Mecum Seattle 2014 – Auction Report

Mecum Auctions, CenturyLink Field Event Center, Seattle, Washington, June 13-14, 2014

Mecum Auctions is constantly refining its calendar, trying new places and dates, usually with success.

Frank Mecum said, “We looked at where we’re shipping cars, and a lot were heading to the Pacific Northwest so we thought this would be a good place to try an auction.” It turned out that they were right, with a good consignment of cars headlined by the locally-owned ‘Cuda Hemi convertible and Corvette L88 and a huge spectator turnout.

The numbers were not so good with a 51.2% sale rate on 305 of 596 cars sold. The total, at $15,113,131 including commission is credible and the mix of cars sold with an average transaction with commission of $49,551 and $27,000 median transaction (54.5% of the mean) was largely consistent despite the distortion of the $3,780,000 sale to a phone bidder of the ’71 ‘Cuda Hemi convertible.

Mecum knows that you make your own luck and to their credit engineered the ‘Cuda Hemi’s appearance and phone bidder sale to juice the numbers. It could have been sold in the same circumstances anywhere, with perhaps greater probability it might have ignited a bidding war at another venue with deeper pockets in attendance – or willing to step up, since there are hardly deeper pockets than in Seattle, home of Microsoft, Amazon, Costco, Boeing and many more technology heavyweights.

The venue, the CenturyLink convention center between the Seahawk’s CenturyLink Field and the Mariners’ Safeco Field, was filled to capacity with cars, even out into the Centurylink lobby. More influential, though, were the spectators who came and grabbed any paper in sight to be autographed by the Mecum Auctions TV stars. ‘We’re so thrilled to have you here.’ ‘To meet you.’

And yet, Dana, Frank and the rest of the Mecum crew seem unimpressed by their celebrity. What makes a difference for them is the auction block excitement, selling cars.

Their humility is affecting. Mecum defers to the cars, the consignors, the bidders. The approach is, if much thought is given to it, why Mecum Auctions’ presentation is so effective.

The Pacific Northwest has been, despite a huge car collecting culture (or, as one local put it, ‘We’re buyers, not sellers’,) a relative wasteland of high profile collector car auctions. Mecum Auctions has set its standard in the epicenter, Seattle, and attracted solid cars and droves of spectators.

Expect them back, bigger and better, next year.

Mecum Seattle 2014 – Auction Report

1969 Pontiac GTO Convertible
Lot # F245 1969 Pontiac GTO Convertible; S/N 242679Z113946; Engine # 0240188 YB; Yellow/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3- condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $25,000 – 400/265hp 2-barrel engine out of a Catalina according to the YB code on the block, column shift automatic, P/S, P/B, pushbutton radio, Rally II wheels, Radial T/A tires. – A superficial cosmetic redo with sound but unattractive paint and interior. Engine rebuilt by Pacific Auto Machine. Engine compartment given the matte black treatment over everything. Foggy gauge lenses. Flat left front tire completes the presentation. – Despicable? Not quite, but pretty close and no wonder the Seattle bidders let it pass. It wouldn’t have been unreasonably expensive at this price, but who knows what other miserable excuses for GTO-ness were perpetrated on this car?
1956 Porsche Replica 550 Spyder
Lot # S010 1956 Porsche Replica 550 Spyder; S/N AZ269758; Silver/Red leather; Facsimile restoration, 2 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $30,000 – 1966cc/200hp, 4-speed, chrome wheels, Toyo radial blackwalls, banjo spoke steering wheel, 4-wheel disc brakes, Weber carbs, coil spring suspension. – Large diameter tube frame, 1,300 pounds. Very good bodywork, interior and workmanship. – Not ‘real’ but thoroughly enjoyable although as the seller noted he’d driven it only 770 miles since it was built. It’s a toy, and this is enough for it.
1970 Pontiac GTO Convertible
Lot # S048 1970 Pontiac GTO Convertible; S/N 242670Z118562; Engine # 0235301 WT; Black/Dark Red; Black vinyl top; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $51,000 – 400/350hp WT Firebird engine with Ram Air, 4-speed, P/S, P/B, Hurst T-handle shifter, buckets and console, Rally II wheels, G70-14 Polyglas tires, wings, hood tach, pushbutton radio, Judge trim added. – Good paint, chrome, top and interior. Not like new, but competently done to good driver standards. Not represented as the original engine, which is appropriate to the added Judge trim. It is a GTO, however. – Not ‘matching numbers’ although the bidders may not realize it. It should be a $ 35-40K car, and would be an enjoyable driver at that price. The reported high bid is a pipe dream.
1986 Porsche 911 Turbo Slantnose Coupe
Lot # S062 1986 Porsche 911 Turbo Slantnose Coupe; S/N WP0JB0937GS050226; Engine # 68G00202; Guards Red/Tan leather; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $40,000 – Simmons gold center modular wheels, Kumho blackwall tires, wing, Kenwood CD stereo, sliding sunroof, aftermarket woodrim steering wheel, P/W, A/C.. – Represented as 63,485 miles. Slantnose conversion. Good paint, worn and surface-cracked upholstery. Dusty engine compartment. Condition borders on tired but is sound and usable. – Used, modified and the beneficiary (if that’s the term) of uncertain modifications. It could have been happily unloaded at the reported high bid It’s 911 Turbos like this that make unmodified, consistently maintained 911 Turbos look good.
1939 Mercury 99A Club Coupe
Lot # S064.1 1939 Mercury 99A Club Coupe; S/N 99A93297; Tan/Tan cloth; Older restoration, 3+ condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $26,000– 239/95hp, 3-speed, Columbia 2-speed axle, radio, clock, no heater, hubcaps, trim rings, whitewalls, fog lights. – Good paint, chrome and upholstery, cracked steering wheel, some poor interior trim fits, pitted gauge bezels. Underbody is restored and clean. A sound and attractive older restoration with potential to be even better. – Seattle wasn’t paying much attention when this Mercury crossed the block. It’s Mercury’s first year and an attractive body style, desirably equipped with the Columbia 2-speed rear axle. Its condition is far from the best, but it is handsome and usable and would have been a sound buy at $30,000.
1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible
Lot # S085 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible; S/N 55881356; White, Red, Black/white, Red, Black leather; White vinyl top; Cosmetic restoration, 3 condition; Hammered Sold at $82,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $88,560 – 352/275hp dual quads, automatic, P/S, P/B, chrome wire wheels, whitewall tires, WonderBar radio, P/W, skirts, dual rear antennas. – Excellent new paint, chrome and interior. Engine compartment glows with glossy black paint, but underbody is covered in dirty old undercoat. Window pockets are coated with body shop detritus. Makes a great first impression but deserves better. – Caribbeans are complicated, expensive cars to restore, as this moke demonstrates. Brought to a certain state of attractive paint, chrome and upholstery they are showpieces … if their engines and chassis are kept under wraps. This is a perfect example but is a sound value at this price.
1971 Plymouth 'Cuda Hemi Convertible
Lot # S095 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda Hemi Convertible; S/N BS27R1B315367; Blue/Blue vinyl; Black leatherette top; Recent restoration, 2+ condition; Hammered Sold at $3,500,000 plus commission of 8.00%; Final Price $3,780,000 – 426/425hp Hemi, dual quads, 4-speed, matte black shaker, dog dish hubcaps, Polyglas GT tires, Hurst pistol grip shifter, P/B. – Restored better than new with excellent paint, panel fits, gaps, chrome and more. Represented as the original Hemi and drivetrain, mostly original sheet metal. Sharp and fresh. One of two believed delivered in the U.S. with a 4-speed, extensively documented. – There are two avidly competing considerations in the result for this ‘Cuda Hemi convertible. It is undeniably rare, one of seven 1971 ‘Cuda Hemi convertibles and one of two 4-speeds. It is recognized everywhere for its rarity and performance. On the other hand, why were there only seven ‘Cuda Hemi convertibles? Because without the roof they flexed like a bowl of spaghetti under the torque of the 426 Hemi engine. Especially with a 4-speed. Launch this missile in first gear and the skinny little Polyglas GT tires simply evaporate while the chassis twists into a pretzel. It’s the age-old contest between rarity and reality. This was never a good car, but, boy, does it have profile. Dana Mecum said, ‘It’s going to a new collector in the Midwest.’ From the price it brought it’s apparent it’s a new collector with no perspective on values. A trophy piece, but an exorbitantly expensive trophy.
1974 Jaguar XKE SIII V12 Roadster
Lot # S095.1 1974 Jaguar XKE SIII V12 Roadster; S/N UE1S23577; Dark Blue Metallic/Navy Blue leather; Navy Blue cloth top; Visually maintained, largely original, 3 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $52,000 – Chrome wire wheels, narrow whitewall radials, automatic, A/C, Nardi woodrim steering wheel, hardtop, no radio. – Mediocre old repaint, sound original upholstery, good chrome. Just a car out of long term storage, and none the better for it. – A slush-box V-12 XKE that’s been stored for two decades or so? It should have been on its way to a new owner long before reaching the reported high bid.
1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
Lot # S100 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible; S/N F7FH372610; Colonial White/Black, White vinyl; Black cloth top; Older restoration, 1 condition; Not sold at Hammer bid of $130,000 – 312/300hp supercharged, automatic, no P/S or P/B, Town & Country radio, wheel covers, whitewalls, skirts, telescopic steering column. – Multiple award winning trailer queen, extremely well preserved and still looks freshly restored nearly three decades after its 1987 restoration. – The pinnacle of two-seat Thunderbirds, but only slightly better, if any, than the amount bid for it here in Seattle.

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Show Comments (5)

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  1. Reading the fascinating review, one can’t help but have the impression that Mecum delivered market level results for many sellers who had unrealistic values for their cars. They should have sold and commissions should have been paid. Number 3-4 level condition on barely collectibles. Looks like (over)promises were made to bring cars to a new venue as most of these were clearly no reserve autos.

  2. Watched this auction streamed over the three days, and was amazed at the length of time it took to get a bid from the floor. There were some nice cars there, but Rick made a comment that I’d agree with – many cars should have sold at pass-in or before: overvalued, and some didin’t deserve the price they got. Mecums did a good job for their clients, that’s for sure.

  3. Danas comment about the Cuda never being a good car is puzzling. The rarity and performance speaks for itself. Perhaps more dime a dozen chevys is what he likes. Dan.

  4. I restored the 70 Boss 302. Finished it early 2008
    Too bad they never kept it up. A lot of NOS parts in that car.
    Back yard resto.. Az car since purchased from Ford late 1970