Mecum Monterey 2013 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Del Monte Hyatt, Monterey, California, August 15-17, 2013

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

‘The Daytime Auction’ has now firmly established itself as an important part of the Monterey car week.

Mecum Auctions’ presence has been bolstered by a welcome consignment of old, classic, competition and high value cars but remains balanced, and in fact heavily weighted toward, reasonably priced cars accessible to great numbers of the spectators and day-trippers who flock to the Monterey peninsula for the week’s activities.

It’s free to get in (although that may not survive its popularity) and the Del Monte golf course is flooded with spectator cars. There is something inherently pleasing about Mecum’s presentation and openness that attracts spectators, positions them to see accessible collector cars and encourages them that the hobby is much more than the headline seven- and eight-figure cars that grab headlines.

That’s not to forget that it is a commercial success, with boxcar numbers changing hands. It also offers collectors whose access to the other Monterey auctions, particularly the high-roller sales at Bonhams, RM and Gooding, is limited or is discouraged by their insistence that modestly-valued cars be offered without reserve. To the vast majority of car collectors their $40 or $50 thousand Chevy, Dodge or Mustang is a major investment. Risking it at no reserve is something to be undertaken very carefully.

Mecum – and Russo and Steele – has filled that void, and done it successfully.

This year’s Mecum Monterey auction was marked by a number of high value offerings. They had a much lower closing rate than the more modestly-valued cars. It also featured a huge collection of midget, sprint and other oval track racers, the McMurrey Family collection of Mustangs and the Paul and Cheryl Dunkel collection. There was a lot to see.

Since posting the original results Mecum Auctions advised that the Ferrari 750 Monza s/n 0462MD was sold in the week following Monterey for $3,959,000 including commission ($3.7 million hammer.)

The report for that car has been revised to reflect the post-block sale. The overall sale results are re-stated below.

The question – entirely appropriate in my opinion – of revising results from those reported both on the block and in the auction companies’ subsequent results is worth exploring.

  • It costs a fortune to put on a quality collector car auction; every sale is important to covering the overhead.
  • The auction company retains the right to sell a consigned car for some period, usually 30 days, after the auction.
  • All the auction companies put immense effort into concluding as many sales as possible both during and after the sale, it’s their bread-and-butter and they should get credit for their successful efforts.
  • A $4 million transaction, even in the hyper-money Monterey environment, is significant, in this case adding 12.5% to Mecum’s three-day auction total.

The uncertainty is troubling, but is compensated by describing both the hammer bid at the sale and the ultimately reported transaction value. Had the Monza sale been in Mecum’s final results list (and they are among the best at reporting thoroughly, completely and quickly in contrast with some others who wait days to lard in as many post-sale results as possible) it would have been reported at face value without quibbling.

Revised Mecum Auctions Monterey results:

Mecum Auctions
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
Chg from prior year
735 / 376
599 / 348
743 / 444
428 / 208
234 / 104

$35.5 million is more than RM Auctions did as recently as 2005, and Gooding & Company achieved in 2006. That is no mean accomplishment with median transaction values around $40,000.

A cross-section look at Mecum Auctions’ Monterey cars follows.

Mecum Monterey 2013 – Auction Report

1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F061 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 138176K169266; White/Red; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $40,000 – 396/360hp, 4-speed, red line tires, 12-bolt rear end, power steering, power brakes, knee-knocker tach, from Richard Hubbard collection. — Recently updated, paint has no noticeable blemishes, front bumper chrome has a few minor cracks, headliner is sagging around rear window. A few tweaks away from perfect. — A desirable Chevelle, but its condition is no better than the amount reported as its high bid.
2000 Porsche 911 Carrera Millennium Edition Coupe
Lot # F061.1 2000 Porsche 911 Carrera Millennium Edition Coupe; S/N WP0AA2996YS620494; Violet Chromaflair Metallic/Natural Brown; 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $37,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $39,590 – Turbo Lock wheels, power sunroof, heated power seats, seats, remote CD changer, headlight washers, navigation system. — Original, well maintained, clean exterior with no visual imperfections, interior is as new, wheels scuff-free. Little-used collectible. — Number 80 of 911 built.
1962 Chevrolet Impala Coupe
Lot # F071.1 1962 Chevrolet Impala Coupe; S/N 21847L172375; Nassau Blue/Blue; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $52,500 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $56,175 – 409/409hp, dual quads, 4-speed, Strato bucket seats, 4.56 Positraction — Represented as ‘matching numbers’. Mostly original with some recent work done, bright paint shows no flaws, brightwork is aged and pitted, headliner is discolored but the rest of the interior is clean with mild wear. Dressed-up for auction, the inconsistent presentation is not reassuring. — Sold at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2010 for $53,000, offered at Mecum Dallas last September, the result here is consistent with the combination of equipment and presentation.
1958 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Lot # F075 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N J58S106599; Red, White coves/Black; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $65,000 – 283/245hp dual quads, 4-speed, radio, whitewall tires — Recent restoration, minor paint chips on rocker panels, small blemishes to brightwork, decent interior with a few quality issues around center speaker. Only fell short on some of the final touches but they are an important aspect of the attention paid to the restoration. — This is a good looked but not exceptional car that could have been sold for the reported high bid.
1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird
Lot # F091.1 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Superbird 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N RM23V0A175683; Blue, Black vinyl roof/Black; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $120,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $128,400 – 440/390hp Six Pack, 4-speed, Hurst shifter, P/S, P/B, Rally wheels, trim rings, F60-15 Polyglas GT tires, pushbutton radio — Represented as numbers-matching original engine. Recent show-quality restoration, great panel fit, superb paint, excellent vinyl top, window trim and rear bumper pitting, interior nearly good as new with only some minor paint chips. Just a few details away from being ready to show. — Offered at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction in January, then at Houston in April, the market caught up with the consignor here in Monterey and results in a reasonable price for an attractive Superbird.
1971 McLaren M8E Can Am
Lot # F093 1971 McLaren M8E Can Am; S/N Not specified; Orange, Blue stripes/Black; Competition restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $160,000 – Keith Black aluminum big block, Lucas mechanical fuel injection, — Raced by Roy Woods Racing driven by Vic Elford in 1971, crashed at Laguna Seca. Eventually rebuilt around a new tub and vintage raced by Benton Bryan and Elford. A little scratched up, with good historic racing patina and appears to be race-ready. — A desirable customer McLaren from the final years of the Can-Am’s glory years. It would be a sound value at anything close to the reported high bid.
1949 Mercury Sportsman Coupe
Lot # F097 1949 Mercury Sportsman Coupe; S/N 0072H497306; Red/Red; Customized restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $42,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $44,940 – Mercury flathead V-8, three Strombergs on an Offenhauser intake, lakes pipes, 3-speed, overdrive, dual spotlights, original radio — Stock body with custom details. Recent show-quality restoration, paint showing a few touch-ups, body panel fit is spot on, cracked driver’s window, rear bumper slightly chipped, interior in great condition aside from cracked radio glass and marks on seats. Gorgeous car with a few easy-to-fix cosmetic issues. Fixed it will be a show car. — Originally docketed as T095.1, sold on Friday with this lot number. Offered at Mecum Kissimmee a year ago, sold there last January for $58,300, then offered at Mecum Houston in April, at Indy in May and now finally found a new home here at this reasonable price for the buyer, but a notable loss for the seller. So much of a custom car’s value depends upon finding just the right bidder who is turned on by the builder’s concept of what is attractive. This car tried a long time to find that bidder, then appropriately took the money offered and moved on.
1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback
Lot # F100 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Fastback; S/N 9R02M171090; Lime Gold metallic, Black/Black; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $42,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $44,940 – 351/290hp, automatic, A/C, P/B, P/S, AM/FM radio, rear window louvers, hood pins — Relatively recent restoration, paint in fairly good shape but was sloppily finished above rain guards, engine is highly detailed, bumpers look great, interior is just about spotless. A gorgeous car in show-quality condition. — It’s unfortunate that the people who do the wet sanding so often don’t take the time to sand out the orange peel close to the gutters and around other body surface intersections. It’s just laziness, being unwilling to let go of the sander and pick up a block for a few minutes, but it frequently lets down an otherwise high quality car like this. The result here is appropriate for this car’s presentation and equipment. (photo: Mecum)

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  1. No surprise that lot F093, an alleged McLaren, had “serial number not specified”. That is because all the experts that I have consulted say that the car is a replica, built up many years after the fact. I understand that it most certainly was not the “Roy Woods/Vic Elford” car. The real Roy Woods Racing McLaren M8E driven in 1971 by Vic Elford is owned by Duncan McKellar, and is in Australia. Mecum Auctions does its credibility no good by offering cars that are not as described.