Mecum Monterey 2011 – Auction Report

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Mercer 35C RaceaboutMecum is the newcomer to the Monterey auction scene.

They secured the Hyatt location – abundant greensward for display, a generous convention center for headquarters, food service that parallels Pebble Beach at half PB’s exalted prices, ample (free!) parking on the Hyatt’s fairways – only two years ago.

Mecum’s is a different theme for Monterey: modest prices, no catalogs, defined time on the block. You run what you brung, in the vernacular.

Kruse tried it a few years ago and fell on its face. Mecum on the other hand has succeeded, attracting 234 cars in 2009 and selling the Cobra Daytona Coupe CSX 2601 for $7,685,000 to set its stake in the ground (more than half its total of $14,211,895 in 2009.) In 2010 the Mecum sale grew to two days and 428 cars with $15,602,627 in sales. 2011 brought 734 cars to the Hyatt in a 3-day sale that totaled $22,196,822.

Mecum’s average sale was just $49,993, the median $27,560. It’s a hard way to make a buck where RM’s median transaction is $214,500 and Gooding’s is $192,500, but it’s Mecum’s strength. It’s the people’s Monterey: free admission, accessibly priced cars, fast-paced action on the block. It’s the essence of auction excitement.

This year’s sale featured a huge collection of motorcycles on Thursday, many of them marques and models only a few committed collectors had ever heard of. They went like hotcakes on an early Midwest fair morning.

Then there were the David Uihlein cars, most of which are described in more detail here. Mr. Uihlein (whose family’s beer made Milwaukee famous) is the patron saint of American racing car collectors. His cars have the essence of the elusive character known as provenance and his Bowes Seal Fast Special 1931 Indy winner proved it with its $2,120,000 price.

Consolidating its position in Monterey will take Mecum a few more years, but its competence and the appeal of its egalitarian format will eventually carve out a valuable and important niche, one that is welcomed and appreciated by the thousands who come to Monterey to share in the week’s events.

Mecum Auctions
Cars Offered / Cars Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Total Sales
Chg from prior year
2011
743 / 444
59.8%
$43,993
$22,196,822
42.3%
2010
428 / 208
48.6%
$75,013
$15,602,627
9.8%
2009
234 / 104
44.4%
$136,653
$14,211,895

Mecum Monterey 2011 – Auction Report

(See Reference – Auctions Explained, A Note on Conditions and Character).

1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Series 2 Cabriolet
Lot # S166.1 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Series 2 Cabriolet, Body by Pinin Farina; S/N 915811; Red/Red, Black leather; Black cloth top; Cosmetic restoration, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $325,000 -- Motorola radio, column shift, Arvin heater, chrome spoke Borrani wheels, chrome side exhaust, fender mirrors, three Weber 36D02 carbs. Recent repaint over old paint, new chrome. Old upholstery. New Borranis. Grungy engine and chassis hasn't been touched in years except for service. Old instruments with dull, aged faces. A superficially redone Alfa that does not engender much confidence. This is a desirable car, but nowhere near desirable enough to warrant the reported $325,000 high bid. It might be worth $175,000 -- on a very good day -- in its superficially presented condition. The reported bid is silly.
1964 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III Phase 2 Convertible
Lot # S195 1964 Austin-Healey 3000 Mk III Phase 2 Convertible; S/N HBJ8L25453; Red/Black; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $45,000 -- Overdrive, chrome wire wheels, fender mirrors. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Crack by hood vent and small touched up stone chip. Otherwise like new and documented with its BMIHT Heritage Certificate. It's not surprising the seller didn't let go for this bargain basement bid. This is a $60,000 car even with its flaws.
1935 Bagley Cragar Special
Lot # S150 1935 Bagley Cragar Special; S/N Not Specified; Orange/Black leather; Competition restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $45,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $47,700 -- Black frame, suspension and wire wheels, knobby dirt track rear tires. Restored like new without going overboard. Good paint and upholstery. Some age but little use. Body by Joe Silnes, chassis by Floyd 'Pop' Dreyer. Miller-Schofield engine. Body reproduced by Joe Silnes for the David Uihlein collection. This is an historic sprint car with Leo Goosen-designed dohc 4-cylinder engine and chassis and body by two of the Midwest's foremost craftsmen. It would cost this much to restored a Ford-powered sprint car of the period. Handsomely restored and preserved, this is the real deal and it is a bargain at this price.
1937 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux Coupe
Lot # S146 1937 Bugatti Type 57 Ventoux Coupe; S/N 57345; Black, Blue/Brown leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $350,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $371,000 -- RHD. Sliding sunroof, tinted glass sun visors, rear-mounted spare, storage compartments in front fenders, Holley downdraft carburetor. Sound but ugly repaint. Front seats recovered; rears and door panels original and in good condition except for tear in rear seat back. Dirty, oily, grimy chassis and underbody. Needs a lot... or maybe just a thorough mechanical freshening. David Uihlein collection. This car was Mrs. Uihlein's daily driver. The Holley carburetor is important to the car's history, since her dad was one of the Holley brothers who started the carburetor company. This is heroic money for a Ventoux in this condition, but an important example both of the Type 57 and the people like David Uihlein who recognized their appeal when they were just gas-guzzling used cars.
1925 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia Roadster
Lot # S147 1925 Bugatti Type 23 Brescia Roadster; S/N 2743; Maroon/Black leather; Rebodied or re-created, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $230,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $243,800 -- RHD. Red wire wheels, Marchal headlights. Restored in 1980 with a body built by Joe Silnes in the late 70's and still very presentable with age mostly apparent in the nickel plating. Not driven across the block after damage in transport. 1980 Pebble Beach 'Most Elegant Open Car'. Includes new engine block and the original rear axle. David Uihlein collection. This is heroic money for a Bugatti Type 23, largely attributed to the quality of its restoration, re-body and presentation, and not a little to the outsized presence of its former owner, David Uihlein. A benchmark among Bugattis.
1981 Ferrari 512 BB
Lot # S091 1981 Ferrari 512 BB, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 38385; Black/Cream leather, Black stripes; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $115,000 -- Alpine cassette stereo, A/C, P/W, Michelin XWX tires. 17,984 miles. Quick, thick old repaint lifting along rain gutters and elsewhere. Good, clean upholstery with wear along driver's seat bolster piping. Clean original chassis and underbody. An unusually attractive and, other than the paint, well-maintained 512 BB that had been offered at RM's Ft. Lauderdale auction in March 2010 with a reported high bid of $80,000. It brought a serious premium on that here and could have been sold without regret at the reported high bid, or anything over $100,000 for that matter.
1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS
Lot # S088 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS; S/N 8272; Red/Tan leather, Black stripes; Unrestored original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $270,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $286,200 -- Becker AM-FM. Runs erratically; brakes drag. Good paint, chrome and interior. 2,915 miles from new, all original with recent thorough service, cleaning and detailing after 30 years in storage. This is one of the famed "stored 30 years in a Texas storage facility" cars that have been bandied about the Internet for the past six months. Aside from running like a lawnmower this Dino is in very good condition, but it brought a very serious price for its originality, low miles and history.
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta
Lot # S089 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta, Body by Pininfarina; S/N 14999; Maroon/Tan leather, Black stripes; Unrestored original, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $325,000 -- Voxson 8-track, P/W, A/C, chrome spoke Borranis. Badly cracked original paint, good chrome and interior. 9,761 miles from new, recently cleaned, serviced and detailed for the auction, but there was nothing that could be done for the paint. This is one of the "in a Texas storage facility for 30 years" cars that were widely offered as-found on the Internet over the past six months. Despite the relatively low miles, the reported high bid is all that could reasonably be justified for a Daytona in desperate need of a strip and repaint, thus depriving it of one of the important indicia of originality upon which its inferred value was based.
1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder Conversion
Lot # S162 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder Conversion, Body by Scaglietti; S/N 16869; Red/Black leather; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $300,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $318,000 -- Chrome spoke Borranis, Michelin X blackwalls, A/C, Alpine cassette, P/W. This Daytona was converted to a spyder after it was built, apparently by Scaglietti for its first retail owner, not for Ferrari. It's not a "Daytona Spyder", it's a conversion. It's been dragging that tail around for years, trying to convince folks it's something it isn't. It was sold here two years ago with 15 fewer miles on the odometer than the 26,623 it shows today for exactly the same price it brought today. It was expensive then; it's reasonable now, but still a 'cut' Daytona.
1967 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon
Lot # F183 1967 Ford Country Squire Station Wagon; S/N 7G74H134762; Ice Blue/Ice Blue vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $16,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $16,960 -- 390/270hp with three 2-barrel intake, automatic, add-on Ford A/C, pushbutton radio, remote mirror, 3-row seating, roof rails, 17" five-spoke Lakester alloy wheels with low profile tires, P/S, P/B. Quick old repaint on a solid car. Good interior and chrome. Built with a 2-barrel, the cosmetic restoration is well done and the equipment is -- even if it's not original -- an attractive addition. There are no arguments about the price of this car, which sold here a year ago for just a little less, $16,430, and is still a classy weekend driver or surf car. It is a sound value at this price.
1947 Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible
Lot # S115 1947 Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible; S/N 799A2011953; Black/Burgundy leather; Beige cloth top; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $285,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $302,100 -- Radio, heater, P/W, P/top, hubcaps, trim rings, wide whitewalls, dual remote spotlights, fog lights, grille guard. Excellent paint, chrome, interior and glass. Wood is flawless and looks new. Car is better than new everywhere. One owner from 1951-2004 and impeccable. This is a stunning, concours-ready, car and it brought a price that reflected its character. The new owner's family swarmed proudly over it after it crossed the block, about three generations of them: it was a family success story and even at this generous price their pride in it was more than enough to make it reasonable. It was a gratifying example of the core of car collecting.
1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod
Lot # S145 1930 Ford Model A Hot Rod; S/N A3923357; Washington Blue/Black leather; Customized restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $29,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $30,740 -- Model B four-cylinder, Riley 2-port head, two Strombergs, spare inset into rear deck, hydraulic brakes. Channeled and sectioned body, red 17" wire wheels, Momo leather rim steering wheel, dropped windshield. Built by Joe Silnes for David Uihlein. A driving rod with good paint, chrome and upholstery. David Uihlein collection. This is a superb street rod built by a master race car builder for David Uihlein. The bidding stalled just under $20,000 and only barely got this high. I've talked with someone who drove it and he was ecstatic about its handling and performance. The successful bidder got way more value than the money paid for this little gem.
1957 Ford Thunderbird Phase I D/F Convertible
Lot # S159 1957 Ford Thunderbird Phase I D/F Convertible; S/N D7FH202136; Inca Gold/Black, White; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $250,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $265,000 -- Steel wheels hubcaps, blackwall 7.50-14 Firestones, hardtop and cloth soft top, Town & Country radio, overdrive 3-speed, steering column mounted McCullough supercharger gauges. Restored like new. Represented as one of 15 built, 8 surviving, prototypes for the 1957 Thunderbird supercharged 'F-Bird'. Known history from new and judged perfect in Classic Thunderbirds competition. A significant Thunderbird offered by RM in Arizona in 2009 where it was a $190,000 no-sale, then reported sold by Mecum at Indy earlier this year at $275,600. The seller must be very disappointed by the Monterey bidders' reception for this car and the $50,000 or so loss these two transactions represent after commission and transport. Hmmmm.
1947 Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible
Lot # S166 1947 Ford Super Deluxe Sportsman Convertible; S/N 799A1691793; Pheasant Red/Dark Red leather; Black cloth top; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $152,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $161,650 -- Radio, heater, P/W, P/top, fog lights, trim rings, hubcaps, wide whitewalls. Cosmetically restored to good driving condition with preserved original wood which has been stained to cover defects and water stains. Scuffed window frames. Chassis has been cleaned up but not restored. Engine compartment attractively presented. Nicely preserved, even if the wood is ... flawed, this Sportsman has potential and illustrates the contrast between the meticulously restored example sold earlier today for $302,100 and this highly original if aged example. $140,000 will make it as beyond perfect as S115, but along the way the buyer of this Sportsman can enjoy driving it without obsessing over every stone chip and raindrop.
936 Frazer-Nash Emeryson TT Replica
Lot # S144 1936 Frazer-Nash Emeryson TT Replica; S/N 12; Engine # 4ED10598; Dark Green/Dark Red leather; Competition restoration, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $150,000 -- RHD. Single side-mounted spare, cycle fenders, body color painted wire wheels. Sound, used old restoration. It's hard to figure what this car was doing at Mecum's, even in Monterey. Its history and provenance need extensive explanation, which they didn't get here. Its chassis number is not in any Frazer-Nash sequence I've ever seen (maybe it's an Emeryson s/n?) Offered by the family who brought last year's Ferrari 250 TdF (s/n 1321) and this year's Maserati A6GCS. Maybe they like Mecum's commission rates, but you can't make soufflé from a scrambled eggs presentation.

Mecum Monterey 2011 – Auction Report Continued