Mecum goes big, again, in Kissimmee

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Phil Skinner and Bill Samuelson reporting

When Dana Mecum sets his mind to being the biggest, he doesn’t come up short, and thanks to a crew of nearly 250 employees and a lot of volunteers, Kissimmee 2014 delivered on nearly all of its promises. It equaled the 2013 mark of holding an auction for 10 days straight, and the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla., was overflowing over both weekends of the sale. The event offered more cars at one auction than we will see anywhere else this season. There were also celebrities, record-setting prices, and when it was all over, a troop of exhausted workers with some of them actually looking forward to heading back to their headquarters in Walworth, Wis.

Starting on Friday, Jan. 17, and continuing through to Sunday, Jan. 26, the auction ran at a feverish pace, with up to 35 cars per hour with at least one segment clocked at 40 cars crossing under the auctioneer’s gavel in one hour. On Monday, Jan. 20, nearly 1,000 lots of “Road Art” memorabilia including everything from giant neon signs to tool kits, speed equipment, gas pumps and other items related to motoring, were offered at the same rapid pace.

Looking at the raw numbers, we counted just over 2,740 vehicle lots crossing the block over during the sale. However, we found that about 140 of these lots were re-runs which left us with a grand total right at 2,600 individual lots. Out of that number, a very healthy 1,764 of those lots were reported to have traded hands for a solid 67.8 percent sell-through.

Taking the single high bid was “The Real McCoy,” the original 1956 Corvette prototype modified by Zora Arkus-Duntov and piloted to more than 150 mph on the sands of Ormand Beach, Fla., by John Fitch. This wonderfully restored and truly historic car, often considered the car that saved the entire Corvette project from extinction, was called sold for a bid of $2.3 million.

Looking at the dollar figures, calculations were close to $59.4 million, on top of which a 6 percent buyer’s premium was added taking this sale’s total to just under the $64 million mark. In addition to the cars, there were hundreds of lots of memorabilia that  were estimated to have added another $4.5 million to the total take for the 10-day event.

Kissimmee 2014 could be considered nothing but a success on all fronts. It also launched Mecum Auctions into what is to be their most active season ever, with a total of 19 sales on the slate.

The following is a rundown of some of the significant and interesting vehicle sales from this huge event.

G136

1987 Buick Regal Limited T-Type 2-dr coupe. Dark gray metallic, gray velour seats, 3.8 Liter, 245 HP Turbo-charged V6, automatic transmission. Used sparingly since new with just 19,600 miles, well preserved with minimum of wear or tear on interior, no issues on exterior except for minor trim issues. Sporting its factory alloy wheels, these cars were as powerful as the Grand National, just minus the black paint and a few appointments, and for rarity, try and find one this nice. Old Cars Report Price Guide condition 2.

Sold at $14,000

A few wise folks saved these sleeper coupes, while everyone was trying for a Grand National, the T-type was nearly equal in performance save for a few adjustments on the suspension. Compare this to the 64K mi Grand National and you can seen that it still is a bargain performance car from the 1980s, which from the USA is truly an rarity.

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F219.1

1956 Chevrolet Nomad 2-dr station wagon. 265 cid, 205 HP, Powerglide automatic transmission, Laurel Green with Corcus Yellow trim, yellow vinyl with charcoal cloth interior. Beautiful example with one repaint but original interior in presentable condition. Fitted with factory air-conditioning from new, also power steering and brakes, padded dash, AM radio, and clock. Repainted original color, tinted glass shows no cracks but minor bubbling on door vent glass. Also chrome trim on front of hood has major pitting. Factory steel wheels with full wheelcovers. OCRPG condition 2.

Sold at $66,000

One of our favorite cars in Kissimmee, it was evidently a favorite with a couple of bidders too. The typical 1950s two-tone paint, the workmanship and the equipment brought a good price, had this car been in #1 condition it might have brought around $25K to $30K more even in today’s market.

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S096

1958 Chevrolet Corvette 2-dr convertible. 283 cid, 270 HP V8, dual-4-barrel carbs, solid lifters, 4-speed manual transmission. Signet Red w/White coves, red vinyl seats, White Cotan soft top, factory radio, heater and 6500 rpm-redline tach. Restored about 10 years back, this car has received awards from the AACA and NCRS; owner claimed all numbers matched. Body panels lined up well; chrome, glass all like new in appearance. Some minor discoloration on the soft top, but backlite was crystal clear. Engine ran out well with no smoke and just the right amount of condensation coming from the dual exhaust. OCRPG condition 1.

Sold at $97,000

Due to its unique styling touches the 1958 commands a bit higher price over other quad-light straight axle Corvettes. This one has been judged high and been maintained to the point that with a light dusting and minor detailing it is turn-key, show ready, which is a major accomplishment. A restoration starting with a “nice” car would cost at least two-and-a-half what this finished example brought. Final bidder was the winner here.

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K252

1965 Chevrolet Impala 2-dr convertible. 283 cid, 195 HP V8 engine, Powerglide automatic transmission. Finished in red, with black vinyl seats complimented with the black vinyl roof. Body was straight, paint was decent but had some micro-scratches from dry-dusting and faded emblems. Fitted with power steering and brakes, had original AM radio with 1970s era 8-track/FM converter. Top had good fit with no side lifting. Glass back-lite. Interior was well appointed and in good shape. Minor dings in body-side trim, plastic lenses very minor crazing, but it did have full set of T3 headlights. OCRPG condition 3.

Sold at $15,000

One of the most popular Chevy’s from the 1960s, even though this car might not be show-car material today, it has potential. At this price there was some room left in it for a little profit, but to the right buyer this car could be treated to a freshening and it could see strong returns.

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S176

1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray 2-dr convertible. 427 cid, 435 HP (L71) V8 engine, 4-speed manual transmission. Purchased new by Virgil “Gus” Grissom, one of America’s first astronauts who lost his life in the tragic 1967 Apollo capsule flash fire. Car has been widely publicized, owner claims a number of trophies, ribbons and other awards including NCRS Top-Flight status despite a color change and incorrect items like the 1966 era Teak steering wheel. Car did have matching numbers engine block, but no further claims were made or verified. OCRPG condition 3.

Sold at $160,000

This car’s heritage was verified as real-deal Grissom car, unknown when the alterations were done to color, steering wheel, etc. Car showed 31,600 miles which probably indicates the car was used after the owner’s death. In our opinion, we would say half this price came from the car itself the other half based on the original owner history.

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S178

1967 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport 2-dr hardtop. 427 cid, 385 HP V8 (Z24), Turbo-Hydramatic transmission. Restored to its original appearance of Ermine White with blue vinyl bucket seat interior, this car was stunning to look at. Only on close inspection did little blemishes in the bright work appear as sheet metal was smooth, paint near perfect save for some very minor micro-scratches. Chrome was excellent, soft trim clean, tight and fresh. Had AM radio, factory A/C, heavy-duty suspension and that intimidating special hood. Also tilt wheel and original Protect-O-Plate. OCRPG condition 2.

Sold at $48,000

These big Impalas are perfect for customizing but this one was left alone. While many think this era was only fueled by muscle cars, full-size performance vehicles still ruled NASCAR, and cars like this were the bread and butter of the industry, only maybe not with the hi-po engines. We have seen other potent full-size Chevys from this era do exceptionally well, if anything this might have been a bit of a bargain.

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F269.1

1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS/Z-11 convertible. 396 cid, 350 HP (L34) V8 engine, automatic transmission. Factory edition of the Indy 500 Pace car replica, finished in white with Hugger Orange stripes, Orange Houndstooth bucket seats, white soft top, also graphics, Rally wheels, AM radio, banded tinted windshield. Missing was a gauge package and tachometer. Paint showed no orange peel or debris, only some very fine micro-scratches. Did not see with top in up position, but the bows and boot areas were clean. A professional restoration with nothing overlooked. OCRPG condition 1.

Sold at $85,000

While we have seen 350 equipped examples do close to $100K, this 396 edition did pretty good for current market conditions. The new owner will have to do little to bring this car up to show-car standards, but with this rat-motor under the hood, it would be fun to take it out and drive it for at least a little while, very well bought.

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S038

2010 Chevrolet Corvette 2-dr targa coupe, Dale Earnhardt Memorial ed. 6.3 Liter, 430 HP V8, automatic transmission. Created to celebrate the induction of Earnhardt into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, was used as a parade vehicle, sun visor was signed by his widow, Teresa. Car had just 320 miles and has been displayed in a museum environment from new. One-off graphics perfect for the ultimate Earnhardt fan or the Corvette enthusiast who wants on one-of-a-kind, includes certificate of authenticity. OCRPG condition 2.

Sold at $40,000

If one was to take off all the graphics, which were a wrap, you might have a low-mile Corvette that would bring about $30,000, so the celebrity connection adds. If it was the ultimate Earnhardt fan, this car would be a big plus, but doubtful if this is a future museum piece and I really would say that future values will probably not advance pretty much beyond where the hammer fell in Kissimmee. Well sold.

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W135

1981 Delorean DMC-12 Gullwing coupe. 2,849cc, 130 HP V6 engine, automatic transmission. Unmolested example showing just under 10,300 miles, which appear to be from new. Did notice someone had tried to clean the car going side-ways from the brushed finish, front and rear plastic fascia’s are darkening and warping from age. Interior was clean and fresh. Exterior plastic lenses did show some signs of aging with minor crazing. Rubber weatherstripping was still supple, driver’s door did need help staying up. OCRPG condition 3.

Sold at $29,000

A few years ago a car with these miles in this condition would have been lucky to get close to the $20K mark, interest in these vehicles has really grown in the last couple of years, makes them desirable for everyone’s collection, kind of like what John Z. had wanted when you look back at his vision of the future.

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T181.1

2006 Ford GT Coupe. 5.4L DOHC V8, 550 HP, 6-speed manual transmission. Very well-preserved original car showing right at 2,560 miles from new. Exterior in Speed Yellow with black striped, dark charcoal leather seats, factory “spider” alloy wheels. Fitted with the upgrade McIntosh sound system and air conditioning, no signs of any nicks or scratches, tire wear was minimal. All glass and plastic looked as it did when it rolled through the factory doors in Wixom, Mich. Engine bay was clean, just a very light patina of use. OCRPG condition 1.

Sold at $242,500

Of all of the “super-cars” from the 1990s and 2000s, only one that really seems to constantly commands a price much higher than their $170K MSRP has been the Ford GP. Bentleys, ZR1s and most Euro-exotics lave a lot of money on the table. If Ford wanted to make more, they probably could and maybe even make a profit. This car was well sold.

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T262

1983 Lincoln Quicksilver 4-dr sedan concept car. 2.8 Liter V6 engine, 5-speed manual transmission. At first glance we thought this was an over-grown Honda Insight, but then we found that the body designed and built by Ghia and completed in UK by AC cars, on a production chassis was a genuine concept car. Finished in Silver metallic with gray wool seats. Car was 100% functional, did have a title but a non-compliance Federal VIN. Used by Lincoln Division through the mid-1980s, sold off in 2005 for $175,000. Unsure of how much use car has or what maladies, no signs of touch ups or repairs. OCRPG Condition 2.

Sold for $27,000

This car has been invited to several shows and may well be invited to other show in the future. For the right person could be enjoyed for a couple of years and then would make a splendid vehicle to be donated to the new Lincoln museum in Hickory Corners, Mich.

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S174.1

1961 Lamborghini Model DL25 tractor. 1750 cc, 19 HP 2-cylinder, 3-speed transmission. Finished in factory correct blue with orange trim, casting numbers were also highlighted in orange, appeared to have been restored several years ago and hadn’t seen a field since completed. Fitted with Dual PTO, Was sporting new 9.5 x 24” rear tires which appeared new with minimal wear show on front tire. A total of 3,075 hours showing on the clock. Overall it was a tired unit, but has some potential for beauty, unfortunately the front nameplate was missing.  A very unique piece of performance car history. OCRPG condition 3.

Sold at $17,000

While we rarely do a tractor, this particular unit was the gateway to a legendary sports car living to this day. We have seen Porsche tractors do quite well at auction, comparatively this was soft, but this one was important. Did start and run well, so that new owner can use it to plow a field. A dedicated fan of the raging bull brand would love this even more when fully restored.

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F194

1935 Morgan F-type Three-Wheeler roadster. British Ford Model Y engine, 933 cc, 8 HP 4-cylinder, 3-speed transmission. Older budget based restoration, main body red with black fenders, tan vinyl bucket seats, black leatherette soft top. Fitted with after-market gauges, wooden dash and back plate on body looked like a home-made replacement of original materials. Modern turn signals added for safety. Did have “suicide” steering with the tie-bar mounted ahead of the front axle, looking kind of fragile. Upgraded with hydraulic brake and did we mention it was right-hand-drive and rear-wheel-drive. OCRPG condition 3.

Sold at $29,000

This is a rather unique looking vehicle, kind of like a regular sports car up front and a concoction of parts in the back. Not many of the F-types exist today, the more common tri-wheelers with the exposed V-twin mounted up front have a strong following, sure this one would most fun to pilot on a winding country lane. We think it was rather well sold and well bought.

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W224

1967 Plymouth Satellite Richard Petty Tribute 2-dr hardtop. 413 cid, 315 HP V8, automatic transmission. Petty Blue #43 exterior, blue-black racing seats with roll-bars. Outside this car looked pretty good, for a race car, interior had pure-stock dash but racing seats with roll-bar and no back seat. Underhood had engine sourced from another MoPar product, topped with Edelbrock intake. The “King” has evidently seen this car and approved of it with two signatures, one on the roof and one on the glove box door. Metal work was in good condition as was glass, minor pitting on chrome. OCRPG condition 3.

Sold at $10,000

For the ultimate Petty fan, this might have been a bargain, but don’t look for it as a substitute for a nest-egg. A fun vehicle to take to local car shows and cruise around town, however, for serious judging, car shows and major trophies a real ex-Petty race car will be the one to own. Decent buy for someone who has plans or at least a vision.

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K009

1970 Porsche 914-6 2-dr targa coupe. NOM 2.4 Liter 6-cyl, 5-speed manual transmission. White with black vinyl bucket seats, black hardtop panel, polished Fuchs wheels. A number of professional grade modifications including Kino shock absorbers, Weltmeister Sway Bars, and a later edition Blaupunkt stereo. Exterior of car looks pure stock, sits quite level, interior looked just the way it did when new, tight, clean and ready to go. OCRPG condition 2.

Sold at $48,000

This was a rather strong and very healthy price for this car, in fact it might be an auction record for a 914! While these cars have been considered the “step-child” to Porsches of the era, the VW produced little cars have really picked up in value in recent years, interest seems strong in nearly anything branded Porsche.

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W212

1969 Subaru 360 coupe. 356 cc, 25 HP 2-cyl., 4-speed manual transmission. Ivory White, Red vinyl seats, heater. Pretty basic motoring and the first real subcompact introduced into the USA. This car showed 10,577 miles which appear to be from new, featured Indiana State Inspection sticker from 1969. Seller said the center portion of the roof could be unbolted and taken off for open air motoring. No signs of damage ever, nor even a speck of rust. OCRPG Condition 3.

Sold at $11,000

Micro cars are hot and at one time these little coupes plied the highways, but today, not even on a dare would I take this car onto the freeway. Values on these cars have lagged behind other little cars partially because they are borderline with a real car. Still, the values on these are fair for what they are.

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W095

1960 Volkswagen “Beetle” 2-dr coupe. 1192 cc, 45 HP 4-cyl., w/Judson Supercharger, 4-speed manual transmission. Java Green exterior, interior of Ivory vinyl. In addition to standard equipment, heater-defroster, Sapphire I AM radio, bolt-on roof-rack. Restored several years ago and used lightly. Paint was excellent and an original color but we did spot some light bubbling. Minor trim issues inside and out but generally a tight car with straight metal, clean chrome and clean glass. OCRPG Condition 2.

Sold at $17,000

Interest in these early VWs is strong and while pure-stock seems to be where most attention is paid, period add-ons like the Supercharger and roof rack, really do add to the interest and well as the overall appearance and appeal of a great compact.

 

For more Mecum Kissimmee auction highlights, see the March 27, 2014, issue of Old Cars Weekly.

 

 

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