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