Steve McQueen pickup camper to be auctioned by Mecum

The Chevrolet pickup camper was owned and driven by the late Steve McQueen | Mecum Auctions
The Chevrolet pickup camper was owned and driven by the late Steve McQueen | Mecum Auctions

Another automotive artifact once owned by the late Steve McQueen comes to auction this weekend during Mecum’s sale in Anaheim, although this one has nothing to do with Porsches, Ferraris or motorcycles.

A 1952 Chevrolet 3800 one-ton custom pickup truck with a hand-built camper shell that McQueen owned toward the end of his life will cross the block during the November 12-14 auction at the Anaheim Convention Center. Continue reading

Mecum readies Dallas auction with prime big-block muscle

The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 has been restored to perfection, Mecum says | Mecum photos
The 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 has been restored to perfection, Mecum says | Mecum photos

More than 1,000 collector cars are rolling in for Mecum’s fifth annual Dallas auction from September 16-19, featuring a big-block selection that includes a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 454 and a 1969 Dodge Daytona 440.

Continue reading

Update: Jerry Lee Lewis’ Harley hits $385k at auction

The ’59 Harley owned by Jerry Lee Lewis was a star vehicle at the Florida auction | Dan Duckworth/Mecum
The ’59 Harley owned by Jerry Lee Lewis was a star vehicle at the Florida auction | Dan Duckworth/Mecum

Although the pristine 1959 Harley-Davidson FLH owned by rock legend Jerry Lee Lewis failed to achieve the forecast million-dollar mark Saturday at Mecum’s auction in Kissimmee, Florida, it did sell for a resounding $385,000, including auction fee.

The Harley has just over 2,000 miles on its odometer and until its sale was owned since new by Lewis, 79, who appeared with the motorcycle during the bidding. The celebrity provenance approximately tripled the inherent value of the desirable and highly original full-dress Harley.

Before the Florida sale, auction founder and chief Dana Mecum estimated that the motorcycle would cross into the seven-figure range, an extreme rarity for any two-wheeler.

“This could be the $1 million motorcycle,” Mecum said in a news release prior to the event.

The result for the Harley was the eighth-highest vehicle sale so far during the huge Kissimmee event, which boasted around 3,000 vehicles at auction.

The ’59 Harley FLH with its iconic Panhead V-twin engine was presented as a gift to Jerry Lee by Harley-Davidson, which gave a second one to another famous ‘50s rock star, Elvis Presley.

The highest known price ever achieved for a motorcycle happened in October when the “Captain America” Harley-Davidson chopper purportedly used in the movie Easy Rider was sold at auction for $1.35 million, even though its authenticity was in question.

Read the earlier story about Jerry Lee Lewis’ motorcycle at Million-dollar Harley? 

Mecum to auction 750 motorcycles in Vegas

An elegant 1912 Indian single-cylinder motorcycle | Mecum
An elegant 1912 Indian single-cylinder motorcycle | Mecum photos

The largest Mecum MidAmerica motorcycle auction, with more than 750 antique and collector bikes coming up for sale, takes place January 8-10 at the South Point Casino and Exhibit Hall in Las Vegas.

Everything from Harleys to Hondas, Triumphs to Moto Guzzis, and ranging from early 20th Century motorbikes to classic performance and racing machines will be auctioned during the three-day sale.

The 24th annual MidAmerica Motorcycle auction, which is now owned by the Mecum auction company, will feature two-wheeled beauties from 10 private collections, including those from such well-known bikers as Shane Van Pelt, Don Andress, David Silver and Buddy Stubbs.

A 1936 BSA classic V-twin
A British classic V-twin 1936 BSA Model Y13

“The consignments to be offered this year are, in every sense of the word, treasures to the antique motorcycle world,” said Ron Christenson, president of Mecum’s MidAmerica Motorcycle division, in a news release.

“They will truly excite even the most seasoned motorcycle collector as they cross the auction block. And with our largest offering ever, there is undoubtedly something that will please virtually any motorcycle enthusiast.”

Among the offerings will be several historic racing motorcycles, along with such special items as the stunt bike used in the 1990 Captain America movie from the Gary Davis Collection. Early board-track racers, ’30s cruisers and rare European exotics also will cross the block.

For more information about the Las Vegas motorcycle sale, see mecum.com.

2014 top stories: No. 8 — Auctions change TV channels

A 1969 Mustang Boss 429  crosses the block during a recent Barrett-Jackson auction | Barrett-Jackson
A 1969 Mustang Boss 429 crosses the block during a recent Barrett-Jackson auction | Barrett-Jackson

For so many years, the Barrett-Jackson classic car auctions and the SPEED Channel were nearly symbiotic, the SPEED cable programming bringing unparalleled popularity to Barrett-Jackson and the auction programming bringing an enthusiastic audience of viewers to SPEED.

But things change, and the Fox parent group last year decided to terminate SPEED as an automotive channel in the United States and replace it with another sports channel.

That left Barrett-Jackson programming scattered on Fox affiliate stations, so no one was really surprised when Barrett-Jackson announced in April that it would change channels, moving its live auction coverage to Velocity and the Discovery Channel, which are owned by Discovery Communications.

The Velocity/Discovery programming starts with Barrett-Jackson’s signature Scottsdale auction in January, with expanded coverage that includes live, Spanish-language versions for Central and South American viewers.

Coverage continues with Barrett-Jackson’s other auctions in Palm Beach, Florida; Reno, Nevada; and Las Vegas.

For longtime Barrett-Jackson viewers, the changeover will be fairly seamless as some of the on-air personalities from SPEED will still be present, namely Mike Joy, Steve Magnante and Rick DeBruhl. The production company that worked the auctions for SPEED will continue producing the programs for Velocity/Discovery.

Mecum Auctions also jumped ship earlier in 2014, leaving the Velocity Channel for NBC and its Sports Group, with whom it signed a three-year contract for auction programming. NBC Sports Group recently launched a weekly reality show based on the auctions called Mecum Dealmakers.

And the ineffable classic car enthusiast Jay Leno launched yet another television enterprise during 2014 after his retirement from the Tonight Show, turning his periodic YouTube videos into a regular TV program on CNBC that explores his vast collection of classic cars and motorcycles housed in the Big Dog Garage in Burbank, California. Obviously, Jay serves as host.

 

Mecum ends the year with its first Austin auction

he 1967 Mustang ‘Eleanor’ appeared in the ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ remake | Mecum Auctions
The 1967 Mustang ‘Eleanor’ appeared in the ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ remake | Mecum Auctions

Mecum Auctions further expands its reach this weekend with its inaugural Austin, Texas, sale, which will close out the year’s schedule of 21 auctions.

The Austin auction, to be held December 12-13 at the Austin Convention Center, features a selection of around 600 American muscle cars, classics, hot rods, resto mods and sports cars, including a 1967 Corvette 427 convertible once owned by Mercury-era astronaut Gus Grissom.

Other highlights:

A 1941 Chevy pickup from the Kisber collection | Mecum Auctions
A 1941 Chevy pickup from the Kisber collection | Mecum Auctions

A 1967 Ford Mustang that is one of three “Eleanor” customs used in the 2000 remake of Gone in 60 Seconds.

A 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe with just 2,000 miles on its odometer and Bloomington Gold Certified recognition.

The Kisber Vintage Truck Collection of six nicely restored ’30s and ’40s pickups from Chevrolet, Hudson, Willys, Studebaker and Diamond T.

The Butch Cooley Collection of Chevys, including Suburbans, pickups, convertibles and a ’55 Nomad, plus a ’59 Cadillac hardtop.

“We’re thrilled to have our first event in Austin serve as our grand finale for 2014,” said Dana Mecum, president and founder of Mecum Auctions.

Portions of the auction will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network with a live stream of the entire event presented at www.mecum.com.

750 collector cars readied for Mecum Anaheim auction

The ’70 Plymouth Superbird is powered by a 440 V8 with six-pack carbs | Mecum Auction
The ’70 Plymouth Superbird is powered by a 440 V8 with six-pack carbs | Mecum Auction

A 2006 Ford GT with only seven miles on its odometer, a bright-red 1970 Plymouth Superbird with a 440 cid V8 and four-speed stickshift, and a 616-horsepower 2006 Calloway C16 Corvette – the first C16 convertible built by the custom-performance specialists – are some of the highlights of Mecum Auction’s sale at the Anaheim Convention Center from November 13-15.

About 750 muscle cars, street rods, classics, exotics and other popular collector cars will cross the block during the Southern California auction by Mecum, the Wisconsin auction company that calls itself the world’s largest seller of collector cars, motorcycles and automobilia. Mecum auctions average one per month with more than 15,000 vehicles sold annually, the company says.

The Ford GT should attract top bidders | Mecum Auctions
The Ford GT should attract top bidders | Mecum Auctions

The ultra-low-mileage Ford GT should attract plenty of attention, judging by recent sales of these “instant classic” sports coupes that have rung up $400,000-plus results at auction. At Mecum’s recent Chicago event, GTs ranked as the top three sellers, with a 2006 Heritage Edition painted in classic orange-and-blue Gulf racing livery reaching a remarkable $475,000, not including auction fees. The second- and third-place GTs hammered at $335,000 and $300,000, before fees.

Another highlight of the Anaheim auction is the restored Superbird, a rare high-performance version of the NASCAR homologated supercar with its towering rear wing, powered by the 440 V8 with triple two-barrel Holley carburetors. The award-winning Plymouth is documented by its original broadcast sheet.

The first Callaway C16 convertible | Mecum Auctions
The first Callaway C16 convertible comes to auction | Mecum Auctions

The limited-production Callaway C16 Corvette, serial number 003, was built in 2007 to customer specifications and sports a custom body in Tangelo Orange with German-made Carbon Black interior. The engine is a 6-liter Calloway-modified LS3 with Eaton Rootes-type supercharger that generates 616 horsepower, connected with a six-speed manual transmission. The super Vette has traveled just 5,785 miles.

Other featured cars include a 1957 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, one of 630 produced in the first year of production, a 1954 Buick Skylark convertible and a 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe street rod built by Lonnie Gilbertson and shown on the cover of Street Rod Builder magazine.

Portions of the three-day auction will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network with a live stream of the entire auction presented at Mecum.com. Automobilia auctions will precede each day of vehicle sales.

Ford GTs continue reign as top sellers at Mecum auction

The 2005 Ford GT comes up on the block at Mecum’s Chicago auction | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum Auctions
The 2005 Ford GT comes up on the block at Mecum’s Chicago auction | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum Auctions

The words “instant classic” get thrown around quite a bit, usually wrongly, but if ever a modern car deserved the title, it’s the Ford GT.

The supercar rendition of the GT40, Ford’s Ferrari-beating Le Mans race car of the 1960s, there were just over 4,000 GT coupes built from 2005-2006, and they received massive acclaim for their masterful styling and stunning performance.

But who would have expected that the GT would double and triple its value in such a short time, or take its place as a sales leader alongside vintage collector cars at auction?

The Ford GT triple threat before the sale | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum Auctions
The Ford GT triple threat before the sale | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum

“They are popping up everywhere at auctions,” said David H. Kinney, a veteran car appraiser and collector-car auction expert. “It’s one of very few cars that were built in the 2000s that never depreciated any real amount and continue to appreciate in value.”

Mecum Auctions’ Chicago sale this past weekend again hammered home the rising values of Ford GTs as bona fide collector cars, with the fast Fords taking the top three spots in the sales results, a reminder of when GT40s won first, second and third place at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The highest sale of the auction was for a 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition, painted in the famous orange-and-blue livery that adorned GT40s of the ’60s Gulf Racing team. One of just 343 produced, and with just 182 miles on its odometer, this one sold for $475,000 (prices exclude the auction premium), one of the highest prices ever realized for a Ford GT.

Dana Mecum signals a bid on the top-selling GT | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum Auctions
Dana Mecum signals a bid on the top-selling GT | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum Auctions

“And it’s really funny because the model they couldn’t sell as a new car, the Heritage Edition with the Gulf colors, is the one that collectors now want the most,” Kinney said, “which really gives you an idea of the difference between the new-car market and the collector-car market.”

Two other ultra-low mileage GTs came in second and third in the sales results – a 300-mile 2006 with Mark II black paint and silver Le Mans striping sold for $335,000 and a red 2005 with 382 miles hammered at $300,000.

Mecum’s auction at the Schaumburg Convention Center offered 936 vehicles with a 62 percent sell-through rate and total sales reaching $15,267,644. Besides the Ford GTs, classic Detroit muscle cars lead the pack in sales results.

Top 10 sales at the Chicago auction were:

1. 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition at $475,000
2. 2006 Ford GT at $335,000
3. 2005 Ford GT at $300,000
4. 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback at $200,000
5. 1970 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda at $185,000
6. 1969 Dodge Hemi Super Bee at $127,500
7. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible at $110,000
8. 2012 Chevrolet COPO Camaro at $105,000
9. 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible at $100,000
10. 1987 Buick GNX at $97,500

All sales reflect hammer prices before auction fees.

1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 sold for $200k | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum Auctions
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 sold for $200k | John Hollansworth Jr./Mecum Auctions

It was the Ford GTs that stole the show, which Kinney said is a common feature at collector-car auctions these days.

“If you look at other auctions, you’ll routinely see them in the top 10 cars,” he said, noting that the original base price for the GT was around $150,000. “And routinely they go for $300,000 and up for cars that are as-new or cars that don’t have any bad stories or history.”

Recent auction sales for Ford GTs at auction include those at the Auctions America Auburn sale, where a 2006 Heritage Edition that went for $360,000 and a 2005 coupe for $330,000 were the third- and fourth-highest sellers.

Barrett-Jackson sold a 2006 model for $291,500, including premium, at its Las Vegas sale last month, and RM sold a 2006 at its Monterey sale in August for $407,000, including premium. And two GTs topped Mecums’ November 2013 auction in Anaheim with sales of $264,100 and $224,700, including premiums.

Initially, the results might have seemed surprising for collector-car auction watchers who are accustomed to seeing only very high-end European exotics selling for big numbers as late-model cars.

“No, but it makes sense,” Kinney said. “It’s a true supercar, and it’s made in America, so it has that going for it.”

The GT also has a reputation as a capable everyday driver that is tractable and easy to handle in bumper-to-bumper traffic or at stratospheric high speeds, which top out at 205 mph. Reliability and maintenance are also strong points for a supercar boasting 550 horsepower from its supercharged 5.4-liter V8.

“They are more user-friendly then a lot of other exotic cars,” Kinney said. “They are not known for being temperamental. They’re known for being easy to live with.”

 

Mecum auction tops $31.4 million in Dallas

 The top-selling 1969 Corvette L88 convertible is one of two in black-on-black | Mecum Auctions
The top-selling 1969 Corvette L88 convertible is one of two in black-on-black | Mecum Auctions

After the rush of multi-million-dollar Ferraris and other seemingly unobtainable exotics at the recent Monterey collector-car auctions, it’s a relief to see the results of Mecum’s Dallas auction, where Chevys and Fords topped the bidding.

Total sales at Mecum’s fourth annual Dallas auction came to $31,428,039, with 766 of the 1,155 cars going to new owners, a 66 percent sell-through rate. That’s a drop from last year’s sale, which came to nearly $38 million, although that was with nearly 300 more cars crossing the block, including the top-selling 1967 Corvette L88 convertible that went for $3.2 million.

There were no million-dollar sales this year, although another Corvette L88 again led the pack. This one, a 1969 convertible race car that was ordered new by renowned L88 racer Tony DeLorenzo, hammered sold for $680,000, plus auction fees. The high-performance Vette is one of just two finished in black-on-black.

Four modern Ford GTs are among the top-10 sellers | Mecum Auctions
Four modern Ford GTs are among the top-10 sellers | Mecum Auctions

A couple of Camaros fill the next two top-sales slots: The first 1967 Camaro ever ordered by famed Yenko Chevrolet, which reached $300,000 (prices listed here do not include Mecum buyer’s fees), and an award-winning product of Yenko’s performance magic, a 1969 Yenko coupe, which hit $285,000.

Late-model Ford GT coupes, which have gained “instant collectability” status, made up no fewer than four of the top-10 spots at the Dallas auction, with impressive totals ranging from $280,000 to $255,000.

Mecum Dallas auction 2014, top-10 sales (prices do not include buyer’s fees):

1. 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 convertible, $680,000
2. 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, $300,000
3. 1969 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro, $285,000
4. 2005 Ford GT, $280,000
5. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible , $270,000
6. 2005 Ford GT, $260,000
7. 2006 Ford GT, $255,000
8. 2005 Ford GT, $255,000
9. 1971 Dodge Hemi Challenger R/T, $250,000
10. 2013 McLaren MP4-12C Spyder, $215,000