The History Channel is infamous for its larger than life reality TV shows, and one of its most successful creations is Pawn Stars, set in the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. This family business, run by Richard “Old Man” Harrison with his son, Rick, and Rick’s son, Corey, is open 24 hours-a-day, allowing patrons to come in at any time to pawn their possessions for cash.
The show focuses on some of the more unusual items which are brought into the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, including many which have an interesting or colorful past, or which were once owned by celebrities. Some of the most expensive items ever featured on the show include an outfit, which Rick had to reject when the owner wanted $3 million for his antique ensemble, and a 2001 Super Bowl Ring won by the New England Patriots’ Brock Williams.
Customers often brought in vintage vehicles or cars with an interesting history that they want to sell to the Harrisons, who in turn consulted their own automotive expert Danny Koker, who went on to have his own spin-off show on the History Channel, Counting Cars. While cars often make for a great investment, the team at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop passed on some lucrative deals for various reasons – while also spending a small fortune on some vehicles that were way over-priced.
15 Should Not Have Turned Down - O.J. Simpson Ford Bronco
In 2017, one of the most infamous vehicles in the world made an appearance on Pawn Stars; the white Ford Bronco in which O.J Simpson made his high-speed escape from the Los Angeles Police Department when they were trying to arrest him in 1994. The Ford Bronco was then bought by Simpson’s former agent, Mike Gilbert, from Al Cowlings, who was behind the wheel of the vehicle during the 1994 chase.
Rick Harrison took a test drive in the famous SUV, but Gilbert’s asking price of $1.25 million, plus its connection with Simpson’s dark past, meant that the Pawn Stars team decided to pass on the deal.
14 Should Not Have Turned Down - 1941 M3 Scout Car
In Season Five, a potential customer rolled up to the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop with what looked like an amazing deal for the Pawn Stars team. He had a genuine 1941 M3 Scout Car that he wanted to sell, having spent $25,000 on carrying out repairs and renovations to bring it back to its original condition.
Unfortunately for the owner, Rick Harrison and his team soon realized that this 1941 vehicle was nothing of the sort, as it was merely a replica built on the chassis of a modern Dodge car – and it even had a Dodge steering wheel, which should have been a big clue to the seller!
13 Should Not Have Turned Down - Tupac Shakur BMW 750LI
Celebrity endorsements usually make for great deals, but like the O.J. Simpson Ford Bronco, there are vehicles that have such a dark history that even the Harrison family are unwilling to make a deal. In 2018, the owners of the Jaguar car in which rapper Tupac Shakur met his end appeared on Pawn Stars, looking to sell their collectible for $1 million.
However, Harrison not only felt that the price was far too high, but that it was macabre to make money out of such a tragic event, especially as the incident has never been solved. He showed remarkable restraint in passing on such a high-profile deal.
12 Should Not Have Turned Down - 1989 Batmobile replica
The Batmobile has been through dozens of different incarnations since its comic book debut in 1940. The most recent creation is more like a tank than those seen in the comics or in the 1960s TV show, but the Batmobile which was built for the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film took its inspiration from 1940s film noir, as well as the original Batman comics.
A Batman fan who had bought a replica of the 1989 Batmobile tried to sell it to the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, and though the deal wasn’t made, at least comic book fan and Pawn Stars team member Chumlee got to take a test drive.
11 Should Not Have Turned Down - Volkswagen 1969 Beach Bomb Hot Wheels Car
Perhaps one of the most unusual vehicles to make an appearance on Pawn Stars was a Hot Wheels pink 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb. These funky creations, only two of which were ever made, are worth around $100,000. What makes this particular vehicle so unusual is that it only about an inch in length.
Yes, the 1969 Volkswagen Beach Bomb which made an appearance on Pawn Stars in 2015, was actually a toy Hot Wheels car. Owner and toy car aficionado Johnny Jimenez wanted $100,000 for his collectors’ item, but Rick Harrison would only go as high as $70,000, putting an end to any possible sale.
10 Bought Anyway - 1987 Jaguar XJ6 Series III
Richard “Old Man” Harrison considered himself something of an auto aficionado, especially when it came to stylish vintage vehicles, and he often wouldn’t bother calling in the experts when a customer was trying to sell a car – even when he should have done! He took a liking to a 1987 Jaguar XJ6 Series III which a client was looking to sell, and made a deal without getting it checked over by an expert.
The Jaguar XJ6 may be a great looking car, but Jaguar vehicles of this vintage also had a poor reputation for reliability, and the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop ended up investing a lot of money to bring it up to scratch.
9 Bought Anyway - 1968 Ford Mustang GT
The 1968 Ford Mustang is a pretty impressive muscle car even without its starring role in one of the coolest movies of all time, Bullitt, in which Steve McQueen drives a Fastback model through the streets of San Francisco.
When a rusted and beat-up ’68 Mustang was brought to the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, Rick Harrison let his heart rule his head, calling it a “Steve McQueen machine”, even though it had nothing to do with the movie, and was one of the thousands of Ford Mustang models built in 1968. He overestimated its worth and had to spend a fortune fixing it up anyway.
8 Bought Anyway - DeLorean DMC-12
Another movie star car which made an appearance on Pawn Stars was the DeLorean DMC-12, the car which Doc Brown turned into a time machine in the Back to the Future trilogy. Again, the model which was brought into the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop was not from the movie, but at least DeLorean cars are rare than 1968 Ford Mustangs.
It is thought that around 8,500 of these cars were made, and they continue to be popular with collectors because of their place in popular culture, despite the fact that they are actually awkward and uncomfortable to drive.
7 Bought Anyway - 1971 Volkswagen Type 181
Better known by its nickname – “The Thing” – the Volkswagen Type 181 was one of the most unusual vehicular creations on the 1970s. This cheap set of wheels was not designed with comfort, speed or style in mind, and few vehicles have survived into the 21st century as the cars were plagued by serious problems with rust.
Which made Rick’s decision to agree on a deal for a 1971 Volkswagen Type 181 on an episode of Pawn Stars a bit confusing; until you find out that his first car was a 1973 VW Type 181, and it soon becomes clear that he was buying with his heart, not his head.
6 Bought Anyway - 1957 Chevrolet 150
The 1957 Chevrolet 150 featured on a special two-hour crossover episode in 2011. Called The Pick, The Pawn and The Polish the episode featured a 1957 Chevrolet 150 which had seen better days, and which was bought for $6,500 and then sold to Rick Harrison of Pawn Stars who was looking for just this make and model as a gift for his father.
Harrison then spent an astonishing $70,000 for the Restoration team to fix up the car, which made him zero profit – unless you count his dad’s appreciation for a special gift!
5 Bought Anyway - 1974 Lotus Europa
The best sports cars have always come from Europe, and the Lotus Europa was no exception. This compact but stylish model was in production between 1966 and 1975 and was enormously popular with motorists in its heyday. Hardly surprising, then, that the guys at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop found themselves drawn to a 1974 Lotus Europa which was up for sale for $13,000.
This may have seemed like a bargain to the Pawn Stars team, but they struggled to sell the Europa, even cutting its price to $12,000 a year later in a deal that would have seen them take a significant loss.
4 Bought Anyway - 1964 Austin-Healey Sprite BRG
Rick Harrison would probably rather forget all about the 2010 episode of Pawn Stars in which he was scammed into paying $5,000 for a 1964 Austin-Healey Sprite BRG that didn’t even run. The curious car may have looked the part, but alarm bells really should have started ringing when the owner couldn’t get the engine to turn over.
He claimed the battery must be dead, and Rick took him at face value, not even bothering to lift the hood and check if what the client was telling him was correct. $6,000 worth of repairs were needed just to get the car back on the road, making this tiny car one of their biggest mistakes.
3 Bought Anyway - 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Like the 1968 Ford Mustang, the team at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop found themselves drooling with automotive desire when a potential customer drove their 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 up to the front door. An absolute classic of the muscle car genre, this car was bought by Rick’s son Corey as a treat for himself – an example of the crazy spending habits which eventually forced Rick to cut Corey’s credit card in half.
The vehicle, which is valued at just $36,000, has been put on sale at various over-inflated prices over the years, but always fails to sell.
2 Bought Anyway - 1940s Indian Motorcycle
Owning a pawn shop requires a lot of storage space, and every now and then it seems like Rick Harrison decided that he needed to clear out a bunch of goods to make room for new deals. In one such episode, Harrison took a bunch of items to an auction in Los Angeles, where he made an overall profit of $100,000. However, that success masked some big losses, including a $29,000 loss on a vintage Indian motorcycle built in the 1940s.
These machines normally sell for a significant amount of money, so maybe Harrison was just unlucky that there were no motorcycle collectors in the auction room that day.
1 Bought Anyway - 2014 Ford Mustang Hertz Penske GT
The Pawn Stars boys weren’t just interested in buying vintage muscle cars; they also splashed the cash on a special edition 2014 Ford Penske Mustang GT which had been upgraded and customized by Hertz.
They paid $60,000 for the limited edition vehicle which wasn’t a terrible deal – just a case of bad timing. Only a few months after Rick Harrison bought the car, Ford launched the new sixth-generation Mustang, which meant that collectors only had eyes for the new and improved vehicle. Suddenly, $60,000 seemed like a lot of money, and the team struggled to make their money back on this deal.
Sources - Counts Kustoms, Vlad TV, History, Direct Expose, Looper