Between them, they did $13.8 million in business, but the big news at McCormick’s annual spring auction at Palm Springs, Calif., and Leake’s annual season-opener at Oklahoma City was the sell-through rate. McCormick’s nearly 80 percent sell-thru was a company record. Leake also set a record — with total sales of $6.4 million — but its 74 percent sell-through was perhaps more impressive as an indicator of the strength of the classic car marketplace.
More than 540 vehicles crossed the block at the McCormick’s auction. There were more than 400 at Leake’s sale, which added a second lane on Friday so it could keep up with the demand.
The classic car market is on fire.” — Jason McCormick
The classic car market is on fire.”
— Jason McCormick
“The classic car market is on fire as the baby boomers want to relive their youth and own the cars they used to own when they were young,” McCormick’s manager Jason McCormick told ClassicCars.com. “It’s also an investment that out-performs the stock market, and you can have fun with it, too.”
The average sales price at the McCormick’s auction was $25,000. For that amount, you could have taken home a 1965 Ford Mustang convertible ($25,725), either a 1966 Ford Fairlane GTA or a 1932 Ford hot-rod ($25,200 each), or a 1959 Chevrolet Apache pickup truck ($24,150).
Notable sales at McCormick’s were a 1958 Mercedes 190 SL that sold for $58,800, a stunning 1957 Buick Century Convertible that brought $94,500, and a bubble-top 1961 Chevrolet Impala 409 that got $78,750.
Entertainer Carol Channing was sitting in her 1970 Buick Electra convertible when it crossed the block and sold for $19,600.
Another “star” car, a 1965 Mercedes 250 SE convertible, was bid to $58,000, well less than its $85,000 reserve price, and did not sell. The car was driven by Bradley Cooper in the movie Hangover (and it wasn’t the one that was shown crashing in the film).
The McCormick’s auction will be featured in two upcoming episodes of the Turn & Burn television reality series on the History channel.
Meanwhile, the top-dollar sale at the Leake auction in Oklahoma City was a 1968 Shelby GT500 that brought $128,700.
“The collector car market in Oklahoma City has exploded,” Leake president Richard Sevenoaks said in a statement after the auction. “As a result, we added a second auction lane on Friday which added 100 cars to the auction and generated more revenue. We work hard to provide a product like no one else in the area.
“We are coming off of two very successful sales — our Dallas sale in November and the Oklahoma City,” Sevenoaks told ClassicCars.com. “Our high sell-through rates at each auction prove that the collector car market in Texas and Oklahoma is on fire. We just added a spring sale in Dallas and are currently accepting consignments for it.”
Other high-dollar sales were $101,200 for a 1970 Dodge Challenger, $95,700 for a 2002 Monaco Executive motorhome, $79,750 for a Murray-bodied 1932 Lincoln KA 507A , and $74,800 for a 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur.
The average sales price at Leake was $19,500. A 1964 Ford Thunderbird (right) sold for precisely that much while a 2005 Dodge Ram went for $19,100 and a 1972 Chevrolet C-10 pickup brought $19,000.
Leake’s next auction is April 24-25 at Dallas. McCormick’s is Nov. 22-23 at Palm Springs.