Hot on the heels of Arizona’s classic car extravaganza comes Mecum’s biggest auction of the year – and reputedly the largest collector-car auction anywhere – the 10-day sale in Kissimmee, Florida, that is expected to offer 3,000 cars, trucks and motorcycles, as well as a passel of automobilia.
Three-thousand vehicles is the magic number that Mecum has been chasing for the Kissimmee auction, and this year’s sale from January 16 through 25 is expected to reach that target. The Mecum auction will include more vehicles than all six Arizona auctions combined, including the massive Barrett-Jackson sale that was extended to nine days to accommodate the Ron Pratte collection.
The Mecum auction overlaps the Scottsdale/Phoenix sales, starting on Friday the 16th just when the Arizona auctions are heating up with their top offerings. But like most multi-day auctions, Mecum starts slowly with automobilia and the more-affordable cars, and it builds throughout the event to the top vehicles of the sale later in the following week.
Last year, the Kissimmee auction totaled more than $63 million in sales with about 1,750 of 2,750 vehicles sold.
This year, the Kissimmee auction is highlighted by the great muscle cars coming out of the acclaimed Wellborn Musclecar Museum in Alexander City, Alabama, as Tim and Pam Wellborn thin the herd so they can add new acquisitions. Known for fine examples of top American muscle – particularly of the Mopar variety – the collection will offer 25 primo pieces of major muscle including those from GM and Ford as well. Most of them have never been offered for public sale.
“It is very rare that collections of the magnitude and notoriety of the Wellborn Collection come up for sale,” said Frank Mecum, the auctions’ consignment director and son of auction founder Dana Mecum.
Among the top offerings from Wellborn are several pristine, unrestored cars from the muscle-car apex year of 1970, including a Dodge Challenger T/A; a Chevelle LS6 coupe, one of GM’s most legendary muscle cars; and a Ford Mustang Boss 429, unrestored with just 4,770 miles, which Mecum describes as an “incredible treasure” and values at $450,000 to $550,000.
Another feature from the Wellborn collection is the first 1971 Dodge Hemi Charger R/T built, a so-called “pilot car” that introduced the new model. That one is valued between $200,000 and $250,000. Plus, a 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona with 426-cid Hemi V8, a four-speed manual transmission and only 6,400 miles on its odometer.
Wellborn also offers a unique celebrity car, the famous 1978 Pontiac Firebird featured in the TV series The Rockford Files starring the late actor and motorsports enthusiast James Garner.
Speaking of celebrities, Mecum has a 1959 Harley-Davidson FLH Duo Glide that once belonged to “The Killer” himself, rock ‘n roll icon Jerry Lee Lewis. There should be a whole lotta shakin’ when that bad boy rolls over the block.
Another group of American vehicles getting attention is from the Macchia collection, with 45 examples of mostly muscle cars and sports cars all being offered at no reserve. Nine special-edition Corvettes will be on the docket from the Roger Juddski collection.
Some other highlights of the Mecum Kissimmee auction:
• The Ray Allen Super Stock champion 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 convertible drag car, valued from $500,000 to $600,000.
• A 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T that has been driven just over 1,870 miles, with full documentation, valued from $450,000 and $550,000.
• A 1972 Lola T310 Can Am race car once driven by David Hobbs, and valued from $550,000 to $750,000.
• The 1965 Chevrolet Corvette coupe four-wheel-disc-brake demonstrator/show car, serial number 001, $100,000-$150,000.
• A 1972 Ferrari Dino offered at no reserve, but expect the price to go well into the six figures.
• An AACA Senior Award-winning 1953 Buick Estate woody wagon valued from $120,000 to $140,000.
• A restored former “barn find” 1969 Pontiac Trans Am with matching-numbers 400/435 hp Ram Air III V8, four-speed manual and 34,500 miles on its odometer. The Pontiac is valued from $125,000 to $175,000.
The Mecum Kissimmee auction will be televised on the NBCSports Network. For the TV schedule and other information about the sale, see www.mecum.com.