Mecum Original Spring Classic 2013 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Original Spring Classic, State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana, May 14-19, 2013

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

It is amazing how many collector cars (maybe better characterized as ‘collectible cars’) keep coming out of the woodwork to auctions across the country.

Nowhere is that better reflected than in the marathon sessions orchestrated by Mecum Auctions where cramming nearly 2,000 cars into a 6- or 8-day session has become a hallmark. The Spring Classic held in Belvidere, Illinois for years but moved to the capacious grounds of
the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis since 2008 is case in point.

It flirts with 2,000 cars regularly and despite the sheer volume never loses its excitement.

There is something for everyone – except collectors of high horsepower antiques and European exotics – but mostly a never-ending succession of high output American Muscle and Pony cars. It becomes, let it be said, somewhat mind-numbing to see so many cars of quality, history, provenance and excellent restoration in a single place. ‘One of one’ becomes almost a mantra, and there are simply wonderful things hiding in plain sight throughout the multiple buildings and tents on the State Fairgrounds.

Without doubt, the highlight this year was the Shelby Mustang GT500 Super Snake powered by a GT40-spec 600hp, 427 cubic inch engine built as both a test car for a run of similar Super Snakes and for testing Firestone Thunderbolt tires. Hammered sold for $1.3 million, $1,391,000 with commission, it set a benchmark for Shelby Mustangs that will stand for a long time even though it was nearly equaled by the movie-driven Eleanor from the remake of ‘Gone in Sixty Seconds’ at $1 million hammer, $1,070,000 with commission.

Mecum’s Spring Classic at Indianapolis is an orgy of American car history in the middle years of the 20th century, a staggering presentation that nevertheless brings buyers flocking to take home something they’ve always dreamed of driving. And there’s no shortage of choices, in itself something of a mixed blessing.

My choice this year was the ’58 Oldsmobile Super 88 Hardtop with J-2 three deuce intake and 3-speed column shift manual transmission. Different? Oh, yes, but emblematic of so many other different and unusual cars at Mecum’s Spring Classic.

And a lot of choice, rare and powerful American Muscle.

Mecum Spring Classic
Cars Offered / Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
1717 / 1135
$27,560 [65.5%]
1976 / 1322
$26,500 [70.2%]
1951 / 1244
$26,235 [67.0%]
1598 / 1011
$29,150 [69.5%]
1029 / 634
$28,680 [55.6%]
757 / 400
$26,250 [49.8%]

Mecum Indianapolis Original Spring Classic 2013 – Auction Report

1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F010 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 136370K121104; Engine # T1001CKO; Red, White stripes/Red vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $45,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $48,150. – 402/375hp L78, 4-speed, Positraction, P/S, P/B, buckets and console, Hurst shifter, sport steering wheel, Rally II wheels, Eagle ST tires, pushbutton radio – Represented as matching numbers. Thoroughly restored to nearly like new condition. Good paint and interior. Decent chrome and stainless. Good dash and instruments. A pretty, and pretty rare, Chevelle. – This very nicely restored and presented SS 396, with a properly-stamped and reportedly numbers-matching L78 and 4-speed, would still have been a sound value at $55,000. At this price it is a good value and should make the new owner very happy.
1967 Pontiac Grand Prix Convertible
Lot # F022 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix Convertible; S/N 266677X128234; Engine # 212951 XH; Blue/Pearl leatherette; White vinyl top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $38,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $40,660. – 400/335hp, automatic, P/S, P/B, buckets and console, 8-lug wheels with trim rings, narrow whitewalls, pushbutton radio, power antenna, remote mirror, skirts, underhood trouble light – Thoroughly documented including Protect-o-Plate, original window sticker, bill of sale and more. Good repaint, interior, chrome and engine compartment, highly original except for paint, and unusually well presented. – Reported sold at Mecum Kissimmee in 2010 for $47,700, the shipper’s sticker identifies it as headed for Walworth, WI, home of Mecum Auctions. It is a good car, and unusually well documented. As the car card notes, 1967 is the only year Pontiac offered a convertible GP. It isn’t one of the GP’s most attractive years, but is plenty attractive enough to support the price paid for it.
1970 Plymouth 'Cuda Convertible
Lot # F033 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda Convertible; S/N BS27V0B103564; Hemi Orange/Black; Black leatherette top; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $56,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $59,920. – 440/390hp Six Barrel, automatic, P/S, P/B, AM-FM, Rally wheels with trim rings, Radial T/A tires, console, gauges – Restored to nearly like new condition with very good paint, chrome, interior and top. Shows a little age but not much use. Paint has a few fisheyes. More than just good enough. – Nearly as powerful as a Hemi, and more economical both to buy and to drive, this is a very desirable and well equipped ‘Cuda convertible that brought a representative price.
1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega Coupe
Lot # F076 1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega Coupe; S/N 1V77E5U261066; Black, Gold accents/Black; Unrestored original, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $20,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $21,400. – AM-FM – One decent repaint on a 793 mile car, never titled and offered with the original MSO. – This really is a time capsule, new in just about every sense of the word except for the paint – and all Cosworth Vegas had bad paint that needed to be redone. This is a niche collector car, if there ever was one, but at this price the new owner can afford to wait for a larger body of collectors to wake up to the CosVeg’s technical sophistication and good chassis dynamics.
1965 Sunbeam Tiger Convertible
Lot # F086 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Convertible; S/N B9471147LRXFE; Carnival Red/Black, Red piping; Black Everflex top; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $67,500 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $72,225. – 260/164hp, 4-speed, silver steel wheels, Vredestein blackwall tires, burl wood dashboard facing – Beautiful, fresh, thorough, better than new. It is impossible to fault this car, which is represented as matching numbers, too. – Tiger values are being pulled along by rapidly accelerating values for Cobras and now represent the only was to get a piece of the Shelby/Ford V-8 legend at a price approachable by ordinary mortals. When people say “buy the best car you can afford” this Tiger is what they mean, a car that has had intimate attention lavished upon every nut, bolt and fitting. As Tigers go it pushes the value envelope, but it also should be supremely satisfying to its new owner, and that makes it a sound value at this price.
1958 Oldsmobile Super 88 J-2 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F151.1 1958 Oldsmobile Super 88 J-2 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 588M287286; Red, White accent/Red, White vinyl; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $43,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $46,010. – J-2 three two-barrels, P/B, 3-speed, Transportable radio, skirts, flipper wheel covers, whitewalls – Good older cosmetic restoration, recently cleaned up underhood with a steam cleaner that removed some chassis paint. Sound acres of major chrome, lightly scuffed stainless. Good interior and glass. A rare, fast and attractive older restoration with some miles. – J-2 engined Oldsmobiles are rare and desirable enough when they’re backed up by a Hydramatic, but the 3-speed makes this almost unbelievably rare and a real choice driver. If it were mine I might commit sacrilege and cut a hole in the floor for a Hurst shifter, but beyond that it is a sweet driver and an object of wonder that brought a reasonable price for its specifications and condition, which is good enough to be highly presentable but not so good it can’t be driven.
1957 Pontiac Star Chief Safari 2-Dr. Station Wagon
Lot # F158 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Safari 2-Dr. Station Wagon; S/N P757H68576; Light Green, Metallic Olive roof and accent/Ivory, Olive vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $48,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $51,360. – 347/290hp Tri-Power, automatic, P/S, P/B, pushbutton radio, flipper wheel covers, whitewalls – Good mostly original paint. Roof has a new clearcoat repaint. Major chrome redone. Good trim chrome and stainless, good original(?) interior. Engine compartment and chassis are orderly but aged. A sweet, rare car. – Far more rare than a Nomad, especially with the 347/290hp Tri-Power engine and in this very good well preserved largely original condition. The odometer shows 30,962 miles and they may very well be all the car has covered from new, it’s that good. This would be a reasonable price for an ordinary cosmetically restored and presentable Safari, for this choice and well preserved Tri-Power Safari it is a serious value on which the new owner is to be congratulated.
 1971 Pontiac LeMans Sport Convertible
Lot # F165 1971 Pontiac LeMans Sport Convertible; S/N 23671P140877; Engine # 0466270 YS; Canyon Copper/White vinyl; White vinyl top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $30,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $32,100. – 400/300hp, automatic, P/S, P/B, A/C, Endura nose, buckets and console, AM-FM, 8-track, honeycomb wheels, tilt steering column, sport steering wheel, Tiger Paw GTS tires, dual sport mirrors, P/W – Restored to showroom condition with some subsequent use and age. Chassis has some road grime but the paint, chrome, top, glass and interior are excellent. Cold A/C. – It’s not a GTO but that may be the only thing that isn’t going for it. “Eye-catching” is an understatement to describe its color. The equipment list is all any modern collector could ask for. So is the price, a sound value in a Pontiac sub-model that is rare and few even know exists.
1939 Packard 120 Convertible
Lot # F168.1 1939 Packard 120 Convertible; S/N; Engine # B31040AA; Ivory/Black leather; Tan cloth top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $71,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $75,970. – Dual enclosed sidemounts with mirrors, large hubcaps, trim rings, wide whitewalls, fog lights, remote spotlight, jump seats – Good paint, chrome, interior and top. Engine and chassis are restored to good touring standards and well maintained. A quality, enjoyable tour car. – A good tour car, but not accepted by CCCA within its Classic definition and bought at a generous price.
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Fastback
Lot # F193 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Fastback; S/N 0F02G188056; Grabber Blue, Black accents/White vinyl; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $74,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $79,180. – 302/290hp, 4-speed, P/S, chrome rim Magnum wheels, shaker hood, pushbutton radio, rear window slats, wing, front chin spoiler – Two owners from new, 48,791 miles, one good older repaint. Clean, tidy and very impressive. Represented as matching numbers and documented with the original window sticker. – This is something of a find, particularly in Grabber Blue, and it brought a generous price appropriate to a clean, fully restored car, the difference being its preservation and originality. The equivalence works and the result is fair to both the seller and the buyer.
1961 Nash Metropolitan Convertible
Lot # F194 1961 Nash Metropolitan Convertible; S/N E86184; Robin’s Egg Blue, White/White leatherette, Grey cloth; Black vinyl top; Unrestored original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $37,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $39,590. – Black leatherette covered rear-mounted spare, radio, turn signals, whitewall tires, seat belts, clear plastic seat covers, heater – Good original paint, chrome and interior in very good condition for its 50 years of age. Top has been replaced and engine lightly cleaned up and detailed but probably never out. 10,140 miles and remarkable. – An unusually well preserved and presented Metropolitan convertible that brought a premium for its preservation, originality and good condition.
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 2-Dr. Hardtop
Lot # F196 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 136370K150327; Black, White stripes/Black; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $130,000 plus commission of 7.00%; Final Price $139,100. – 454/450hp, 4-speed, P/S, P/B, Rally II wheels, Wide Oval tires, pushbutton radio, cowl induction, F41 suspension, 4.11 Positraction – 9,323 miles. Restored like new with better paint, chrome and glass. Sharp, clean, beautiful, menacing and rare. Documented with original build sheet. – The low miles begs interpretation, as in driven only to the drag strip and through a few passes, or on Saturday night to collect challengers’ pink slips. In any event, it is beautifully restored and has all the right stuff, fully deserving the result it brought.