Diverse Mecum auction in Denver hits $11.4 million in sales

A 1960 VW 23-window bus was the second-highest seller in Denver | Mecum Auctions photos
A 1960 VW 23-window bus was the second-highest seller in Denver | Mecum Auctions photos

In case you needed evidence that Mecum brings a diverse selection of collector cars to its auctions, just take a look at the five top sellers from the Denver sale last weekend.

The highest sale was that of a modern exotic, a 2016 Ferrari California T convertible sold for $165,000 (Mecum results do not include buyer fees). The Ferrari was followed by a vintage vehicle from the opposite end of the spectrum, a 1960 Volkswagen 23-window Samba microbus that went for $120,000. Continue reading

13 cars from Comer collection going to Mecum’s Monterey sale

1958 Lister-Jaguar 'Knobbly' was owned and raced by Briggs Cunningham | Mecum Auctions photos
1958 Lister-Jaguar ‘Knobbly’ was owned and raced by Briggs Cunningham | Mecum Auctions photos

From an ex-Cunningham Lister-Jaguar “Knobbly” sports racer to an unrestored, 39,000-mile Ford Pinto Squire station wagon, and from a 1956 Bimbo racer formerly owned by E.L. Cord to an ex-Bud Moore NASCAR stock car, Colin Comer’s consignments for Mecum’s Monterey auction are eclectic, to say the least.

Oh, and there’s also an Indy car in the mix. Continue reading

Van’s sale will deliver ‘bread’ to children’s hospitals

Chevrolet bread van crosses the block today at Mecum's auction in Oregon | Mecum Auctions photos
Chevrolet van crosses the block today at Mecum’s Portland auction | Mecum Auctions photos

Technically, Lot S181 up for bidding today at Mecum Auctions’ sale in Portland, Oregon, is a highly customized 1950 Chevrolet bread delivery van powered by 383 cubic-inch “stroker” engine linked to a 700R4 automatic transmission.

But the “bread” this truck will deliver isn’t the kind that comes out of an oven. Instead, proceeds from the van’s sale will benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children. Continue reading

Bringing it home: Mecum adds trucking to its auction business

Semi tractor trailers sporting Mecum graphics are used for collector vehicle transport | Mecum Auctions
Semi tractor trailers sporting Mecum graphics are used for collector vehicle transport | Mecum Auctions photos

Mecum Auctions has branched out from the auction business and into collector car-transportation, offering its buyers a means to bring their prizes home in enclosed trailers emblazoned with the Mecum logo.

The new Mecum Auto Transport service, launched in April, already has transported some significant vehicles to auction, such as the collection of the late Chevrolet Dealer Bob McDorman to the recent Indianapolis sale, as well as providing delivery of cars sold at auction. More than 1,000 collector vehicles consigned to auction or purchased from various Mecum auctions have been transported for customers so far, according to Mecum. Continue reading

Hot Corvettes, Camaros star at Mecum’s Portland auction

The 1965 Chevrolet Corvette convertible is a three-time NCRS Top Flight Award winner | Mecum Auctions photos
The 1965 Chevrolet Corvette convertible is a three-time NCRS Top Flight Award winner | Mecum Auctions photos

While green Portland, Oregon, is most-often considered the land of Subarus and vintage Volvos, Mecum Auctions returns to the Northwest city June 16-17 with a sale featuring a pair of high-performance Corvettes. Continue reading

Mecum scores biggest total at 30th anniversary Indy auction

A rare, high-performance 1996 Porsche 911 GT2 EVO was the top-selling vehicle at Indy | Mecum Auctions
A rare, high-performance 1996 Porsche 911 GT2 EVO was the top-selling vehicle at Indy | Mecum Auctions photos

With a rare Porsche high-performance 911 coupe leading the way, Mecum Auctions reached $55.6 million at its Original Spring Classic collector car sale in Indianapolis, Indiana, the highest total yet for the auction as it celebrated its 30th anniversary.

The sale last weekend sale sent 1,665 vehicles over the block, with 1,208 of them selling for a 73 percent sell-through rate. Continue reading

Rick’s picks at Mecum’s 30th annual Spring Classic

Just a few of the 1,400 or so cars available this week at Mecum's Indy auction | Rick Carey photos
Just a few of the 1,400 or so cars available this week at Mecum’s Indy auction | Rick Carey photos

In the 12-decade history of the automobile, 3 decades is but a quarter. Even in collector car auction history, it is not even half. Still, by any reasonable or relative benchmark, the three-decade history of Mecum Auctions’ Spring Classic is worth considering. Continue reading

Klairmont Kollection: Chicago’s hidden gem

Klairmont Kollection features 300 cars in its Chicago 'museum' | Photos by Larry Nutson
Klairmont Kollection features 300 cars in its Chicago ‘museum’ | Photos by Larry Nutson

Love affairs develop in various ways. Like many loves, a love affair with the automobile can start with an interest and grow to a passion.

Illinois native Larry Klairmont’s interest in cars was already evident as a 5-year-old with a fondness for hood ornaments. Following Wold War II, Klairmont founded Imperial Dry Cleaners and it grew to become of the nation’s largest dry cleaning chains. While running his business, Klairmont began buying a car here and a car there. Continue reading

Nothing Mickey Mouse about car folks doing good

Mickey Mouse and his new Hot Doggin hot rod | Disney photo by Matt Alexander/PA Wire
Mickey Mouse and his new Hot Doggin hot rod | Disney photo by Matt Alexander/PA Wire

‘Goodonya.” Technically the expression is “good on ya,” but on my trips to Australia, it sure sounded as though folks were pronouncing a single word of encourage and agreement and approval for someone who had done something praiseworthy.

With that in mind, permit me to say “goodonyas” to Kevin Cornish and Deb Pollack. And to Dana Mecum and John Andretti. And to a consignor at Auctions America.

I moved from Michigan to Phoenix as the country was in full Y2K, the sky is falling panic mode. One of my early duties was to cover the collector car auctions taking place and I remember people talking even then about how Arizona needed a concours d’elegance and maybe even a vintage racing weekend.

There was lots of such talk, though precious little beyond that, in the ensuing years, at least that was the case until a local car collector named Kevin Cornish put words into action, formed a committee and launched the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Sadly, after only four years, that event succumbs to a lack of sponsorship.

Nonetheless, in just four years the event featured some of the world’s finest automobiles, and in the magnificent yet intimate setting of the inner grounds of the Arizona Biltmore resort, and perhaps most importantly, raised $300,000 for Make-A-Wish, money that enabled 30 children facing life-threatening illnesses to have their wishes come true, even if only for a day.

Deb Pollack and those who drove toward a cure
Deb Pollack and those who drove toward a cure

And then there’s Deb Pollack, an auto-oriented public relations professional I’ve known for more years than either of us is eager to admit. Complications from Parkinson’s disease claimed Deb’s mother in 2006. Last month, Deb overcame grief with gumption by staging the first Drive Toward a Cure auto rally and convinced 36 car owners to take their choice of routes — south from the Bay area or north from Los Angeles, meeting in Paso Robles a few days and several hundred miles later.

There were various events along the routes, including an autocross in which a skillfully driven 2017 Subaru Outback posted a time faster than any of the exotic vehicles in the field.

From what I’ve heard, a good time was had by all, and in the process $25,000 is being donated to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center. Deb’s planning another such rally this fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains with the finish line at the second Atlanta Concours d’Elegance, and hopes to stage more such events, including similar rallies in Europe.

Did you know that Mickey Mouse is a car guy?

London cabbie reacts to seeing Mickey and his new hot rod
London cabbie reacts to seeing Mickey and his new hot rod

Turns out that the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse has been replaced by Mickey and the Roadster Racers on the Disney Junior and Disney Channels, with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald, Daisy and Pluto racing around Hot Dog Hills and other locations.

One of the characters on the animated program is race announcer Billy Beagle, whose voice you might recognize (it’s Jay Leno).

Turn out, as well, that Mickey’s car, the Hot Doggin Hot Rod, has emerged from the television screen to become a running vehicle that was unveiled last week to a British audience at the London Motor Show 2017. Sometime this month, an episode of the program features Mickey and company chasing down a thief who steals the Queen’s crown jewels.

Speaking of racing and the month of May…

Mecum Auctions, which stages its 30th annual Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic sale May 16-20 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, will sponsor Dreyer & Reinbold Racing’s No. 24 Chevrolet-powered car and driver Sage Karam in the 101st Indianapolis 500.

Mecum Auctions sponsors Indy entry | Mecum photo
Mecum Auctions sponsors Indy entry | Mecum photo

Mecum sponsored the historic Dreyer & Reinbold car in 2012, with Oriol Servia driving to a fourth-place finish.

By the way, Karam, 22, is from Nazareth, Pennsylvania, the hometown of the Andretti family.

The Dreyer & Reinbold team traces its roots to the 1920s and Indy car builder Floyd “Pop” Dreyer. Dennis Reinbold is Dreyer’s grandson and has been fielding cars for the 500 since 2000.

Dana Mecum also has a long history with Indy cars, collecting them and each year leading the Millers at Milwaukee vintage racing weekend. Last summer, two of Mecum’s vintage Indy racers were on the 18th fairway for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where his 1965 Ford GT40 roadster also was part of the featured Ford GT40 50th anniversary Le Mans victory class.

Speaking of auctions and Indiana and the month of May…

1947 Dodge pickup
1947 Dodge pickup

Two of the cars on the docket at Auctions America’s Auburn Spring sale this weekend in northeast Indiana are being sold to benefit the automotive restoration technology program at McPherson College in Kansas. The vehicles are a 1947 Dodge pickup (Lot 3134) and a 1932 Ford three-window street-rod coupe (Lot 3135).

Each car has a pre-sale estimated value of $20,000 to $30,000.

Speaking of things most people would prefer to ignore…

In my first professional lifetime, I wrote about sports. Primarily stick-and-ball sports, but also about auto racing. One of the things that makes writing about auto racing different from writing about other sports is that sometimes, too often, your stories become obituaries for drivers for whom the checkered flag has flown too soon.

Knee injuries are debilitating. Death is fatal, and final.

Try as we do, even the most objective of journalists cannot help but establish friendships with some of the people about whom they write. For me, one of those people has been John Andretti, son of Aldo, nephew of Mario, cousin of Michael, husband of Nancy, father of Olivia and Jarett and Amelia.

John may be the most versatilely successful racer in history, having raced not only Indy cars and stock cars and Le Mans-style prototypes but also a Top Fuel drag racer. And he survived it all.

But now, at age 54, and ready to walk a daughter down the aisle at her wedding, he’s been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer, and it has spread to his liver and, at last report, doctors fear to his spleen as well.

As might be expected, John is fighting the disease, and his fight includes going public and using his celebrity to encourage everyone to get screened, and to do so years earlier than usual.

“You don’t know,” John told the Indianapolis Star newspaper. “Nobody knows until they get screened.

“I’m glad people are taking this as a wakeup call,” he added.

After 50 years (but only 8,500 miles), a hero’s Corvette is going to auction

First father, then son have meticulously maintained this car since new | Mecum Auctions photos by David Newhardt
First father, then son have meticulously maintained this car since new | Mecum Auctions photos by David Newhardt

Like many who were drafted into military service and sent to fight in Vietnam, and who were fortunate enough to come home, Keith Richard Litavsky returned and bought the car of his dreams, a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette: Marina Blue with Bright Blue interior, and a 427-cubic-inch, 435-horsepower V8 linked to an M21 four-speed manual transmission.

Fifty years later, the car has been driven only 8,533 miles, a figure that may tick up slightly as it is driven across the block at Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic auction, May 16-21 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. Continue reading