Market and auctions

Mecum. And the Americans buy…

Cliff Goodall’s view

Photo credit: Mecum

I can’t decide which is more American: the apple pie or Mecum.

Following the epidemic that upset their plans (cancelling their sale of Monterey, the most “European” of all), the auction house decided to play the ace up its sleeve by proposing a summer version of their flagship event with a sale in Kissimmee, Florida using the traditional auctioneer-in-the-hall formula. Organized annually in January, this event usually attracts between 2,500 and 3,500 cars with sales in the order of $70-90,000,000. This “special edition” event, however, was a scaled-down version. With just 739 cars on offer (and 464 sold, equal to 62.79%) and sales totalling $17,385,060, it was by no means comparable to the original but neither did it claim to be. They should be congratulated for their resourcefulness and, in any case, considering the various factors at stake – not least the growing risks of a new lockdown and the upcoming US elections – the results can be considered more than satisfactory.

Finally, out of sheer curiosity: their other workhorse is the sale in Indianapolis and they have organized a special sale at the end of October for this event too. We’re going to keep our antennas up ready to pick up any signals the market chooses to send out.

2018 Ford GT sold for $935,000

Of the 10 most expensive cars sold, 8 were manufactured on US soil and were championed by the 2018 Ford GT. I bet you know the technical specifications by heart so I will limit my observations to the market. When this model was launched, Ford dealers were inundated with purchase requests, but the parent company immediately imposed a ban on the resale of the car within the first 24 months, which diminished the interest of many speculators. The famous wrestler John Cena… forgot about this rule and took his to an auction. Ford’s lawyers, on the other hand, took Cena to court and the news quickly spread around the world. That’s why the first sentence of the vehicle’s description reassured buyers about the possibility of sale. Two examples have recently been sold: one with 44 miles on the clock for $946,000, and another with 1,300 miles on the clock for $858,000. This example had covered just 97 miles from new, so to have some fun we can safely say that the $935,000 sale price was correct.

1965 Shelby Cobra Replica sold for $30,800

With the same money you could buy a Shelby Cobra but in this case we found one that cost 96% less. Nothing illegal, it was a replica. I don’t love them myself but I fully understand that with the values achieved by some models, it’s becoming practically impossible to use them. Can you imagine using a real Cobra for a track day or to go to Starbucks? This reconstruction with just 4,000 miles from new was powered by a Ford-derived 3.0 V6 engine with 220bhp and a five-speed manual gearbox. Estimated at $35-45,000 without reserve, it was sold for $30,800 and at this price, you can make your way to your local café completely worry-free. That’s why it’s the car I would have taken away from this auction.

1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback sold for $187,000

If you wanted something original and “iconic” you could have chosen the 1967 Shelby GT500 Fastback. In the early 2000s, the 1967 GT500 became famous as “Eleanor”, the unicorn of the car thief Memphis Raines (Nicolas Cage) in the film “Gone in 60 Seconds”. At the time, the GT500 was worth a few tens of thousands of dollars, and many tried to convert their models by imitating the heroine of the film with questionable results. Fortunately, this particular example was saved and was presented in original condition (although it had been repainted in 1991) complete with its Police Interceptor engine (355hp). Between 2006 and 2007, American muscle cars suffered (or benefited from, I’ll let you decide) a speculative bubble with market quotations exceeding $300,000 for the very best examples. This model, which was sold for $187,000, was one of the few not to have been impacted by significant price fluctuations over the last 15 years.

1969 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible sold for $26,400

This totally stars and stripes edition could not have gone without an example of the true American legend, the Corvette. I could not have left out this model but instead of choosing one of the many expensive examples, I decided to complicate my job and search among the “underdogs” and the less appreciated models, looking for the diamond in the rough. I finally chose a C3 series model produced in 1969, in Roadster configuration with the 5.7-litre small block engine (350cu in). Although this is the least performing model of the family, it still pumps out 350hp while the design of the first examples (like this one) best represents the concept of Larry Shinoda. That’s why at $26,400 (against an estimate of $25-35,000) it was by far the most interesting Corvette of the event, even for those who don’t have millionaire budgets.