2018 Me­cum Kis­sim­mee Col­lec­tor Car Auc­tion Sees $96.6 Mil­lion in Sales

Muscle Car Review - - Mus­cle - By Ge­off Stunkard

The ham­mer falls, the auc­tion­eer yells, “SOLD! SOLD! SOLD!” and ev­ery­body is happy. This year Me­cum’s Kis­sim­mee auc­tion fea­tured more than 3,000 ve­hi­cles, with more than 2,200 of them sold over a 10-day win­dow that started Jan­uary 5, 2018. The event in Osce­ola Her­itage Park on the out­skirts of this Florida town has be­come an an­nual des­ti­na­tion for both se­ri­ous car col­lec­tors and gen­eral en­thu­si­asts. This year’s sales to­taled $96.6 mil­lion and count­ing, as some sales are still be­ing fi­nal­ized in the process that Me­cum calls The Bid Goes On. Those are big num­bers, although it ap­pears there’s some on­go­ing mar­ket cor­rec­tion at the mo­ment.

This is one of the largest col­lec­tor car auc­tions on the planet. The Me­cum for­mat puts be­tween 275 and 300 cars on the auc­tion block on a full day, with the event run­ning from a 9 a.m. open­ing time to some­time in the evening. The crew puts in a long stretch, with auc­tion­eers ro­tat­ing out of­ten and all work­ers get­ting a break ev­ery hour. The idea is to dis­play en­thu­si­asm, and the Me­cum peo­ple spend what it takes to of­fer an ex­pe­ri­ence as trou­ble-free as pos­si­ble for buy­ers, sell­ers, and at­ten­dees. So even if you don’t have a spare mil­lion to bid on big-ticket iron, you can come in on a gen­eral ad­mis­sion ticket to see a “car show” with some­place above a po­ten­tial $100 mil­lion in value, en­joy a thrill ride in a new Dodge, watch spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties, check out the mid­way and spon­sor dis­plays, and wit­ness the flurry of ac­tion from the sta­dium-level seats as the cars cross the block.

How is mus­cle far­ing in 2018? Let’s take a look.

Money Talks

There were some big sales in 2018, led by a pair of ZL1 Ca­maros that found a new home on Fri­day with fi­nal sell­ing price of $1,210,000. This was an in­ter­est­ing of­fer­ing fea­tur­ing two of the mere 69 alu­minu­mengined COPO ma­chines as a sin­gle lot. Con­sid­er­ing what a sin­gle ex­am­ple has done in the past, this was a pretty solid sale. Both re­tained their orig­i­nal en­gines, amaz­ing when you con­sider that most of them were dam­aged in rpm-re­lated in­ci­dents. Both now re­stored, one was from the small group of 13 that dealer Fred Gibb sold him­self (most of Gibbs’ 50-car or­der was re­as­signed by Chevro­let), and the other came from a Vir­ginia dealer and showed only 361 miles. It would be the high­light of Amer­i­can mus­cle this year and the third high­est value lot of 2018 be­hind two Fer­raris.

Top-sell­ing Ford was the

1965 Gas Ronda A/FX Ford Mustang from the Nick Smith col­lec­tion. Again, a fac­tory as­so­ci­ated car with a rare mo­tor (the SOHC 427), this car was built by Hol­man-Moody as the car show dis­play ve­hi­cle, but Ronda got it early in the year af­ter wreck­ing his first ex­am­ple in pre-sea­son test­ing. The car sold for $324,500. Fords were among the health­i­est sell­ers this year. Mer­cury sales were led off by an un­re­stored Boss 302 Cougar Elim­i­na­tor from the Wayne Sch­meeckle col­lec­tion, which ham­mered out at $121,000.

Aero cars would be the

chart-top­pers for the Mopars, with a

Hemi Su­per­bird sell­ing for $275,000 and a 440ci Day­tona fin­ish­ing at $253,000 for Plymouth and Dodge, re­spec­tively. There was a solid selec­tion of Chryslers at this year’s event, though a num­ber of own­ers de­cided to wait another day when the cars did not reach re­serve. Top car in The Bid Goes On cat­e­gory was the 1965 Dick Landy Dodge, also from the Nick Smith Col­lec­tion. This car was heav­ily pro­moted (as was the whole col­lec­tion), but a $500,000 fi­nal call was not enough to find new own­er­ship.

Top of the GM charts af­ter the Chevro­lets was $242,000 for a beau­ti­ful 1962 Su­per Duty Pon­tiac Catalina, which was not a vin­tage race car. A 1971 Olds 4-4-2 W-30 con­vert­ible took home a win­ning to­tal of $134,750, and top mus­cle Buick was the very rare (one of two) 1970 GS455 Stage 2 race car, whose $115,500 tally was be­hind two 1950s-era Buicks that brought a bit more. AMC’s top seller was a SC/Ram­bler at $66,000.

What Mar­ket?

Frankly, the stock mar­ket. There was some price mar­ket cor­rec­tion this year, but with the stock mar­ket at record highs and the over­all econ­omy soar­ing, the “big money” was not flow­ing freely. His­tory bears out that col­lec­tors who have a bal­anced port­fo­lio are presently in­vest­ing their money in the stock mar­ket, in real es­tate, and, in an­tic­i­pa­tion of the up­com­ing tax ben­e­fits, in busi­ness.

For ex­am­ple, let’s look at the Hemi Mopar mar­ket. The two Su­per­birds that sold were both Hemi mod­els, both col­umn-shift au­to­mat­ics, and both un­der $300,000. Sev­eral Hemi E-Bod­ies were on hand, none top­ping the $300,000 mar­gin at auc­tion, with a very orig­i­nal 1970 model in orange at $225,500 as top seller. The $143,000 pur­chase price on a one-ofone Plum Crazy four-speed Su­per Track Pack 1970 Coronet R/T hard­top was also stun­ning. Although the car was avail­able

Most of us know about the 1972 Hurst/Olds pace cars but have not seen the 1970 model. With just 268 built un­der code Y74, this is a 455-pow­ered cruiser with a Y25 RamAir hood, bench seat with cen­ter fold-down, power con­vert­ible top, and fac­tory air. The win­ning bid was $66,000, for a car whose restora­tion was just fin­ished last year.

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