Mecum Kissimmee 2013 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Kissimmee, Florida, January 18-27, 2013

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

No one ever accused Dana Mecum of lacking audacity.

As the Kissimmee entry list filled up in late November the decision was taken to extend the auction, not like last year when extra hours were added in the morning on several days, but on the calendar.

It would be the biggest single auction event ever, spanning ten days from the Friday of Scottsdale week through the following Sunday. Monday was set aside for “Road Art” to give groggy buyers time to fly in from Phoenix to join the extravaganza. “3,000 Cars Expected” was the buzz.

It didn’t make it, but it was sure big enough.

[You might read a slightly higher lot total elsewhere. These numbers exclude from the car count the second lot in a pair, e.g., a trailer sold with a boat or a scooter sold with a pickup. All the figures are for vehicles only, excluding Road Art.]

Here are the numbers:

Mecum Kissimmee
Cars Offered / Cars Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Total Sales
Chg from prior year
2,592 / 1,797
2,158 / 1,564
1,411 / 1,062
1,071 / 701

In car count Kissimmee is far and away the largest collector car auction ever held. In total dollars it is surpassed only by the five largest Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auctions, 2007, 2013, 2006, 2012 and 2008 in that order.

With a median sale of just $27,560 Mecum Kissimmee is everyman’s auction. Almost 900 lots were sold for that amount or less (sometimes much less) which puts a huge number of possibilities in front of collectors of moderate means. Prospective buyers can ogle the bodywork in any light, get in, fondle the upholstery, open the hoods, crawl under and develop their own personal impressions of build quality and authenticity.

On a more analytical basis, though, the extra days were less than productive, which is why the table above shows the gross sales per auction day. Adding the extra four days (and there were actually five counting Road Art Monday) contributed negatively to the dollars/effort equation, cutting the sales/day by almost $4 million, a third less than 2012’s five-day auction. Overhead/day isn’t directly proportional to the number of days, but the lower sales/day figure probably had a negative effect on Mecum’s daily operating margins.

In other words, don’t expect this experience to be repeated once the bean counters get a hold of the results.

Still, for those who attended it was a wild and wooly marathon. The weather was great (unlike Scottsdale’s frigid opening days), and there’s always Disney World or Universal Studios for diversion if the procession of $27,560 cars wears thin.

And, while it is a marathon, it also is a car circus with something interesting, different, intriguing or valuable at almost every turn. Buyers won’t find historic Ferrari race cars or elegant seven-figure classics here, but there are plenty of very good cars worth serious consideration by any collector in an auction run with style, organization and flair.

Mecum Kissimmee 2013 was a nine-day smorgasbord of Corvettes, Mustangs, Road Runners and more, an audacious concept by any standard.

Mecum Kissimmee 2013 – Auction Report

1969 Buick Gran Sport Convertible
Lot # F269 1969 Buick Gran Sport Convertible; S/N 446679Y145258; Verde Green,/Pearl White; White vinyl top; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $91,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $96,460. – 400/340hp, 4-speed, short console with tach, A/C, P/S, P/B, tilt steering column, chrome rim Magnum wheels, red line tires — Freshly restored top to bottom with excellent clear coat paint, brilliant chrome and stainless, sharp interior and top. Underbody is as good as what is on top. Very thorough with nothing missed. Sold at the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach auction last April for $79,750 and no better today than it was then. It was represented there as numbers matching engine, but no such claim was made here in Kissimmee. That didn’t seem to deter the bidders who plunked down serious money for what may be one of only 55 built with 4-speed and A/C. Performance Buicks have been on a tear recently, as this generous price indicates.
1941 Buick Special Business Coupe
Lot # G226 1941 Buick Special Business Coupe; S/N 13981944; Light Green Metallic,/Beige cloth; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $17,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $18,020. – Radio, 3-speed, turn signals, trim rings, blackwalls, fog lights — A superficial cosmetic redo of a sound and unusual car. Usable but old upholstery. Seats don’t match door panels, Erratically worn interior wood graining and misty dash and glove box panels. Old, cracked vent window seals, cracked interior knobs. Decent paint. Sound body, loose sill trim, weak chrome. A no-sale here a year ago at a $15,000 bid, this largely unattractive car has little going for it aside from the sleek fastback body style. It isn’t useful for much as it is and will cost a fortune to restore making its highest and best use as the basis for a striking and different restomod, although this is a lot to spend on it.
1931 Cadillac 370-A V-12 Roadster
Lot # S168 1931 Cadillac 370-A V-12 Roadster, Body by Fleetwood; S/N 1003833; Cream, Brown fenders and accent/Tan leather; Tan cloth top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $158,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $167,480. – Orange wheels with chrome spokes, wide whitewalls, Pilot-Rays, dual sidemounts with mirrors, rumble seat, metal luggage trunk, wind wings, chrome hood side vent doors — A quality old restoration that’s been around the auction circuit but still shows the same 47,481 miles it did at B-J in 2004, and is appropriately orderly. Paint is shrinking on the cowl, prep marks visible under hood paint. A great tour car, even with the dated colors. This Cadillac has been around a while. It was sold at B-J Scottsdale in 2004 for $135,000, then a year later for $140,400. At Mecum’s Dallas sale last September it was bid to $145,000 and it sold post-block here in Kissimmee for an appropriate price. It’s a V-12, and a Fleetwood, with enduring value even though the odometer shows today the exact same 47,481 miles that it did in 2004 in Scottsdale.
1941 Cadillac Series 61 Estate Wagon
Lot # S190.1 1941 Cadillac Series 61 Estate Wagon, Body by Fred’s; S/N 5349586; Maroon,/Brown vinyl, Beige cloth; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $150,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $159,000. – Red wheels, wide whitewalls, pushbutton radio, 3-speed, clock, 2-row seating, skirts, grille guard. — Very good paint, chrome, interior and wood. No water stains or significant wood cracks but not significantly figured. Door hand lettered “Stone Cottage”. Die cast trim is very good except light flaking on taillights. Chassis and underbody covered in old undercoat and lightly soiled from road use. Firewall has been partially resprayed; wood has been revarnished and would benefit from a careful sanding. Driver’s outside door handle spins. Engine is lightly oiled from use. A quality car with a quality older restoration that is well maintained as a weekend driver. Reserve off at $130k. The builder of the station wagon body is Fred’s Truck Body in Bronx, NY, which adds nothing to its value. The restoration is starting to age and has numerous flaws that should be addressed. It wouldn’t have been a great value at $130,000 and is generously priced at this result.
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Lot # S184 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible; S/N VC56K071877; Engine # 0206146 T56F; Crocus Yellow, Black/Yellow vinyl, Black cloth; Black vinyl top; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $102,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $108,650. – 265/170hp with 4-barrel, Powerglide, P/S, P/B, skirts, wheel covers, whitewalls, continental kit, dual outside mirrors, sill moldings — Freshly restored to high standards of fit and finish. Excellent paint, brilliant chrome, tight top, inviting interior, like new underhood. As good as it gets without going overboard. ’56 Bel Airs may be the overlooked Tri-Five Chevy, but no one overlooked this beautifully restored convertible in its extremely attractive and unusual colors. This is a headline price for a car that fits the ‘best car’ specification. The new owner won’t get rich from owning it, but will be abundantly satisfied with the experience.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Lot # F230 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible; S/N VC57K108174; Turquoise,/Turquoise, White vinyl; White vinyl top; Modified restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $84,800. – 283/220hp, 350 automatic, P/S, P/B, spinner wheel covers, WonderBar radio, dual rear antennas, whitewalls, power front disc brakes. — Good paint, chrome and interior. Engine and underbody are aged and need detailing. An attractive and usably upgraded driver. There isn’t enough done to this Bel Air to bring it to the description ‘restomod’, but enough to make it less than desirable as a collector car. An enjoyable driver, but an expensive one at this price.
1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Lot # K255 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible; S/N F58J235106; Engine # 82421; White,/Fawn vinyl; Fawn vinyl top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $58,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $61,480. – 283/230hp, 4-barrel, Turboglide, P/S, no P/B, bench seat, pushbutton radio, continental kit, Pontiac cruiser skirts decorated with rockets and stars, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, dual rear antennas. — Restored to good driver standards with sound paint, chrome and interior but an odd color selection. Sold at Worldwide’s Houston sale in 2009 for $77,000, then at Mecum Indy in 2011 for $84,800, followed by a $60,000 high bid at Mecum Indy last year, this result more appropriately reflects its inherent value. ’58 Impalas are desirable cars, but people like them better with the 348. The Pontiac aftermarket cruiser skirts could disappear without regret.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO
Lot # S178 1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 124379N657861; Engine # T0513MN; Olympic Gold,/Green vinyl; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $130,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $137,800. – COPO 9561 427/425hp, 4-speed, pushbutton radio, Hurst shifter, body color wheels, hubcaps, Wide Oval tires, P/B, cowl induction. — Represented as original engine, transmission and rear axle documented with order sheet, bill of sale, window sticker, Protect-o-Plate and GM Canada paperwork. Restored like new but with clearcoat repaint and excellent chrome like it never had when new. Sold by Bonhams at Quail Lodge in 2007 from the [in]famous Wes Rhodes Collection for $199,500, then by Gooding in Scottsdale in 2010 for $159,500. The caliber of the car isn’t dropping as fast as the price and it’s a good value here.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 RS/SS
Lot # S171 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396 RS/SS 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 124377L160893; Butternut Yellow, Black vinyl roof/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $92,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $97,520. – 396/375hp, 4-speed, Hurst shifter, AM-FM, Rally wheels with trim rings, red line tires, P/B, no P/S. — Represented as the original engine, transmission and rear axle but the block number is gone. Documented with build sheet. Restored like new with excellent paint, chrome and interior. Offered here last year with a reported high bid of $50,000, the wait was worth it. The lack of the original number on the block didn’t seem to deter the bidders at all. This is triumphant money for an SS 396, even one so generously optioned as this.
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Lot # F229 1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 124378N473439; Engine # 18N473439 0619MO; Butternut Yellow, Black stripes/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $60,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $63,600. – 302/290hp, 4-speed, 3.73 Positraction, P/B, Rally wheels, trim rings, Wide Tread GT tires, console gauges. — Two owner car stored 30 years before restoration. Beautiful cosmetics and better than new without being overdone. Represented as all original driveline from engine to axle. An extremely good Z/28 in attractive colors, desirably equipped, that brought a modest price for its presentation. This is about as good as it gets in a ’68 Z/28, in both presentation and price.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28
Lot # F278 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 124379N636361; Fathom Green, White stripes/White houndstooth; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $100,000 $100,000. – 302/290hp, 4-speed, JL-8 4-wheel disc brakes (one of 206 built), cowl induction, P/S, chambered exhaust, Rally wheels, trim rings, Wide Oval GT tires, pushbutton radio, console gauges. — Fresh, sharp restoration with excellent cosmetics. Highly detailed underhood and chassis. Better than new. Documented with original bill of sale and Protect-o-Plate and represented as matching numbers engine. This is a $90,000 car with $15,000 worth of brakes. Does that make it too good to let go for the reported high bid? The answer to that is probably, no, but it’s the seller’s choice to keep looking for more. It is a gorgeous Z/28 and even at a bit over $100,000 would still be appropriate value for money.

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  1. The excitement of owning a Ferrari and the thrill of getting an engine out invoice! Reviews like this inspired me to get my Pantera, and when the $ allow for maintenance, a Ferrari will someday happen. Love your reviews, your wit makes them much fun to read!