Mecum Original Spring Classic 2012 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Spring Classic, Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 15-20, 2012

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Since moving from the fields north of Belvidere, Illinois to Indianapolis, Mecum Auctions’ Spring Classic has grown nearly exponentially.

Even though the 2012 Spring Classic didn’t replace Mecum’s January Kissimmee auction, which Mecum reported as having over 2,000 cars, as the world’s largest collector car auction, the Spring Classic is mind-expanding in its size, the diversity of its consignments and the calm efficiency with which the Mecum staff and auctioneers run trainloads of cars (and gas pumps, neon and automobilia) across the auction block in days that begin mid-morning and continue late into the night.

Any car collector can find something, somewhere in the acres of tents, parking lots and exhibit halls that is at least intriguing, if not downright compelling.

And there are buyers. Real guys and gals with money at any hour of the day, on any day of the six-day sale. Some of the most exceptional results were reached on days and at times that defy conventional wisdom about how and where to sell at auction. There was no “prime time,” as 1963 Corvette 327/340hp Coupe, s/n 30837S103682, demonstrated, selling for $185,500 with commission in the early evening of Thursday’s sale.

Velocity [which recently changed its name from Discovery HD in no small part because of the popularity of its Mecum Auctions coverage] was on hand and live for 40+ hours, adding to the immediacy and excitement of the event.

About the only thing that could make the Indianapolis Spring Classic better would be if some intrepid restaurateur were to make the ample area behind the stands in the auction building into a full-menu sit-down restaurant, a place to relax and replenish with something other than “fair food” while monitoring the block action during the long days of widely divergent consignments. It would encourage bidders to stay on-site to soak up more of the non-stop, long day action.

This report would have been more timely except that I mishandled the results data file from Mecum and caused the database immense pain that took days to correct.

Mecum Spring Classic
Cars Offered / Cars Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
2012
1976 / 1322
66.9%
$37,755
$26,500 [70.2%]
$49,911,691
2011
1951 / 1244
63.8%
$39,138
$26,235 [67.0%]
$48,688,183
2010
1598 / 1011
63.3%
$41,948
$29,150 [69.5%]
$42,409,902
2009
1029 / 634
61.6%
$53,353
$28,680 [55.6%]
$33,825,543
2008
757 / 400
52.8%
$52,694
$26,250 [49.8%]
$21,077,679

The numbers have some telling implications.

Although the number of cars offered and the sell-through rate have increased steadily – although the number of cars has nearly reached the site’s reasonable capacity – the average and median transaction values have shown a contrasting decline. Forcing more cars through the pipeline implies a corresponding decline in the caliber of the cars offered.

Of the 1,322 lots reported sold 209, 15.8%, brought hammer prices of under $10,000. But that shouldn’t imply a lack of quality. Several were just very good values.

Mecum Original Spring Classic 2012 – Auction Report

Tuesday

1947 Diamond T 201 Panel Truck
Lot # G123 1947 Diamond T 201 Panel Truck; S/N 2012717; Tan/Tan leatherette; Truck restoration, 4+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $28,000 -- Orange wheels, blackwall tires, pine paneled box, dual rear tires, sliding windows behind loose, shaky doors. Quick orange peely paint and upholstery. Very superficial cosmetic redo. Car card says "all mechanics are perfect." That may be true, but unfortunately the rest of the Diamond T isn't even close to presentable, let alone perfect. Consensus on-site was that this was an old dairy truck (the dual rear tires.) Its cosmetic presentation was tawdry and sloppy and it should have been sold gladly at the reported high bid, or anywhere close to it.
1961 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Lot # G129 1961 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N DR6911181MO; Engine # T08191TAR; Maroon/Black vinyl; White vinyl top; Unrestored original, 4 condition; Hammered Sold at $34,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $36,040 -- WonderBar radio, 4-speed, Sun tach, spinner wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, tube headers. Bad old repaint, scuffed, scratched chrome, tried upholstery and top. Replacement engine, assigned VIN. A real piece of dreck. The seller must be overjoyed, the buyer not so much, at this result. The radio station that gave this troll away in a contest in 1983 must be in a very small market.
1966 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
Lot # G144 1966 Cadillac DeVille Convertible; S/N F6242505; Red/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $11,750 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $12,455 -- P/W, power bench seat, wire wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, skirts. Mostly original and tired but sound. Upholstery is dry and stiff. 'Needs everything' only starts to describe this Cadillac's condition. It is a restoration project waiting to happen at a price that doesn't leave close to enough headroom to pay for it.
1984 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider
Lot # G166 1984 Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider; S/N ZARBA5411E1019041; Cream/Black vinyl; Black cloth top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $4,500 plus commission of 6.67%; Final Price $4,800 -- Pyramid cassette stereo, roll bar, alloy wheels. Sound repaint, good interior, used car with edgy black painted sills. No Reserve. Sold at Kissimmee in January for $6,500 and bought here reasonably enough for the new owner to start to give it the attention it needs. Black painted sills are never a good sign and nothing about this Alfa refuted the caution they infer.
1930 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup
Lot # G171 1930 Ford Model A Roadster Pickup; S/N MVIN143562IND; Green, Black fenders/Black leatherette; Black leatherette top; Modified restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $15,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $15,900 -- Yellow wire wheels, blackwall tires, varnished oak bed floor and sideboards, single sidemount, windwings. Weber 2-barrel carb, engine gauges. Done everywhere and very nice. This is a bargain price, even with the downdraft Weber carb and the assigned VIN.
1987 Porsche 944 Coupe
Lot # G179 1987 Porsche 944 Coupe; S/N WP0AB0944HN473287; White/Brown; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $6,500 plus commission of 7.69%; Final Price $7,000 -- 5-synced, Blaupunkt cassette stereo, sunroof. Good original paint and interior. Badly cracked was fender chipguard. A clean original car. No Reserve. 944s are largely unloved as this result indicates. The car was reported sold at Mecum's Kissimmee auction in January for $8,500.
1960 Lincoln Premiere 4-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # G182 1960 Lincoln Premiere 4-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 0Y74H419509; Blue/Dark Blue vinyl, Blue cloth; Unrestored original, 4+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $6,000 -- Town & Country radio, altimeter, engine gauges, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls. Blotchy repaint, tired and faded original upholstery, steam cleaned engine. Needs most everything. A car that deserved to be ignored not least on account of the fact they're fabulously expensive to restore to any condition much better than this when starting from such a tired basis. It was rerun on Sunday as U187 with a reported high bid of $9,000.
1966 Cadillac DeVille Convertible
Lot # G207 1966 Cadillac DeVille Convertible; S/N F6174176; Gold/Black; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; Hammered Sold at $9,250 plus commission of 5.41%; Final Price $9,750 -- Tilt steering column, AM-FM, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, bucket seats, A/C, cruise control. Mostly original except for a quick old repaint. Right side is filled. Interior is dry and cracked. It will take a lot of time, money and effort to make this DeVille appreciably better than it is now, costs that make its price here appropriate. The filled side is more than a little troubling.
1965 Volkswagen Beetle
Lot # G241.1 1965 Volkswagen Beetle 2-Dr. Sedan; S/N 115032609; Sea Blue/Beige vinyl; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $9,000 plus commission of 5.56%; Final Price $9,500 -- Roof rack, sliding sunroof, narrow whitewalls, bumper overriders, Sapphire III radio, trim rings. Good older paint, chrome and interior. Old undercoat on underbody. Clean and orderly but not restored engine compartment. A sound cosmetically restored driver quality Beetle. A perfectly sound and usable Beetle and one that is a charming and charismatic entry into car collecting at a decidedly modest price.
1958 MG A Roadster
Lot # G247 1958 MG A Roadster; S/N HDR436608; 0E White/Red vinyl; Black cloth top; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $37,100 -- Chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, heater. Freshly restored and nearly like new except for some driver's seat covering stretch. Nice but not quite like new underhood. Right side filled. The price is a little better than the car, but not so much that it's unreasonable.
1964 Pontiac LeMans GTO
Lot # G260 1964 Pontiac LeMans GTO 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 824P200257; Engine # 571131 11H; White/Black vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 4+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $25,000 -- Tri-Power, 4-speed, Hurst shifter, woodrim steering wheel, vacuum gauge set in dash, tach strapped to steering column, bucket seats, no console, underdash engine gauges, Rally wheels, red line tires, no P/S or P/B. 11H engine, a 2-barrel Catalina 389. Quick old repaint over old paint. Oily original engine, chassis and underbody. A project car, but appears to be sound and straight. No documentation but comes with PHS paperwork A modestly desirable car that is forever hobbled by the engine block's source despite the Tri-Power intake. The seller should have taken the offer if there was money anywhere close to the reported high bid based on its condition and the amount of work it needs to be barely presentable.
1981 Citroen 2CV6 4-Dr. Convertible Charleston
Lot # G273 1981 Citroen 2CV6 4-Dr. Convertible Charleston; S/N AZKA71KA6280; Light Grey, Dark Grey fenders/Light Grey leatherette; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $15,000 -- Turn signals, heater, whitewalls, hubcaps, trimmings, folding black vinyl roof. excellent paint, chrome and interior. Restored better than new with some subsequent use but still outstanding for what it is and represented as 48,248 miles from new. Exceptionally cute and also rare, it should have brought Fiat Jolly money, i.e., twice as much as this bid.
1960 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
Lot # G278 1960 Chevrolet Impala Convertible; S/N 01867H191714; Black/Black, White vinyl herringbone; White vinyl top; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $50,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $53,000 -- 348/335hp, Tri-Power, 3-speed, pushbutton radio, P/S, P/B, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, rear antenna, power trunk release. No engine number. Pretty underhood but the body is filled and starting to pop on the right front fender. Vinyl herringbone is tacky. Fair chrome. The big Tri-Power 348, 3-speed stick and power steering and brakes mark this as an exceptional Impala. Unfortunately the attention it has received doesn't measure up to the quality of the underlying car and will soon require some attention, not least of which should be trashing that trashy vinyl herringbone. The price is appropriate to the car's quality and presentation, but it could, and should, be much better.
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air
Lot # G279 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N VC55S107981; Engine # 55G; Light Blue, Metallic Blue roof/Blue, Beige vinyl; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $45,000 -- 265/162hp now with a 4-barrel, 3-speed, P/B, pushbutton radio, hubcaps, wide whitewalls, oil filter. Excellent paint, chrome and interior. Like new underhood and underbody. A sharp, fresh, impressive Bel Air. A nice little car, but one that could have been sold at the reported high bid. Re-run Saturday as S314.1 with a high bid of $42,000.
1961 Chevrolet Parkwood Station Wagon
Lot # G283 1961 Chevrolet Parkwood Station Wagon; S/N 11635L174445; Green/Green vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $20,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $21,200 -- 283/230hp, Powerglide, pushbutton radio, heater, three row seats, wheel covers, whitewalls, side window visors, P/S, no P/B. Good cosmetics, engine compartment nearly like new. An attractive wagon ready to be used with pride. It wouldn't be out of line to hold that this Parkwood 4-door wagon received a better restoration than its inherent desirability warranted. In the end the new owner got an unusual car at an unusually low price, especially these days when wagons are finding a wider audience. A good value.
1962 Oldsmobile Starfire
Lot # G285 1962 Oldsmobile Starfire 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 626A02829; Chariot Red, White accent/Red, Burgundy vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $18,000 -- 395.345hp, automatic, P/S, P/B, spinner wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, pushbutton radio. A quick cosmetic redo with decent paint and chrome but cracked, torn original upholstery and a superficial touchup under the hood. With the amount of work this Starfire needs to rise to the standards of its exclusivity and performance the bidding stopped at a prudent point. Any more than this, and even at this bid, and the work it needs -- not to mention the work that would be revealed during the 'while we're at it' process -- would soon make it a financial sinkhole. Re-run Thursday where it was reported bid to $19,000.
2000 Ferrari 550 Maranello
Lot # G305 2000 Ferrari 550 Maranello; S/N ZFFZS49A0Y0118275; Titanium Gray/Oxblood leather; Unrestored original, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $60,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $63,600 -- 6-speed. Clean used car. 41,758 miles look real. Minor driver's seat bolster wear and surface creasing. Clean Carfax. Timing belt serviced in the last 12 months and 2,700 miles on the tires. From over $200,000 to this in twelve years, and still a fast, comfortable pretty car. It was displayed out in the field with the Alfa Spider, Porsche 944 and old Cadillac DeVilles, just another used exotic, and brought an appropriate price for what it is.
1956 Cadillac Eldorado
Lot # G314 1956 Cadillac Eldorado 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 5662001713; Silver/Red, White leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $29,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $31,270 -- WonderBar radio, power bench seat, Autronic Eye, polished Sabre wheels, whitewalls. Orderly underhood with correct batwing air cleaner. Faulty brake booster with numerous notes to alert the lineup crew so they don't crash it. Cracked steering wheel trim. Generally tired and aged. Fair old repaint, sound interior, scuffed chrome. Good windowsill chrome trim. A sound car with potential, but needs help. This result is a little rich, but not enough to inflict more than a passing twinge in the new owner's wallet. It is inherently a lot of car and will be proudly driven once it's had some needed attention.

Wednesday

1948 International KB-2 Pickup
Lot # W062.1 1948 International KB-2 Pickup; S/N 65610; Green, Black fenders/Green leatherette; Unrestored original, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $6,000 plus commission of 8.33%; Final Price $6,500 -- A real working truck with faded original paint, graphics and welded up bed floor. Turn signals, old Dayton fire extinguisher, heater, bed-mounted spare, Brody knob, dual wipers, sunvisors. Upholstery and tires have been replaced but not much else (except the oil, changed in March according to the sticker on the door post.) A choice piece. I would have paid twice for this International, but maybe that's because my dad worked for a company that owned an International dealer and we sometimes borrowed pickups like this on weekends back when I could barely see over the dashboard. Its originality is almost beyond charming. People kept stopping to admire it and restoration would ruin it. A serious value, even if your dad didn't work for LIPCO.
1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Lot # W116 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 2V87T4N137359; Buccaneer Red/Black vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $17,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $18,020 -- 455, 4-speed, P/W, JVC CD stereo, Rally II wheels, P/S, A/C, tilt steering column, Radial T/A tires. Mediocre paint, good original interior, unsafe old seat belts, chassis squirted with black. Straight body with no apparent repairs. Described as having an 'upgraded SD455 engine'. Sold here three years ago for $21,250, it brought no more today than its condition and modifications deserved.
1979 Pontiac Trans Am
Lot # W119 1979 Pontiac Trans Am 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 2W87K9N129575; Pewter Silver/Red velour; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $11,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $11,660 -- 403, automatic, A/C, shaker hood, snowflake alloy wheels, Polysteel radial tires, P/W, AM-FM-8-track. Ziebart plugs in sills. Straight and fairly clean, a sound car with a decent repaint in a '72 Corvette color with bawdy house velour upholstery. No Reserve. To be worth this much the new owner has to have had some adolescent memory of Smokey and the Bandit and tire smoking Trans Ams.

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Show Comments (3)

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  1. Rick – Another great auction report. I always enjoy the ones with photos, and all the time and effort that you put in is appreciated.

  2. 85 – …………, Quebec, CDN
    8. – …………., FL, USA
    8./late – rebodied as Drogo replica by Allegretti, Modena,
    90 – Roger Willbanks, CO, USA
    S/N 4769GT…………..IIRC built on a 250GT chassis

    Piero Drogo is famous for the “Breadvan” and the rebodied S/N 3445 owned by race driver Ulf Norinder (long and odd history)…….3445 was recently wrecked in France (will be rebuilt, but at 30+million I sure would). A beautiful GTO esp in it blue/yellow Swedish livery…..The Drogo body (now on a 250GT) was also beautiful is midnight blue……….