Mecum Kansas City 2011 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Kansas City, Missouri, December 1-3, 2011

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Mecum Auctions continues to confirm its place at the core of the collector car hobby, assembling a consignment of 839 cars indoors at the Kansas City Convention Center for an early December 2011 three-day Thursday through Saturday sale.

What Mecum is accomplishing is remarkable. It’s the Kruse “something for everyone” model, perfected to a high degree of efficiency and competence that Kruse never approached.

At Kansas City the cars ranged from a beautiful 1909 Ford Model T Tourer to twenty-one late model cars (built in the last five years) that topped out with a 2011 Camaro SS. Two-thirds of the cars that crossed the block sold, bringing a total of $12,230,749 with commission, an average sale of $21,958 and a median of $20,935 (1965 Mustang six fastback, ’66 Chevelle 327 4-speed or ’69 Firebird, take your choice at that price.)

That’s a labor intensive way to generate $12 million in sales, but Mecum achieves it with style, flair, efficiency and good humor. They work the cars on the block, but don’t waste time if the bidders aren’t paying attention.

With this many cars and a wide open consignment policy there is a lot of dross – poorly presented or just plain boring cars – but also plenty of gems that keep the bidders in their seats through long days.

It’s a successful system and business model that Mecum presents again and again throughout the year and across the country.

A few years ago Mecum claimed “Nobody sells more Muscle than Mecum.” Today that slogan has changed to “Nobody sells more cars than Mecum.” There’s a reason and it’s apparent at every Mecum auction.

Thursday

1963 Pontiac Grand Prix 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # T089 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 963S54594; Azure Blue/Blue; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $11,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $12,190 -- Automatic, A/C, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, cassette stereo, P/S, P/B. Fair repaint, stone chipped nose. Good chrome and interior. Original chassis. Scuffed stainless. A usable driver. The original Pontiac Grand Prix was a paradigm shift in Detroit design with clean, unadorned subtly shaped panels. They've found little acceptance among collectors but await a renaissance. Even with the base 389 engine (the hood didn't work), this GP brought a responsible price in today's market and some prospect for future appreciation when collectors begin to realize its importance.
1954 Lincoln Capri 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # T098 1954 Lincoln Capri 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 54WA35111H; Green, Cream roof/Green, Cream vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $15,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $16,430 -- Automatic, A/C, P/W, P/seat, stoplight viewer, pushbutton radio, Level Ride suspension, continental kit, wheel covers, wide whitewalls. Fair old repaint and upholstery, otherwise original, clean and solid. Pitted interior chrome. Some torn body seals. A sound and unusual car with potential. There's no premium in this result for the rare and desirable air conditioning option, let alone the other accessories it sports. The buyer got full value for the money, and then some.
1925 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup
Lot # T181 1925 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup; S/N 14642234; Matte Black/Mixed; Unrestored original, 4 condition; Hammered Sold at $4,750 plus commission of 6.32%; Final Price $5,050 -- Homemade wood bed, kerosene side lights, single left sidemount. Crude barely does it justice. Dented body, awful paint, worse upholstery. No Reserve. Load up the Jobes, this Model T is right out of "Grapes of Wrath" -- which does nothing to lessen its appeal, even at this price. The left front fender's "wink" adds to its character, which is worth what it brought.
1922 Ford Model T Roadster
Lot # T183 1922 Ford Model T Roadster; S/N 5835191; Matte Black/Black; Black leatherette top; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $5,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $5,300 -- Single rear spare, Hassler springs, running board luggage fence. Sound and complete but old and used. No Reserve. This is a nice old black trim T, with all its bits and usable as is, which is appropriately reflected in the price it brought.
1926 Ford Model T Touring
Lot # T184 1926 Ford Model T Touring; S/N 13451920; Black/Black; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $9,250 -- 3-door touring body with leatherette covered full roof and sides, MotoMeter, 12v coil and distributor. Rusty original paint, tattered original upholstery. Sound and complete but needs everything. No Reserve. The accessory roof marks this T as an unusual survivor of a time when touring cars were the norm but owners were looking for something more. Its condition is not much to talk about but its configuration is. Listed as No Reserve, but reported not sold.
1914 Ford Model T Roadster
Lot # T194 1914 Ford Model T Roadster; S/N 580036; Blue, Black fenders/Black; Black top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $12,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $13,250 -- Corcoran acetylene headlights and kerosene sidelights, single rear spare, Nonpareil bulb horn, Standard speedometer. A competent old restoration with plenty of miles on it since then. Sound and presentable paint, brass and upholstery will look much better after some care and attention. No Reserve. This Model T wouldn't have been over priced at $15,000 or so hammer, a good value for a buyer prepared to spend a few (well, maybe more than "a few") hours on polishing and detailing.
1947 Crosley 2-Dr. Sedan
Lot # T223 1947 Crosley 2-Dr. Sedan; S/N 55006R; Green/Brown leatherette; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $3,750 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $4,050 -- Oil filter, heater. Spotted and chipped old repaint, torn original upholstery, poor chrome. Grungy engine and chassis. Sound and complete but needs everything (except tires.) No Reserve. Whew! A largely despicable car bought on the value of its cuteness. It won't cost a lot to restore, but even a reasonable paint job will put it underwater, let alone everything else it needs.
1948 Frazer Standard 4-Dr. Sedan
Lot # T225 1948 Frazer Standard 4-Dr. Sedan; S/N 106709; Green/Beige, Grey cloth; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $2,400 plus commission of 12.50%; Final Price $2,700 -- Turn signals, hubcaps, radio. Poor repaint, sound but soiled and stained original upholstery. Tired, sound, complete (except for details like the headlight bezels) original car that needs everything. No Reserve. Henry J. Kaiser could make Liberty ships but when it came to automobiles his industrial expertise left a lot to be desired, as this Frazer illustrates. The original body panels are a symphony of waves. Sound and presentable, it is an oddity that should be thankful to bring this much.

Friday

1960 Chrysler 300F 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F120.1 1960 Chrysler 300F 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 8403125210; White/Beige leather; Cosmetic restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $56,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $59,360 -- 413/375hp with crossover long ram dual quad intake, automatic, swivel seats, tach, P/W, pushbutton radio, wheel covers, whitewalls. Cracked steering wheel. Fair repaint over old paint, scratched, scuffed stainless. Quickly painted up underhood and still smells. Carbs freshly aluminum painted. A superficial auction car. This is a sound-appearing car even if its primping for the auction leaves a lot to be desired in quality and thoroughness. The price it brought reasonably reflects both its strengths and its shortcomings.
1997 Panoz AIV Roadster
Lot # F133 1997 Panoz AIV Roadster; S/N 1P9PA182XVB213014; Red/Beige; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $18,250 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $19,345 -- A/C, Eclipse CD stereo, BBS alloy wheels. 3,602 miles. Looks new, says restored, and has a salvage title. These are interesting little cars with a thoughtful design philosophy behind its "Aluminum Intensive Vehicle" construction. The story of this car and its restoration at only 3,602 miles and salvage title, however, leaves something to be desired and is reflected in the modest price it brought. It's a lot more car than a late model Miata that would be comparable money but the story severely inhibits its value.
1975 Triumph TR6 Convertible
Lot # F224 1975 Triumph TR6 Convertible; S/N CF354524; Yellow/Black; Black leatherette top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $7,250 plus commission of 6.90%; Final Price $7,750 -- Sanyo AM-FM. Poor older repaint, sound upholstery and top, decent chrome. Dirty and rusty underhood. An unattractive car. At this price the flaws in this TR6 are appropriately reserved by the buyer.
1993 GMC Typhoon SUV
Lot # F236 1993 GMC Typhoon SUV; S/N 1GDCT18Z9P0811329; Black/Black leather; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $6,750 plus commission of 7.41%; Final Price $7,250 -- Automatic, CD stereo, Momo leather rim steering wheel, Autometer gauges on A-pillar, aftermarket wheels with 275 front, 315 rear tires, roof rack, A/C, P/W, P/S, P/B. Clean, orderly used car with good original paint and interior. No Reserve. A rare and intriguing AWD high performance variant of the S10 with an advanced drivetrain and abundant accessories. The odometer shows 102,850 miles but the Typhoon could as easily be 60K miles or so, it's that clean and orderly. It's hard not to see this as a sound buy in a vehicle with future collectibility.