Mecum Auctions, Hyatt Regency, Monterey, California, August 16-18, 2012
Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
This was Mecum’s fourth year at Monterey, an expansion which many considered risky at best and foolish at worst. The Mecum team has shown that it was intelligently conceived and nearly flawlessly executed and the Mecum auction now captures the third highest sale total on the Peninsula.
It takes a lot of hard work to put on a three-day sale with 559 cars, motorcycles and automobilia (‘Road Art’ in Mecum-speak) but Mecum continues to pull it off ever more effectively. The numbers – like the 85.4% increase in the mean transaction value – tell an interesting story.
There were a number of headline consignments, notably the 1972 SCCA Can-Am Championship winning Porsche 917/10 sold for $5,000,000, $5,830,000 with commission and the 71-bike collection of MV Agustas that were auctioned in a single lot but fell short of reserve at $800,000.
The Porsche attracted similar consignments, both Can-Am cars like Don Nichols’ one race, as-new Shadow DN4 and truckloads of Porsches.
The Mecum crew exhibits a bit of flair and fun from time to time, a hint that they really like what they’re doing. The hint in Monterey was a tent full of nothing but red cars. Not ‘red’ in the Italian sense, but red in color including Cord, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz.
The cars reported here are predominantly the higher end and race cars displayed in the main tent and some of the outlying preview tents. We’ll have many more, and more diverse, cars in the second tranche of auction reports that will be added here soon.
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Mecum Monterey 2012 – Auction Report
Lot # T087.1 1965 Merlyn Mk 6A Sports Racer; S/N 85RS; White, Gold stripe/Black; Competition restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $50,000 — RHD. Good paint, sound older upholstery. Neat, tidy vintage racer with a replacement chassis, Lotus twin cam, Weber 45DCOE carbs, billet crank, Carillo rods, alloy pistons, 5-speed Hewland Mk 9 transaxle, driver’s rollbar and wraparound Plexiglas windshield and side windows. An F/modified giant killer ready to go racing with someone new which at this price it should have found.
Lot # F132 1957 Porsche 356 Speedster, Body by Reutter; S/N 82856; Engine # P63442; Red/Tan leather, Red piping; Tan cloth top; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $157,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $166,420 — Bumper overriders, chrome wheels, dual outside mirrors, 1600cc engine from 1956, as is the body. Accurately and attractively restored and maintained, completed earlier this year. Good paint over filled body. Excellent chrome and interior. This is a competently restored and presented Speedster that isn’t too good to be driven. It was offered by Mecum at Indy in 2010 but didn’t sell at a bid of $127,000, then was reported sold at Indy in 2011 for $127,200. The restoration reportedly was completed subsequently. While the body filler is unsettling it’s not uncommon in Porsches of this era and the price it brought intelligently compromises the issues with the quality and presentation.
Lot # F138 1936 Cord 810 Convertible Coupe Sportsman; S/N 8102386; Red/Black leather; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $155,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $164,300 — Cord fog lights, wide whitewalls, radio. A good older restoration showing a little age but not much use. Very good paint, chrome and interior. One of the most rare and sought Cord body styles, a dramatic contrast with the bread-and-butter Westchester and Beverly sedans. This is a sound and presentable car that should reward its next owner with pride of place at any ACD gathering.
Lot # S041 1957 Jaguar XK 140 Roadster; S/N S812485; Red/Tan leather; Older restoration, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $76,000 — Moto-Lita 4-spoke woodrim steering wheel, chrome wire wheels, 225/70R16 Goodyear radial tires, windwings, Lucas driving lights, fender mirrors. Sound paint, chrome and interior. Dirty engine begging for detailing, driver’s door cap leather discolored from use. Road grime on chassis. Authentically wavy bodywork. A used driver that could be much better after a thorough detailing. Reported sold by RM at St. Johns a month ago for $63,250, a gift to the consignor there who neglected its presentation shamelessly. If there was money for this car anywhere on the Hyatt golf course the seller should have taken it with gratitude.
Lot # S084 1932 Alvis Speed 20 SA 4-Door Tourer, Body by Cross & Ellis; S/N 14697; Engine # 10461; Ivory, Grey fenders/Red leather; Black cloth top; Older restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $125,000 — RHD. Red wire wheels, blackwall tries, dual sidemounts, wind wings, folding windshield, Lucas driving light, Andre Telecontrol shocks, huge wind wings, cutdown doors. Restored to like new condition with little evidence of subsequent use and a CCCA Senior winner. No longer fresh, but still attractive. Not many collectors credit Alvis for the exceptional cars they built, which is unfortunate. This is a sound, presentable and probably highly usable example of Alvis’s Speed model with triple carbs. While it should impart some important distinction to its next owner and has particularly sporting and unusual coachwork it will always require explanation and that makes this a reasonable bid for it at least in the US.
Lot # S087 1931 Auburn 8-98 Boattail Speedster; S/N GU63191; Beige, Brown accent/Brown leather; Older restoration, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $122,500 — Chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires, single Pilot-Ray. An older restoration that has seen many subsequent miles. Paint is sound but old, so is the upholstery. Chassis and underbody are grimy. Usable but not pretty. A tired older restoration of a less-desirable Auburn model that could have been sold for the reported high bid.
Lot # S094 1939 Bentley 4 1/4 Liter Sunroof Coupe, Body by Vanvooren; S/N B132LS; Dark Blue/Dark Blue leather; Cosmetic restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $330,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $349,800 — RHD. Wheel discs, rear mounted spare, blackwall tires, sliding sunroof, roof rack mounts, Marchal headlights and fog light, fender mirrors, radio but antenna is broken. Sound but mediocre old repaint, good chrome. Cracked and torn original upholstery that is well beyond being described as patina. Chassis given some paint but little other attention. Good interior wood. There is nothing about being ‘sympathetically restored’ on this Bentley, but it still has particularly attractive coachwork that looks every bit the part of a rakish Continental tourer ready to gobble miles of autoroute with style and panache. It has serious concours potential, but needs a lot, a whole lot, to realize it. The price it brought is ample.
Mecum Monterey 2012 – Auction Report Page Two
Lot # S095 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Alloy Berlinetta; S/N 08143; Engine # 08143; Red/Black leather; Recent restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $1,100,000 — Centerlock alloy wheels, Michelin XWX tires, full tool roll. Long nose body, represented as matching numbers with complete ownership history from new. Includes four new Borrani wire wheels and handbook. Fresh paint and major chrome but window and door trim not done. Good new interior. Paint job quality is mediocre with visible flaws. Underbody is clean but unexceptional. Visibly deficient in presentation and preparation, the seller should still be reconsidering declining this bid if there was money behind it. There is real potential here, but there is a ways to go to realize it.
Lot # S097 1954 Ferrari 750 Monza Spider, Body by Scaglietti; S/N 0462MD; Red/Faded Blue cloth; Competition car, original as-raced, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $2,800,000 — RHD. 857 engine installed, original block (but not much else) and a transaxle included, passenger’s seat hard cover, driver’s windshield, 5- speed gearbox, silver painted wire wheels. Freshly serviced. Old upholstery worn through. Edge cracked paint. Never really restored, erratic paint, good chassis and engine. A plain old race car. This is a hard sell at Mecum unless the seller is willing to accept a haircut or prepared to spend the time and money to bring it back to its original configuration. Leaving a lot of ‘promise’ to bidders isn’t calculated to achieve a generous price and this bid makes sense for what was on offer at the Hyatt.
Lot # S101 1908 Simplex 50 Speedcar Roadster; S/N 211; Maroon/Black leather; Concours restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $1,900,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $2,014,000 — RHD. Condor bulb horn, Warner speedometer and clock, Solar kerosene side lights, dual rear spares with round Sages luggage, Solar Type 796 acetylene headlights, 610 cubic inch T-head four, Simplex carburetor, Bosch magneto, double chain drive. Older show quality restoration with excellent paint, good upholstery and brilliant brass. Described as the oldest known surviving Simplex. Freshly restored and nearly impeccable. At this price the bidders plainly accepted the auction’s representation that this is the oldest known Simplex. Its condition and presentation are nearly concours-fresh and it has to be an endorphin-producing ride no matter what its history. In the absence of evidence of the originality of its configuration the new owner had to accept it for what is, a bit of a stretch at this price. (photo: Mecum)
Lot # S103 1934 Packard 1107 Twelve Convertible Sedan; S/N 110774313; Dark Red, Maroon accent/Dark Red leather; Black cloth top; Older restoration, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $180,000 — Chrome wire wheels, wide whitewalls, dual enclosed sidemounts with mirrors, radiator stoneguard, trunk rack. An older restoration to like new condition with age and use. A few edge cracks but still presentable. A good tour car. Offered by RM in Arizona earlier this year and reported sold for $180,000. No wonder it didn’t get cut loose here in Monterey.
Lot # S110 2008 Cadillac CTS-V Factory Race Car; S/N SOLD ON BILL OF SALE; Black, Red, White/Black; Competition car, original as-raced, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $180,000 — As raced, clean and orderly as expected for a factory race team car. Extensively modified and reconfigured with few factory parts other than the floor pan, steel roof and rear suspension. Eligible for SCCA racing where it should be a contender after preparation and safety checks. Still, a similar thrill is available at 1/6 the price with a road racing configured NASCAR cup car.
Lot # S123 1972 Porsche 917/10 Spyder; S/N 003; White “L&M”/Black; Competition restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $5,500,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $5,830,000 — The 1972 SCCA Can-Am championship winning twin turbo 917/10 driven by Mark Donohue and George Follmer. Attested extensively by Penske’s chief mechanic ‘Woody’ Woodward and documented with one of the best single-car books Monterey has seen [written by Stephen Cox, to give credit where it’s due.] Cleaned up and, visually at least, race ready. Breathtakingly powerful and singularly important in American (and Porsche) racing history, this is if anything a modest price for this car’s performance, appearance and history. It is the single car that ended McLaren’s domination of the Can-Am, and unfortunately set Can-Am on the path to irrelevance as the pinnacle of ‘run whatever you want’ road racing and a sound value at this price especially with an indifferent result GT40/Mirage selling for $11 million this weekend.
Lot # S128 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing; S/N 1980405500637; Engine # 1989805500630; Red/Black leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $675,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $715,500 — Red fitted luggage, polished alloy wheels, Black fitted luggage, Nardi woodrim hinged steering wheel, Becker Mexico radio, bumper overriders. Fresh paint and chrome and the top of the engine is done but the compartment it sits in is aged and neglected. Doors fit well. Dressed up for the auction, but still tacky under the new outfit. Sold by RM in Boca Raton in 2004 for $211,325 with rust bubbles and indifferent presentation. It’s better today but still not a particularly attractive Gullwing, just a presentable driver that offers little confidence of its mechanical condition. As such this result is a major success. Driven for a while, it will soon demand comprehensive work which will quickly become a ‘while it’s apart’ restoration and put the owner underwater.
Mecum Monterey 2012 – Auction Report Page Three
Lot # S129 1974 Shadow DN4 Can-Am; S/N DN4-4A; Black “UOP”/Black; Competition car, original as-raced, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $350,000 — RHD. One race from new, the 1976 Mosport World Sports Car Championship which needed fresh blood to fill the field. Driven there by Jacky Ickx it sat on the pole, set the lap record and led every lap, then was retired again to Don Nichols’ dry storage facility in California where it has resided for the last thirty-six years. Freshly cleaned up and polished but essentially unused and completely original. The 494 cubic inch 800 hp fuel injected Chevy runs, loudly, and has been freshly serviced. Offered directly from Don Nichols’ Advanced Vehicle Systems. How many Can-Am cars come from the ownership of their original race team? ‘None’ is the probable answer, but this one does. Its competence has been demonstrated, albeit a third of a century ago, and it’s not surprising Don Nichols decided to take it back home to Salinas. What is it worth? A lot more than this.
Lot # S134 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Trans Am Race Car; S/N 18159; School Bus Yellow, Black stripe/Black; Competition restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $300,000 — White painted 8-spoke alloy wheels, Jones tach, SW gauges. A real Bud Moore Boss 302 built from a body in white for the 1971 season and driven by Peter Gregg with five podium finishes. Known history since, twice restored and sharp in Moore’s School Bus Yellow. Clean, fresh and sharp with good cosmetics. Orderly inside and out. A serious race car. Sold by RM in Monterey in 2003 for $343,200, then by Gooding in Scottsdale in 2009 for $407,000, this bid is patently insufficient for the car’s history and preparation.
Lot # S135 1970 Lola T165 Can-Am; S/N SL165-22; Red/Black; Competition restoration, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $350,000 — RHD. High wing, Chapparal 900hp engine. Carl Haas team car, later driven by PL Newman and Jack Hinkle. 1990’s restoration by Bruce Canepa. Used vintage racecar. Chaparral valve covers, throttle body FI. Potentially breathtaking but not ready to be raced. Mecum couldn’t ignite a fire under the Can-Am cars in Monterey, surprising since this is the best road racing car market in North America. This result bears no relationship to the underlying value of this Lola.
Lot # S136 1936 Auburn 852 Supercharged Boattail Speedster; S/N 35364E; Cadet Grey/Beige leather; Black cloth top; Older restoration, 2+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $625,000 — Berge painted wire wheels, blackwall tires, radio. A-C-D certified, Pebble Beach 2006, AACA Senior 2007. Still show quality. Particularly attractive colors and impeccably presented. An example of the most desirable Auburn around with thorough documentation and an exceptional restoration in choice colors, but the reported high bid is an accurate representation of its value and it could have been sold at the reported bid.
Lot # S142 1971 McLaren M8E Can-Am; S/N None; Orange, Blue stripe/Black; Competition restoration, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $135,000 — RHD. Crashed by Vic Elford driving for Roy Woods at Laguna Seca in 1971. Later restored with a replacement tub by Benton Bryan, powered by a Keith Black aluminum Chevy with Lucas fuel injection. An orderly vintage racecar not used in a few years. It would probably cost as much as the high bid here to get this car thoroughly checked before experiencing its prodigious power, let alone campaign it on a few historic race weekends. For its performance (and presence) anything close to the reported bid would be modest indeed.
Lot # S151 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spider; S/N 14857; Red/Black leather, Red stripes; Visually maintained, largely original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $1,050,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $1,113,000 — Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Michelin X tires, popup lights, Becker Mexico cassette, A/C. 21,185 miles from new. Good paint, chrome and interior but the underbody is covered in old undercoat, just like it came from Maranello. An experience auction car offered at Christie’s Pebble Beach in 1992 with a no-sale bid of $480,000, sold here by Mecum in 2010 for exactly the same price it brought today, with a brief interlude on the docket but not seen at Mecum Indy earlier this year. At this price it’s a sound value that deserves a new home where it will get some use
Lot # S155 1930 Duesenberg Model J Limousine, Body by Willoughby; S/N 2402; Engine # J-306; Green/Beige leather; Older restoration, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $350,000 — Chrome wire wheels, dual sidemounts with strap on mirrors, whitewalls, driving light, luggage rack, dual taillights, rollup division, jump seats, flower pattern carpets. Firewall #2402, no visible frame number, engine # J-306 (originally J-383.) ACD Category 1 certified. Good repaint looks newer than the restoration. Good chrome with minor weak trim items. Oily residue and road grime on chassis. Old interior is sound but aged and discolored. Sound but aged interior wood. Interior trim chrome is aged and worn off on some door handles. Paint touched up on windshield post cracks. A sound but aged and toured old restoration. Back for another bit at the apple, this luxuriously bodied Willoughby Limo Duesenberg J reprised its no-sale result at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction earlier this year. Without some serious attention it’s going to languish in this price range and the owner ought to get the clue. Find real money and let it go.
Lot # S178 1965 Maserati Tipo 151 Replica Coupe; S/N AM107252; Red, White stripe, Silver sills/Black vinyl; Facsimile restoration, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $150,000 — RHD. Chrome spoke Borrani wire wheels, Avon blackwall tires, fire system, Maserati V-8, four Webers, covered headlights and driving lights. Based on an early Quattroporte (AM107) chassis and 4.7 liter engine with 5-speed, disc brakes and deDion rear suspension. Flawed, blistered fiberglass bodywork and paint. Clean but aged inside. A well-used vintage race car acceptable wherever replicas are overlooked. The bodywork is, well, loosely based on the Tipo 151 and it’s not hard to imagine the fun this Maserati can be, but it’s probably not $150,000 worth of fun.
Lot # S185 1950 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible; S/N 506243811; Light Gold/Beige leather; Beige vinyl top; Visually maintained, largely original, 5+ condition; Hammered Sold at $39,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $41,340 — An awful, despicable, reprehensible car with too many flaws to be described. Hideous. One of the worst cars to be offered at a respectable auction in years with a lumpy body, mismatched paint distinguished by sags and runs, discolored chrome and an interior that’s scary to touch. Described as a ‘Frame-up restoration just completed’ it must have been done in the dark with a vacuum cleaner powering the spray gun. RM offered this car at St. Johns last month but the bidders showed no interest in it. It passed into oblivion only to turn up here in Monterey. It might be worth $8,000 as a parts car. It is horrible, without a single redeeming feature except a VIN number.
[Source: Rick Carey]
great coverage Rick with insiteful commentary. It seems like market forces are at work – with few exceptions, a near perfect vehicle and presentation are necessary to bring top dollar. And some interesting bargains to be had as well ! thanks !
Love the honesty, the review on the Cadillac is frank, to say the least. At some auctioneers, one might expect such a car to be weeded out, or at least the information to be presented more accurately. Sad to see this is not the case at RM or Mecum. Such an issue is exactly what keeps more interested, yet novice buyers as myself on the sideline.
The essence of the auction process is that the bidder is charged with the responsibility for examining the product and deciding what, if any, price to bid, a qualification that applies in any buyer-seller situation. The auction company isn’t the guarantor of the article, or the representation.
While I agree in principle that Mecum would have done itself a favor by turning the Cadillac away at the door, on the other hand not all buyers expect, or want to pay for, a pristine ready-to-show car. Some, in fact, are looking for a project to adopt and nurture
The situation at any live auction is much better than buying on-line: at least the bidders have the chance to see the car, slam the doors, open the hood, smell the interior and kick the tires.
All the auction companies have a range of cars on offer. Even the most hoity-toity sometimes has to accept a [sub-] marginal car from a good consignor or as part of a package consignment with one or more particularly desirable cars.
It’s not an excuse, but it is a reason.
C’mon out and look at the cars. They’ll talk to you and it’s not difficult to separate the good from the bad.
Rick, Thanks, I’m planning to go to Mecum in Kissimee in January for my first taste as a potential buyer. I went to Barrett-Jackson in West Palm in April as an observer, which was a lot of fun! Thanks and hope to meet you somewhere along the way.
Rick is right when he says that the bidders on the Simplex plainly accepted the auction’s representation that it is the oldest known Simplex. Unfortunately, among many Simplex owners this faux automobile created quite a stir when it was assembled from various parts years ago with the sheet metal done for the car at that time.