHistory | 6:20PM (Mon, Sep 19, 2011)

Mecum is a pretty good venue for market value, but probably not the best venue for charity. That's why we have Pebble Beach and Amelia Island.

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