Highlighted by the appearance of rock ‘n roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis to help sell his all-original ’59 Harley – and to perform “Great Balls of Fire” on stage with a piano – the 10-day Mecum classic car auction last week in Kissimmee, Florida, exceeded $68.8 million in sales, beating last year’s Florida sale by around $5.4 million.
Although Mecum had forecast before the auction that 3,000 vehicles would cross the block, the 2015 lineup came out to 2,404, compared with 2,750 at the 2014 sale. But the latest sell-through rate was a solid 74 percent, compared with 64 percent last year.
Mecum also over-estimated the value of Jerry Lee’s pristine 1959 Harley-Davison FLH with just over 2,000 miles. Auction chief Dana Mecum stated before the sale that the celebrity provenance could lift the motorcycle into the $1 million range. The Harley did score a hefty $350,000 sale on the block (Mecum sales results do not include auction fees), which was multiple times the value of a non-celebrity ’59 FLH and put the motorcycle in eighth place among the auction’s highest sales.
Top seller at the Kissimmee event was the record-breaking bid for a 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona, sailing on its towering wing to $900,000. Part of the highly anticipated sale of the Tim and Pam Wellborn collection of premium muscle cars, the Daytona was restored to as-new condition by Mopar expert Roger Gibson.
Add in the auction fee and the Daytona sale totaled just a smidge under $1 million. According to the latest Hagerty Price Guide, the NASCAR-homologated muscle car in excellent condition is valued at $425,000. Time to update!
The Daytona was the first car in the Wellborn Collection to hit the block, and the Wellborns drove it on stage to introduce the 25 vehicles from their private Alabama museum being sold back-to-back in Kissimmee. All told, the Wellborn cars reached $4,228,000 (plus auction fees), with multiple record-setting prices achieved.
“This previously unobtainable collection, being offered to the public for the very first time in Kissimmee, served as an excellent way to help set the tone and take the pulse of the collector-car market for 2015, as we predicted it would,” Frank Mecum, the auction company’s consignment director, said in a news release.
Another highlight of the Wellborn Collection sale was that of a 1970 Dodge Challenger T/A that sold to a determined bidder for a record $185,000. After the sale, it was revealed that the winner was the original owner who had purchased the Challenger brand new in 1970.
The second-highest sale in Florida also was remarkable. The original owner of a 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T sold his excellent unrestored car with just 1,871 on its odometer for a resounding $640,000, which is about three times the value listed in the Hagerty guide for such a car in excellent condition. But this was a one-of-a-kind time-capsule R/T that is unlikely to ever be duplicated.
Mecum Auctions at Kissimmee, Top 10 sales:
1. 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona (Lot F180) at $900,000
2. 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T (Lot S136) at $640,000
3. 2006 Prevost 45′ Country Coach Silver Falls Edition (Lot K11) at $600,000
4. 1965 Shelby GT350 Fastback (Lot S152) at $445,000
5. 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback (Lot F184) at $425,000
6. 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Tanker Coupe (Lot S164) at $415,000
7. 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Nova (Lot S146) at $380,000
8. 1959 Harley-Davidson FLH Duo-Glide (Lot S157) at $350,000
9. 1989 Lamborghini Countach 25th Anniversary (Lot S169) at $350,000
10. 2006 Ford GT (Lot S131) at $300,000
(Prices reflect hammer sales before auction fees.)
The Mecum auction also featured many affordable classic cars for sale. For a complete list of results, see mecum.com.