Mecum Salmon Brothers Collection – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, Salmon Brothers Collection, North Little Rock, Arkansas, June 16, 2012

Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor

Mecum Auctions hasn’t been noted for single-owner collection sales. Until now.

The sale of Tom and Don Salmon’s collection was not only a commercial success, bringing $6.8 million in total sales on the cars alone but also in putting on an essentially flawless event with all lots offered without reserve.

The cars were displayed to advantage, described in a full color catalog and most of them drove onto the block. Friday evening brought a fried feast of exceptional Southern cooking, catfish, shrimp, chicken, potatoes with cocktail and tartar sauce and ketchup garnish offset by cole slaw, pickles and pickled tomatoes, washed down by sweet tea and pink lemonade for bidders and guests.

It was done right, with Mecum’s usual efficiency in bringing the cars to the block in the right sequence, on time and working through the bidding quickly and transparently.

The collection was heavy in Fifties iron, particularly ’57 Chevys, but any fears it might overwhelm the ’57 Chevy market was quickly dispelled. All the bidders were here, and if they weren’t on-site they were on the phones, sometimes five or six phone bidders on a single car.

Sale day was hot, I mean HOT, and humid but Mecum had brought in multiple industrial strength A/C units that squeezed the heat and humidity out of the Arkansas air and kept the auction building livable despite a standing room only crowd.

Mecum Auctions may not have made much money on the Salmon Brothers’ event but it made its mark in single-owner collection sales with a quality event conducted in a constrained area with nary a visible flaw.

That will pay dividends when making pitches for similar sales and makes any subsequent Mecum Auctions single-owner sales events to watch.

Mecum Salmon Brothers Collection
Cars Offered / Cars Sold
Sale %
Average Sale
Median Sale
Total Sales
June 2012
139 / 139
100%
$49,354
$42,900 [86.9%]
$6,860,260

Mecum Salmon Brothers Collection – Auction Report

1931 Auburn 8-98 Cabriolet
Lot # S084 1931 Auburn 8-98 Cabriolet; S/N 54154; Burgundy, Silver accent/Burgundy leather; Tan cloth top; Older restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $97,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $107,250 — Chrome wire wheels, wide dual side whitewalls, rear mounted spare, Trippe lights, Depress Beam headlights. Very good paint, interior and top. Good major chrome but some thinning trim. 1990 AACA Grand National winner that is still exceptional. ACD Category 1 certified. A sharp automobile with Auburn’s design flair that still looks sleek and sporting 80 years after it was built, with a quality old restoration that is holding up better than could be expected. This price is entirely reasonable, even a good value, for a quality, distinctive car like this.
1931 Cadillac 355-A V-8 Dual Cowl Phaeton
Lot # S075 1931 Cadillac 355-A V-8 Dual Cowl Phaeton, Body by Fleetwood; S/N D4660803650; Engine # 8-3757; Tan, Brown accent, Black fenders/Dark Brown leather; Tan cloth top; Older restoration, 3- condition; Hammered Sold at $90,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $99,000 — Orange wire wheels, wide whitewalls, dual cloth covered sidemounts with mirrors, tan cloth covered trunk, dual windshields, windwings, Pilot-Rays, radiator stoneguard. Good paint but dated colors. Upholstery is sound but shows use, on the front seat especially. Good chrome. Chassis is toured, oily and grimy. Body style 4560, Number 11. Trunk and sidemount covers and top boot are soiled and stained. This poor old girl has seen better days, not only in condition but also in the muddy colors it wears from a long-ago restoration. Its Fleetwood coachwork helps offset the effect of the V-8’s short hood. The long hood V-12s and V-16s are so much better looking. All that said, this is a sound and usable CCCA Full Classic ™ Cadillac at a reasonable price.
1934 Cadillac 370-D V-12 All Weather Phaeton
Lot # S081 1934 Cadillac 370-D V-12 All Weather Phaeton, Body by Fleetwood; S/N 410303; Engine # 4100303; Dark Grey, Black fenders/Burgundy leather; Black cloth top; Concours restoration, 1- condition; Hammered Sold at $200,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $220,000 — Steel wheels with body color discs, dual enclosed sidemounts, metal trunk, biplane bumpers, rollup division, footrests. Restored in 1994, displayed at Amelia Island and except for some touched up small chips still show ready. 1994 AACA Senior National First Prize. Easily the star of the show, a superbly restored concours car of impeccable quality and nearly impeccable condition. The coachwork is rather heavy and Teutonic, but incredibly comfortable, luxurious and aristocratic. It sold just a year ago at Branson Spring for $186,060 in a post-block transaction and is fully priced here at a modest profit for the Salmon Brothers.
1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Roadster
Lot # S061 1932 Chevrolet Deluxe Roadster; S/N 6BA0417053; Mid Tan, Cocoa Brown fenders and accent/Tobacco Brown leatherette; Tan cloth top; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $48,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $52,800 — Orange wire wheels, hubcaps, whitewalls, freewheeling, wind wings, metal trunk, dual sidemounts with mirrors, dual horns, chrome hood vent doors. Excellent older paint, interior, top and most chrome. Driver’s windwing cracked. Engine and chassis show a little age but are nearly show ready. Aside from the muddy colors this is an extremely handsome old Chevy that has been restored to high standards and maintained very well. It brought an extraordinary price that is almost as much as the ’32 Ford V-8 Roadster brought a few cars later. Not to quibble about relative values, but this is the more expensive of the two.
1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster
Lot # S046 1954 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster; S/N E54S002297; Engine # 0536673 F54YG; Polo White/Red vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $55,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $60,500 — 235/155hp, Powerglide, WonderBar radio, wheel covers, whitewalls, bullet air cleaners, windshield washers. Mostly original with a new interior and repaint that still shows the fiberglass weave. Engine looks like it’s never been out. Crazed dash top paint, good instruments, steering wheel and interior chrome, including on the side curtains. 44,868 miles on the odometer might be real. This is right on the money for this 54’s presentation and originality.
1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Lot # S124 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible; S/N VC55J140458; Gypsy Red, Shoreline Beige/Red, Beige vinyl; White vinyl top; Older restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $60,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $66,000 — 265/162hp 2-barrel, Powerglide, dual exhausts, P/S, P/B, continental kit, WonderBar radio, wheelcovers, whitewall bias ply tires, sill moldings, grille guard. A quality older restoration to like new condition that has been maintained very well. Not fresh, but could be with a thorough detailing. ’57 Bel Airs are the most popular Tri-Five Chevys, but the ’55 is the most pure, clean and sophisticated design. There is nothing special about this car, but it’s thoughtfully and meticulously restored, sharp and clean. The price it brought, at an auction filled with similar models and years, is entirely representative of its value.
1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Lot # S126 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible; S/N VC56B007056; Light Blue, Colonial White/Two tone Blue vinyl; White vinyl top; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $77,000 — 265/162hp 2-barrel, Powerglide, wheel covers, whitewalls, skirts, pushbutton radio, heater, continental kit. Restored like new with shiny black underhood, excellent paint, chrome and interior. An unusually attractive, well done and well maintained ’56. One of the best restored and maintained of the Salmon brothers’ cars, this ’56 brought a deserved superior price.
1957 Chevrolet 3164 Cameo Pickup
Lot # S070 1957 Chevrolet 3164 Cameo Pickup; S/N V3A57K139362; Cardinal Red, Bombay Ivory accent/Ivory vinyl, Red cloth; Truck restoration, 2- condition; Hammered Sold at $53,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $58,300 — 283/185hp, overdrive 3-speed, radio, heater, hubcaps, trim rings, whitewalls, dual outside mirrors, windshield and side window visors. Later block with small, blank, engine number pad, probably not a 283. Cosmetically restored with very good paint, chrome and interior. Underbody and chassis are quickly done, with paint over old undercoat. Makes a great first impression and holds up to all but the closest inspection. This is serious money, but also a serious Cameo in attractive colors. The later engine block doesn’t make a lot of difference in this truck, but it doesn’t add anything, either. This is a top price for a less than fully restored Cameo. It would have been a sound buy at $45,000.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Lot # S102 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N VC57S147494; Sierra Gold, Beige roof/Beige vinyl, Black cloth; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $50,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $55,000 — 283/220hp Power Pack, Powerglide, P/S, P/B, electric wipers, pushbutton radio, dual outside mirrors, skirts, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, front bumper guards, underhood light. Restored like new without being overdone. Excellent clearcoat repaint, chrome, interior and glass. Orderly, clean and showroom ready underhood. This may have been the only ’57 Chevy in the Salmon brothers collection that didn’t have a continental kit, in my view a plus for the car. The restoration is very good, holding up very well and in one of the best Tri-Five Chevy colors (but I’m prejudiced, it’s the same color as the first car I owned.) This is an appropriate result for a strong Power Pack 2-Dr. Hardtop.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
Lot # S117 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N VC57K139969; Engine # F115F; Red, White roof/Red vinyl, Black cloth; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,500 — Described as a 265 2-barrel, the block stamping is for a 283 2-barrel. Powerglide, no P/B or P/S, heater, pushbutton radio, dual outside mirrors, spinner wheelcovers, whitewall radial tires. Attractively but not extravagantly restored with good paint, chrome and interior. Tidy engine compartment, underbody and chassis. Chipped hood edges, delaminating vent window. Good door fits. Flawed hood paint on left front corner. A sound, honest car. Sold for $32,400 at the Leake Dallas auction in November 2005 freshly restored, then $38,880 at Branson Spring in 2009. This result fully values the car and its aged and used restoration.
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible
Lot # S099 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible; S/N VC57O133882; Harbor Blue/Two tone Blue vinyl; Light Blue vinyl top; Older restoration, 2 condition; Hammered Sold at $78,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $85,800 — 283/220hp Power Pack, Powerglide, P/S, P/B, pushbutton radio, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, continental kit, skirts, electric wipers, dual outside mirrors, bumper overriders. No engine numbers. Excellent clearcoat paint, chrome, top, glass and interior. Restored like new in a very pretty color combination. It’s the color that makes this car pop, as well as complementing an impressive restoration. The price reflects the quality of the car and its eye-appeal.