Mecum Kansas City Spring 2013 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Kansas City, Missouri, April 25-27, 2013

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Mecum Auctions holds two sales each year in Kansas City, a reflection of several things, notably the supply of quality consignments in the region and a particularly good urban venue with abundant indoor display space (you could overhaul a couple of 747s in here after their wings were removed) and convenient downtown accommodations and amenities.

A little while ago Jack Reynolds commented on the Leake Oklahoma City auction report, “Patina seems to be the “in” thing at auctions these days. However, I don’t see any owners of muscle cars bragging about patina. Any thoughts?”

The broad answer to Jack’s inquiry is that unrestored original muscle cars are surpassingly rare. When they were new they got hammered. Then they passed downstream to less well-heeled owners who thought nothing of hammering them further, replacing their engines and supplanting their original intakes, exhausts and just about anything else that would bolt on or in with newer, better, freer-flowing parts.

I’ve seen salvage yards filled with original intake manifolds and carburetors set aside for high flow Holleys on Edelbrock Performer intakes. The original parts were, by the second or third owner’s standards, “junk.”

Muscle cars that survived even partially original eventually came into the hands of later owners who appreciated them for what they were in the Sixties and Seventies and took on the task of re-creating the cars’ as-new configurations. And that is what we see today.

But original, unrestored muscle cars survived and they are, despite or maybe on account of their rarity, appreciated by discerning collectors.

There were two at Mecum Kansas City:

1968 Shelby Mustang GT500 Fastback
Lot # S094 1968 Shelby Mustang GT500 Fastback; S/N 8T02S173637-01930; Lime Green/Black vinyl; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $73,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $77,380. – New Holley 4-barrel, automatic, P/S, P/B, A/C, Sport Deck rear seat, 10-spoke alloy wheels, 8-track — Original wheels, tires and carburetor included. Paint is mostly original except for nose center, hood and cowl poorly repaired and repainted long ago probably after rear-ending something bigger. Orderly but aged engine. Underbody is original and aged. Good upholstery. An unusual, largely original GT500. — Is this GT500 good enough to be a preservation car? Almost, but probably not quite. It brought preservation class money, though, an expensive price for a flawed and visually challenged GT500.
1970 Pontiac GTO Judge 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # S125.1 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 242370R118666; Engine # 0169912 YZ; Polar White/Black; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $51,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $54,060. – 400/366hp Ram Air III, automatic, P/S, P/B, Safe-T-Track, pushbutton radio — Original 32,500 mile car, one owner from 1970. Represented as original paint but that doesn’t account for the masking holiday on the driver’s door or left front fender. Clean and orderly underhood, engine doesn’t appear ever to have been out. PHS documented and comes with original paper including registrations from 1970 on. Impressive. — This is the poster car for original Muscle, a choice Judge with everything except a 4-speed and in nearly unbelievable original condition. The left side may have been scraped and repainted, but it’s hard to think of that as anything more than further evidence of its originality; stuff happens in 43 years on the road. This price is as much as a meticulously and accurately restored Ram Air III automatic would bring. The new owner got something to cherish, preserve and show with pride, paying a reasonable premium for bragging rights. Don’t touch it, just add a few miles to the odometer and puff up with pride.

And maybe this S-code Mustang:

1967 Ford Mustang Notchback
Lot # F171 1967 Ford Mustang Notchback; S/N 7R01S230280; Irish Mist, Black vinyl roof/Black vinyl; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $20,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $21,200. – 390/320hp, automatic, P/S, woodgrain steering wheel, console, pushbutton radio, styled wheels, Radial G/T tires, A/C — Special order paint in GM Irish Mist Metallic. Original throughout with some scrapes but mostly sound and well preserved. — This is a valuable car based only on its rare S-code 390/320hp engine and factory special order paint. Its originality is a bonus although compromised by the scratches and scrapes. The new owner got a choice piece of Mustang history for a modest price.

All three of these results show that muscle car collectors do, in fact, appreciate originality. Perhaps not as much as the rarity of good original muscle cars should support, but the incremental value is reflected in these and other results.

If you find a choice original 4-4-2 convertible or 440 Six Pack Road Runner in a barn, DON’T give it a quick cosmetic redo, please. There are collectors who will appreciate it for what it is, even if it has a high flow Holley quad on an aftermarket high rise intake manifold. There are lots of original intakes hanging up in salvage yards that will bring it back to original configuration.

Thanks for the question, Jack.

Mecum Kansas City Spring 2013 – Auction Report

1979 AMC Pacer
Lot # T157 1979 AMC Pacer D/L 2-Dr. Sedan; S/N A9A667C200983; Tan/Tan cloth; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $8,750 plus commission of 5.71%; Final Price $9,250. – 258/110hp six, automatic, AM-FM, P/S, P/B, A/C, tan wheelcovers, roof rack, dual outside mirrors — Very good original car with 16,109 miles. Very good original paint and chrome. Sound but lightly soiled original interior. Has to be one of the best original Pacers in the world. — ‘The Wide Small Car’ must have been calculated to appeal to the ever-wider girth of Americans but made for one of the most ridiculed automobiles ever built in America. It’s hard not to feel affection for the Pacer today, but this price is about all that affection can support even for a low miles original example. It’s a case of ‘who cares?’
1972 Triumph TR6 Convertible
Lot # T158 1972 Triumph TR6 Convertible; S/N CC78704U; Green/Tan leatherette; Tan leatherette top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $14,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $14,840. – BL AM-FM, wood veneered dashboard, silver painted wheels with trim rings, red line tires — Edge chipped older repaint, good top and upholstery showing a little age and use. Thin chrome. Sound body with decent door fit. — The KC bidders nailed this TR6’s value.
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Dr. Sedan
Lot # T160 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air 4-Dr. Sedan; S/N C56S076014; Sierra Gold, Beige/Beige vinyl, Gold cloth; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $8,000 plus commission of 6.25%; Final Price $8,500. – 236/140hp six, Powerglide, heater, no radio, P/S or P/B, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls — Chipped, scraped old paint, sound but scuffed and scratched chrome, good upholstery. Left front fender repaired and showing cracking Bondo. Dirty and original underhood. Rust pushing against the surviving paint on door bottoms and rocker panels. — Someone was bust-y’r-buttons proud to own this Bel Air in 1956. Not so much today. Its body is filled with potholes that recommend it for the restorod treatment. An uninteresting car that brought an interesting price.
1967 Dodge Coronet R/T 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # T182 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N WS23L77129369; Burgundy/Black vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $13,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $13,780. – 440/375hp Magnum, automatic, Magnum wheels, no P/S or P/B, buckets, no console — Scruffy. Cheap old repaint with peeling clearcoat, thin, pitted trim chrome, decent upholstery. Dirty underhood. Actually somewhat surprising to survive this original. Sound body with some rust bubbles in the right door. — This is good money for a scruffy, rusty Coronet R/T even taking the 440 Magnum under the hood into account.
1978 MG B Convertible
Lot # T192 1978 MG B Convertible; S/N GHN5UJ460099G; Red/Tan vinyl; Tan leatherette top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $6,750 plus commission of 7.41%; Final Price $7,250. – Blaupunkt Cancun cassette, cruise control, lace-on leather steering wheel cover, 8-spoke alloy wheels, blackwall radial tires, luggage rack, overdrive — Good older repaint peeling in fenderwells. Good interior and trim chrome, loose-fitting new top. A sound and presentable driver. — A fair rubber bumper MG B bought for a fair price.
1980 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta Coupe
Lot # T204 1980 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta Coupe; S/N 1S87HAL541107; Blue/Tan vinyl, cloth; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $4,000 plus commission of 7.50%; Final Price $4,300. – 350/190hp, automatic, A/C, P/S, Realistic cassette stereo, Z/28 alloy wheels, Radial G/T tires, P/W, glass T-tops — Mostly original old car with one old, dull, chipped repaint. Good original upholstery but pitted, ugly interior chrome. — Other than the fact it needs to go to Maaco immediately (without passing ‘Go’) for a repaint this is a decent Camaro with a reasonably healthy (for 1980) engine. The trouble is that with the repaint it so desperately needs and attention to GM’s notoriously crappy interiors of the period by the time it is presentable it will be thoroughly and irrevocably underwater even at this price. ‘Free’ wouldn’t be too much to pay for it, but any car that runs and drives is today worth $4,000.

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Show Comments (4)

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  1. Love to read Rick’s auction reports, very informative and interesting. And
    This time very entertaining!

  2. I learn something every single time I read a Rick Carey report. Please keep up the auction coverage that is unmatched anywhere…print or online.

    1. Check often.
      Jamie posts them as I get them to him, and I’m about three auctions behind, rushing frantically to catch up before another round of sales, so there is likely to be at least one more before next week’s e-mail.

      Rick