Mecum Austin 2014 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Austin, Texas December 12-13, 2014

Mecum Auctions’ approach is unusual, even unique.

They troll around the country, trying locations, developing them – and along the way the collector car market in places where it’s been overlooked – bringing their high-energy Velocity TV production. Mecum has produced blockbuster results in unexpected places.

Kissimmee is front and center. Overlapping the headline sales in Arizona in January, among them Barrett-Jackson’s two decades of leadership and competing sales from Silver, Russo and Steele, RM Auctions, Gooding and Bonhams, Mecum went head-to-head with Scottsdale in 2010, roughly 1840 miles away as an high endurance crow flies.

There were plenty of winter collector car auctions in Florida and challenging Scottsdale was … ambitious. But today Kissimmee is nine days long and last year presented 2,743 cars, selling 1,754 and bringing in a total of $62,868,670.

The Mecum camel poked its nose under the Texas tent only three years ago, opening in Houston in 2012. A seemingly well-served market, Texas had two Leake auctions, Worldwide, Vicari and the occasional Dan Kruse sales. Now there are three Mecum auctions: in Houston in April, Dallas in September and Austin in December. Among them they offered almost 1900 cars and totaled $79.5 million in transactions in 2014.

More importantly, Mecum’s visibility has brought the whole collector car market to a higher plane in the Lone Star State. Everyone does better because of the heightened profile that Mecum brings to the marketplace.

Nowhere was that more clear than in Austin when Mecum arrived in early December 2014 [on the auspicious date of 12/13/14 – not gonna see a similar sequence for a little over 88 years, 32,161 days, until 1/2/2103.]

Mecum filled the Austin Convention Center with 654 cars and a steady stream of spectators to be part of the show. The location was filled to capacity for the inaugural event, centrally-located just two blocks from Austin’s 6th Street entertainment district and convenient to restaurants, bars and an adjacent Hilton that graciously and efficiently accommodated both the Mecum auction crowd and an IEEE convention at the same time.

My advice? Take a shuttle the six miles from the airport to downtown Austin. Stay at the Hilton for secure quality, convenience and good service or the Driskill on 6th for period ambience and elegance at more money. Use a taxi to get out to Driftwood for the barbecue at The Salt Lick.

The Mecum auction was solid, the barbecue was epic.

Mecum Austin
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
2014
654 / 426
65.1%
$34,299
$23,000 [67.1%]
$14,611,460

Mecum Austin 2014 – Auction Report

1956 Ford Customline 2-Dr. Sedan
Lot # F017 1956 Ford Customline 2-Dr. Sedan; S/N U6RG174046; Maroon, Black/Dark Gray cloth; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $17,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $18,360 – 272/176hp, later Holley carb, automatic, chrome reversed wheels, hubcaps, narrow whitewall radials, air shocks, rear antenna, cassette stereo, dual outside mirrors. – Fair recent paint and good interior. Major chrome is older but sound. Stainless has been polished. Paint is poorly detailed and masked, body seals haven’t been replaced. Underbody is old and hasn’t been addressed. Engine compartment is orderly but only superficially redone with a lot of matte black. A mixed bag of goodies, but still an enjoyable Christmas present. – While this is a Ford of unrelieved ordinariness it has been treated unusually well for what it is and brought an unusually strong price for a mundane Customline 2-Dr. Sedan.
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad 2-Dr. Station Wagon
Lot # F108 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad 2-Dr. Station Wagon; S/N VC56F024671; Nassau Blue, Harbor Blue/Blue, Grey vinyl; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $50,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $54,000 – 265/170hp, Powerglide, P/S, no P/B, wheel covers, bias ply whitewalls, pushbutton radio, heater, grille guard. – Bright, shiny metallic clearcoat paint, brilliant chrome, good interior, dash and gauges. Underbody is better than new, as is the engine compartment where the bright, shiny paint still smells. A very showy Nomad with the gaudy trophies to show for it. – Despite being restored without custom touches the overly bright clearcoat paint on this Nomad do it no justice at all. The paint makes it look like a pig with lipstick, which does no justice at all to the car’s underlying quality of presentation. At this price, however, the new owner can strip the chrome and trim and give it a repaint in something approaching its original hues, taking advantage of its otherwise competent and thorough restoration to re-create its original style and panache.
1951 MG TD Roadster
Lot # F116 1951 MG TD Roadster; S/N TD11734EXLNA; Red/Parchment leather; Brown cloth top; Older restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $18,500 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $19,980 – No Reserve – Body color steel wheels, narrow whitewall bias ply tires, wood dashboard, aluminum engine dressup covers. – Sound old restoration done in 1980 with some paint cracks and patches peeling off the driver’s door. Thin windshield frame chrome. Dirty chassis. Surface cracked but sound leather. A usable driver that will be better with a thorough detailing. – This TD’s problems are easily addressed, mostly by painting the driver’s door, and it is a sound value at this price – although it would have been a better value at something less than this.
1969 AMC AMX 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F127 1969 AMC AMX 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N A9C397X137235; White, Maroon stripes/Red vinyl; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $22,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $23,760 – 390/325hp, automatic, P/S, P/B, tach, gauges, Magnum wheels, trim rings, redline radial tires, pushbutton radio, fat woodrim Grant GT steering wheel. – Sound but wavy repaint, good interior and major chrome, dull stainless. Paint cracks at upper windshield corners. Underbody quickly sprayed chassis black over old undercoat. The presentation doesn’t live up to the performance of the high compression V-8. – This AMX deserves better but the approach is exemplified by the incongruous fat woodrim steering wheel. A quick cosmetic redo, the Austin bidders saw through it and appropriately discounted its price. A car with potential and with room at this price to find at least some of it.
1957 Chevrolet Corvette FI Convertible
Lot # F128 1957 Chevrolet Corvette FI Convertible; S/N E57S102295; Engine # F131EL; White, Silver coves, White hardtop/Red vinyl; White vinyl top; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $105,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $113,400 – 283/283hp fuel injection, 4-speed, two tops, WonderBar radio, spinner wheel covers, whitewall bias ply tires. – Represented as matching numbers engine, two owners, 63,257 miles from new. An NCRS Top Flight award winner but it was long ago. The presentation is sound but not fresh. – It is rather odd to call an NCRS Top Flight 283/283 FI Corvette a ‘driver’, but that’s what this one is after years sitting in a collection surrounded by its old trophies. The 4-speed, like many of them in ’57 Corvettes, is probably a later update but one accepted by collectors and experts. This is a sound and usable high output ’57 FI Vette bought at a modest price.
1964 Oldsmobile Starfire 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F161 1964 Oldsmobile Starfire 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 864T015171; Yellow/Olive Green vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $15,000 – 394/345hp, automatic, P/S, P/B, P/W, A/C, console tach, tilt steering column, power trunk release, wire wheel covers, narrow whitewall radial tires, pushbutton radio. – Quickly repainted, window pockets coated in body shop dust and detritus, old cracked body seals not replaced. Engine compartment superficially detailed with flat black. Underbody given the same treatment. Good interior, decent dash and gauges. Fair old chrome, some stainless repolished but not all of it. A mediocre but sound driver with generous options. – Offered at the Spring Branson auction in 2013 with a reported high bid of $13,750, then sold two months ago in Branson for $11,000, the seller should have been fabulously happy to realize this bid for a below-mediocre Olds.
1949 Hudson Hornet Convertible
Lot # F164 1949 Hudson Hornet Convertible; S/N 49178709; Maroon/Maroon leather; Beige cloth top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $46,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $49,680 – 262/121 hp, Twin-H, 3-speed, power top, pushbutton radio, heater, chrome wire wheels, whitewall bias ply tires, skirts, grille guard. – Sound but only fair repaint, weak trim rechrome, scuffed old stainless, cracked steering wheel hub and sun cracked rim. Decent upholstery with sound old interior trim and interior chrome. Orderly but not restored engine compartment. Ugly chassis, underbody and antique wiring. A disappointing old cosmetic redo of sound Hudson Hornet. – While the dual carburetor ‘Twin-H’ package is highly sought … it wasn’t made available by Hudson until 1952. This Hornet’s many oversights and superficially treated features give no confidence at all in the way it has been done and make this price highly generous. It will take a full and expensive restoration to make much more out of this Hudson, and at this price that isn’t going to happen.
1966 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall
Lot # F207 1966 Chevrolet Suburban Carryall; S/N C1466S221424; Blue, White roof/White, Blue vinyl; Modified restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $23,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $24,840 – Later 350 V-8, automatic, P/S, P/B, A/C, cassette stereo, rally style wheels, trim rings, narrow whitewalls, two-row seating, sliding rear windows. – Restored nearly like new with decent paint, chrome and good interior. Engine compartment is orderly but not up to the standards of the cosmetics. Later engine and accessories. Unusual two-door Suburban body. – Reported sold on Friday with this number, then re-run Saturday as S243, a no-sale at $19,000. A sound and attractive vehicle with abundant utility, its sale history here is difficult to comprehend.