Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
Mecum Auctions held its Original Spring Classic Auction 2010 on May 19-23 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
Mecum Auctions “Spring Classic” migrated from the fields of Belvidere, Illinois to the vast complex at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis three years ago and has built upon Mecum’s reputation and financial strength to become one of the calendar’s great events. The Spring Classic (or Rockford or whatever it has been called over the years) is one of the auction calendar’s longest-running events and is the cornerstone of Mecum Auctions’ rapidly expanding schedule.
By my count 1,598 cars crossed the block, more than Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale and more even than the now sadly defunct Kruse Auburn Fall sale. That brings up an important distinction. The success of this sale in particular and Mecum Auctions in general is less due to the decline of Kruse than it is to the focus, efforts, astute management and sound business practices of Dana Mecum and his team. While some of Mecum’s recent growth benefits from collectors’ seeking a reliable alternative to Kruse sales, that is largely peripheral to this organization’s success.
There were no pre-WWII cars in Indy other than Fords (56), a few Chevys, some street rods, an Oldsmobile, a Buick and several farm tractors. The consignment list was packed with Chevys (648 of them, 40% of the run list), Fords (256), Pontiacs (161) and Mopars (89 Dodges, 84 Plymouths), mostly with healthy engines. Foreign makes could be counted on the fingers and toes of two couples; there were nearly as many farm tractors.
It is a celebration of the postwar American automobile, particularly the Muscle Car era. The auction pace moves as fast as most of the lots crossing the block do on the street and there are a few wonderful finds to be discovered among the acres of covered display space.
The following is a selection of some of the more notable – and occasionally intriguing – lots that crossed the block. The first letter of the lot number indicates the run day with “U” for Sunday.
Lot # S247 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible; S/N 5762113640; Olympic White/Elysian Green leather; White top; Concours restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $280,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $296,800 – Parade boot, chrome Sabre wheels, 6-way power seat. Concours quality presentation with lovely interior and brilliant chrome. Impossible to fault. As good as it gets and worth every penny of the price it brought.
Lot # S098 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Nomad 2-Dr. Wagon; S/N VC560048023; Turquoise, White/Turquoise vinyl, Silver cloth; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $71,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $75,260 – 265/225hp dual quads, Powerglide, bat wing air cleaner, wire wheel covers, whitewalls, WonderBar radio, bumper overriders. Meticulous restoration to like new condition with accurate finishes except the silver painted carbs and intake manifold. Don Davis Collection, No Reserve. This is a beautiful Nomad and it could have brought close to six-figures without being over-priced.
Lot # S156 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 127379N667899; Engine # V0603DZ; Cortez Silver, Black vinyl roof/Black vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $57,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $60,950 – 302/290hp with cross-ram dual quad intake, 4-speed, P/B, buckets and console, console mounted engine gauges, pushbutton radio, Hurst shifter, Rally wheels with trim rings. Excellent paint, chrome, interior and glass. Like new underhood. Represented as an original cross-ram car, numbers matching and 63,672 miles from new. Very attractive. This lot was cataloged as a '70 Chevelle LS6, which may explain why the bidders weren't paying attention when it crossed the block. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this Z/28 except the price which could easily have been ten thousand dollars higher without being expensive. The buyer walked away with a very good buy.
Lot # S057.1 1977 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 IROC; S/N 14 of 15; Lilac ‘Bobby Allison’/Black; Competition car, original as-raced, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $23,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $24,910 – 350/ca.500hp, T100 4-speed, dry sump. Cheap blow molded seat, no belts, no fire system, vinyl graphics. As raced by Bobbie Allison to win the 1980 Atlanta IROC race with a quick repaint for display purposes. Cataloged as a '57 T-bird. This ex-IROC Camaro needs plenty of work to bring it up to present day safety and performance standards but when completed it will be a very attractive and distinctive vintage racer. Both the buyer and the seller should be satisfied with this result.
Lot # S109 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N J58S106456; Engine # F330CS; Ice Blue, White coves/Ice Blue vinyl; White vinyl top; Recent restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $95,400 – 283/290hp FI, 4-speed, WonderBar radio, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, power top, P/W. Mostly original paint and interior. Good chrome. Restored to nearly like new preserving much of the original paint. Sharp and unusual car. Don Davis Collection. No Reserve. This is a real car, sympathetically restored and maintained in nearly impeccable condition with the correct CS stamping on the block and unusual for its power top and windows. Sold at Branson in the 2007 Spring sale for $96,700, the buyer got full value for money, and maybe even a little more.
Lot # S116 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster Harley J. Earl; S/N 30867S114012; Nassau Blue, White stripe/Metallic Blue, White stripe leather; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $925,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $980,500 – 327/300hp, 4-speed, alloy knock off wheels, Blue line tires, '65 Corvette disc brakes, 4-branch polished stainless steel side exhausts. Show car presentation and well maintained but no longer fresh. The 1963 'Harley Earl' Corvette, built with exclusive design and styling elements for the head of GM's Design Department. It's in beautiful condition, as expected for a showpiece in Corvette history (although curiously Earl, who had forced the split window coupe down Zora Arkus-Duntov's throat, chose a roadster as his personal '63 Corvette). Sold at Barrett-Jackson, in essentially the same condition, in 1999 for $152,300 and offered at Mecum's Bloomington Gold auction last year where the bidding stopped at $985,000 and the car was announced as for sale for $1.3 million. It's a relief to see it find a new home and to do so at a more reasonable, although still very expensive, price.
Lot # S140 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe Race Car; S/N 194376S117785; Black/Saddle leather; Competition restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $305,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $323,300 – 427/450-425hp V8, radio delete, 5-spoke Yellow center 2-piece Torque Thrust style alloy wheels, side exhaust. Original leather interior except for a racing driver's seat, flat black side exhausts, SW gauges and hour meter in place of the radio. Better than it ever was when being raced by Bob Johnson even though its restoration was completed several years ago. Race car from new. A truly impressive Kevin MacKay restoration, so pristine that it's almost impossible to think of it being raced. Sold by RM in Monterey in 2002 for $176,000 and setting something of a high hurdle for mid-year Corvette race cars with this result.
Lot # U057 1975 Chevrolet Cosworth Vega Coupe; S/N 1V77E5U263562; Black/Black vinyl; Unrestored original, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $11,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $12,190 – AM-FM, rear window defogger, heater. Sequence # 1678. 1,276 miles and all original except battery. Paint starting to show some small areas of microblisters. Drip rail trim peeling. One of several all-original, low miles cars offered by a single collector on Sunday, this is a real find – for those who appreciate the strange, unusual and esoteric products which GM occasionally slipped out to the public. If they had followed through on even a few of them it might be a vastly different GM today. In terms of rarity and survivorship this is something special, but few people care, and even fewer care enough to buy.
Lot # S152 1969 Chevrolet Nova SS Coupe; S/N 114279W485277; Engine # T0403JJ 19W485277; Dusk Blue/Blue vinyl; Recent restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $53,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $56,180 – 396/375 hp, aluminum heads, 4-speed, P/S, P/B, buckets and console, console mounted engine gauges, Hurst shifter, funny little 90 degree tach when the fuel gauge usually goes, Rally wheels, trim rings, redline tires. Restored like new, still clean, sharp and orderly. The clearcoat is a little thick, but flawless. This is a highly desirable, limited production, rare and attractive car with loads of appeal and all the right stuff for today's collectors including power steering and brakes. It's a curve-setter for value guides, but brought an entirely appropriate price reflecting its equipment list and restoration.
Lot # S096 1961 Chrysler 300G Convertible; S/N 8413197153; Red/Beige leather; Black cloth top; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $105,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $111,300 – Chrome wire wheels, whitewalls. Cosmetically redone with fresh paint over old paint, new upholstery and trim and some chrome. Chassis has been cleaned up and repainted. Some dirt in paint, scratched bright trim, dull, scratched interior brightwork, grubby steering wheel. Passenger door and hood don't close flush. Superficially redone for the auction. Don Davis Collection. No Reserve. As frightening as it is to contemplate, I wrote this car up, fresh from restoration, at the Seroka auction in West Palm Beach three days after Christmas 1991. It was a $42,500 no-sale. I've written it up three further times since then, at the Worldwide Houston auction where it sold for $115,000 in '08 and no-saled at $110,000 in '09, then at RM Monterey in '09 where it sold for $96,250. It's a better car than its frequent auction block appearances give it credit for and this is still the right money for it.
Lot # F225 1970 Dodge Challenger Hemi Convertible; S/N JS27R0B159928; Green/Green vinyl; Black leatherette top; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $750,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $795,000 – 426/425hp Hemi, automatic, pushbutton radio, Silver Rallye wheels with trim rings, Polyglas GT tires, P/S, no P/B, buckets and console. Comes with dealer records and invoices. Excellent paint, good chrome, interior, top and underhood presentation. Restored in '96 but looks like it was done a year ago. There was a time when the owners of Hemi 'Cuda and Challenger convertibles were trading them back and forth among themselves in transactions they touted in millions of dollars. Undoubtedly rare, their frame under the torque of the Hemi must flex like it was made of spaghetti (which is why they're rare, and why no one drives them – then or now.) This price makes much more sense than $2 1/2 million, but is still a lot of money to pay for a car that has value only as a display piece. This is today's market, but prospects are not good for tomorrow's.
Lot # S243 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T SE Hemi 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N JS29R0B204015; Red, Black vinyl roof/Black leather; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $185,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $196,100 – 426/425hp, automatic, P/S, P/B, silver wheels, trim rings, Polyglas GT tires, radio, heater. Restored like new with excellent paint, chrome and interior. Instrument panel bright molding could be better. Chassis and underbody are in showroom undercoated condition. Represented as numbers-matching and ‘1 original owner’ (which could be said about all cars, couldn't it?) One of the stars of the show, and deservedly so. Restored to very high standards and well maintained in show car condition. The price it brought reflects collectors' continuing appreciation of these rare, attractive, powerful machines. There are better values in performance/dollar, but few with the instant recognition and charisma of a Hemi Challenger.
Lot # S077 1940 Ford Deluxe Opera Coupe; S/N 185614902; Folkstone Grey/Beige cloth; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $43,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $45,580 – Radio, fog lights, trim rings, wide whitewalls, oil filter, grille guard, center-facing rear seats, Columbia 2-speed axle. Good repaint with glass installed and a few masking flaws. Good interior and chrome. Doors fit well. Underhood and chassis show age. An attractive driver. Richard V. Munz Collection. No Reserve. Sold by RM in Ft. Lauderdale a year ago for $35,200 and turned here for a small but nice profit even after commissions. How this attractive '40 Ford survived without being street rodded is close to a miracle (and if it were mine it'd have a dual Stromberg intake, aluminum heads, a 3/4 race cam, Fenton headers, dual glasspacks and Zephyr gears in a heartbeat.)
Lot # S092 1962 Ford Galaxie 500XL Sunliner; S/N 2J69G173906; Metallic Blue/Metallic Blue vinyl; White vinyl top; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $98,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $103,880 – 406/405hp, 4-speed, buckets and console, pushbutton radio, heater, hubcaps, narrow whitewalls, 4.11 axle, P/S. Freshly restored and better than new, documented with its factory build sheet. Brilliant (too brilliant) clearcoat paint, sharp, fresh chrome. A fresh, crisp showpiece. Don Davis Collection. No Reserve. Easily one of the most desirable 60's big Fords, with style, performance and rarity complemented by a meticulous restoration and documentation. The price sets a new standard for the model, but is fully deserved.
Lot # S083 1932 Ford Model B Station Wagon; S/N 5027096; Tan, Black fenders/Black vinyl; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $80,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $84,800 – Tan wire wheels, single sidemount, three-row seating with single seat in middle row, center and rear side windows have slide-up side curtains but none on front doors or rear. Mostly original framing darker stained during refinishing. An attractive older restoration showing little use and good preservation. Offered at Kruse Auburn Fall in 2003 where it no-saled at $31,000 and at Mecum Rockford in 2007 where it did likewise at $70,000, at some point the wood should get a careful refinish to undo the staining but until then it's an impressive and very rare car for shows and tours. It is one of two Model Bs at the auction this weekend, finding one is a rare and noteworthy event. Two is unprecedented outside of Ford-themed venues.
Lot # T146 1949 Hudson Commodore Custom Eight Club Coupe; S/N 4944105; Black/Beige cloth; Visually maintained, largely original, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $34,500 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $36,570 – 254/128hp eight, overdrive 3-speed. Hudson-badged ‘Auto-Serv for Kleenex Tissues’ under the dash. Pushbutton radio, elaborate Machine Age steering wheel with chromed column, shift linkage and turn signal mechanism. Big hubcaps, trim rings, whitewalls, remote spotlight, clock, woodgrain dashboard and door caps, owner's manual. Headliner and panels look new but seat coverings are original and flawless. Cheap but sound old repaint, good major chrome, some weak trim. Chassis and underbody are original. Very cool and very usable as is. The steering column and shift linkage is industrial sculpture. ‘Cars’ the movie did a lot to raise casual collectors' consciousness of Hudson, a reputation that deserves to be burnished and reinforced. This impressively original, sound and solid 2-door sedan is a piece of rolling art and brought an appropriate price in the market but one that is still a good value for the car's performance and presence.
Lot # T301.1 1959 John Deere LP 630 Tractor; S/N 630LP6312244; Green, yellow/Yellow; Truck restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $9,000 plus commission of 5.56%; Final Price $9,500 – LP gas fueled, three point power implement mount. Painted assembled including the hydraulic quick connects. Attractive but only ‘restored’ in farm tractor terms. Re-run on Sunday as #U156, no-sale at $10,000. One of several farm tractors offered in the very appropriate setting of the Indiana State Fairgrounds and lined up outside the ‘Sheep’ building (staff and media parked in ‘Swine’.) Mecum is having an all-tractor sale near Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on August 7.
Lot # S112.1 1964 Mercury Park Lane Super Marauder 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 4Z67R513249; Ocean Turquoise/White vinyl; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $113,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $119,780 – 427/425hp, dual quads, 4-speed, no P/S or P/B, pushbutton radio, heater, 4.11 axle. An older restoration to showroom condition, still with excellent cosmetics and only a little dusty underhood and under the body. Documented with original build sheet. Cinema Vehicles. No Reserve. Crossed the block at Kruse Auburn Fall in 2007 with a reported high bid of $94,000. Very rare and now with the demise of Mercury maybe even more desirable, at least for a little while. This is a very big price, but also an important and significant car.
Lot # S203 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Hemi 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N BS23R0B141020; Red, Black vinyl roof/Black vinyl; Cosmetic restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $170,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $180,200 – 426/425hp, 4-speed, pistol grip shifter, 4.10 Super Track Pack, P/S, P/B, Rallye wheels, trim ring, F60-15 Polyglas GT tires, plastic front bumper, front disc brakes. Good repaint, interior and chrome on a 20,806 mile two owner car used in Plymouth ads in 1970. Documented with broadcast sheet and 1972 title and represented as numbers-matching engine and transmission. Chassis is done like new but dashboard and instruments are undone and disappointing. Hemi 'Cudas seemed to be everywhere at Mecum Indy (actually there were 11, of which only three sold.) This is a representative transaction with a couple outliers with some imagined distinction (last built, for instance) that didn't find buyers willing to meet the sellers' mid-six figure expectations. With the 4-speed and two-owner, 20,806 mile history this is a sound value.
Lot # S097 1965 Plymouth Satellite Sport Fury Convertible; S/N R451229258; Black/Gold, Saddle inserts; White vinyl top; Recent restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $71,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $75,260 – 426/365hp Wedge, 4-speed, dual exhaust, Hurst shifter, P/S, power top, radio. 46,440 miles. One of 46 426 Wedge 4-speed convertibles. Restored better than new with excellent cosmetics. Gleams like a jeweler's display case. Don Davis Collection. No Reserve. Sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 1995 where it brought $36,750 and had just under 46,000 miles. 500 or so miles in fifteen years doesn't give much of an opportunity to enjoy its performance. Very rare and attractively presented, it is a good value at this price.
Lot # S122 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible; S/N 242679B163827; Engine # 0505849 WS; Mayfair Maize/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $96,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $101,760 – 400/366hp Ram Air III, 4-speed, P/S, P/B, 3.55 HD Safe-T-Track, P/W (added), console, wood grain steering wheel, hood tach, Rally gauges, Rally II wheels without trim rings, Hurst pistol grip shifter, tilt column, pushbutton radio, Radial T/A tires, power headlight doors (414). One of 108 Judge convertibles. All but 17 were Carousel Red and this is the only one in Mayfair Maize. Older restoration to showroom condition with good paint, chrome and interior. Windshield trim is more burnished than polished. Engine is clean but shows some age and use. A thorough detailing would make this a better car. This is serious money for a serious Judge helped in no small measure by its rare and attractive color. Its presentation leaves something to be desired, but also let the new owner acquire it for a relatively modest price at which it can be driven and enjoyed as an obsessively restored and maintained show car couldn\'t. It is a good value.
Lot # S115 1965 Pontiac LeMans GTO 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 237375P226900; Gold, Black vinyl roof/Beige vinyl; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $250,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $265,000 – Gold plated Hurst wheels, redline tires, 4-speed, buckets and console, AM-FM, Hurst shifter. Good paint, chrome and interior. Paint flaw on right front fender. Some trim rechromed over small pits. Soiled corners. An older restoration to like new condition that's starting to show a little age from display and exhibits. Gee-T-O Tiger contest winner's prize. Dana Mecum Collection. Famous, and now famously expensive. Just two more zeroes would buy a Ferrari GTO.
Lot # S114 1963 Pontiac Tempest Station Wagon; S/N 163P99224; White/Blue vinyl; Competition restoration, 1 condition; Hammered Sold at $450,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $477,000 – 421 dual quad Super Duty, aluminum front bodywork, special drag racing transaxle. Restored better than new with excellent paint, chrome and interior. Windshield lightly sand pitted, otherwise beyond perfect. Full 6-passenger bench seat interior with trim and instrumentation. Dana Mecum Collection. The presentation of this car was vastly enhanced by copies of the layout blueprints for the transaxle pinned to the wall behind it. Its station wagon bodywork still has an aggressive presence that immediately marks this Tempest as something very special. So does its price.
Lot # S161 1965 Shelby Cobra 289 Roadster; S/N CSX2291; Red, White stripes/Black leather; Competition car, original as-raced, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $360,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $381,600 – Braced Black painted paperclip rollbar, five-spoke magnesium bolt on wheels, flared fenders, quick jack pickups, flat black side exhausts. Stone chipped and cracked old paint. Stock type seats with good original leather and street instruments including turn signals. Aged and used but clean and well maintained. Vintage race prepared by Dralle Engineering in the mid-90's. ‘Full documented history’ representation is accurate, but insignificant. This is a good, old, rack and pinion Cobra 289 that brought an appropriate price here in Indy. Both Cobras and Ace Bristols have taken off in recent years and it's hard to tell if the ACs are tracking Cobra values or the other way 'round. In any event, this is not the time to buy either of them.
Lot # F220 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster; S/N CSX3172; Black/Black leather; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $625,000 plus commission of 6.00%; Final Price $662,500 – Black paperclip rollbar, centerlock starburst wheels with Black centers and oxidized rims, wind wings, flat Black side exhausts, handheld fire extinguisher behind seats, quick jack pickups, oil cooler, electric fan. S/C specs are a later addition. Good paint lightly scuffed and polisher swirled. Surface creased original leather. Clean chassis. Pretty and pretty menacing but not fresh. The ‘narrow-hip’ prototype 427 Cobra, repurposed by AC from a competition car to street use, used by Shelby and Ford for promotion including a spell with Astronaut Scott Carpenter. Later given to Sylvester Stallone by United Artists and later converted to ‘wide hip’ S/C configuration. An interesting Cobra, but without exceptional history aside from its celebrity connections. ‘Is it real or is it Memorex?’ It's neither, just a little used old 427 Cobra for which an appropriate price in today's market was paid. It is only an ‘investment’ for those who believe that fads will never end.
[Source: Rick Carey]
In the interest of keeping the terminology straight, the last two cars are AC Cobras. Shelby Cobras are Mustang based.
That’s not accurate. AC built the chassis for the Shelby Cobras and some of the cars that were fully assembled in England were marketed as AC Cobras, but the cars sold in the U.S. and elsewhere (with CSX chassis numbers) were sold on MSOs from Shelby American and are properly called Shelby Cobras.
There’s nothing “Mustang” in a Cobra beyond sharing a Ford-sourced engine and transmission. Shelby built Mustang-based cars, the GT350 and GT500, but they’re not Cobras. They were sold on Shelby MSOs and are properly termed Shelby Mustangs.
That’s my position and I’m sticking to it.
The GTO convertible listed on this website . . . how do you know the production numbers of the color of this GTO? Where did you locate this information?
Information provided by the consignor.
I am trying to locate a car my father restored back in the early 90’s. the car was a 64 ac shelby cobra with a 427. he finished the car in black with gold stripes and the owner at that time was a man by the name of dave painter. My pops put his heart and soul into that car for over 3 years.I would love to find a picture of it.~buddy