If the 2022 edition of Kissimmee, Florida, seemed unbeatable with 2,676 cars sold and over 201 million dollars in revenue, Dana Mecum’s intentions for Kissimmee 2023 would appear intent on raising the bar further during the various days of auction that open today on 4th January. Shortly before Christmas, he made a surprise gift to his considerable community when he announced he had reached lot number 4,050!
So what can we expect? Probably 3,200-3,300 cars sold and a turnover in line with last year (with an abundance of caution), when there were “just” 3,125 cars on offer. Should we go out on a limb and estimate 3,500 cars sold and 250 million dollars in turnover? Doesn’t sound like an unattainable result. It might even surpass the most successful auction in history and make a mockery of Pebble Beach 2022.
With over 4,000 lots, choosing just a few cars to keep an eye on shouldn’t be a difficult task, if anything it’s hard to exclude so many!
The first car that caught my attention is the Ferrari F40. It’s undeniable that it’s one of our absolute favourite cars, with all that incredible performance for the time and its wild design. But here, we are talking about the market: Ferrari Classiche certification, not a high mileage (11,000 miles) and above all, the fact that values are constantly growing. The estimate here is the sore point: at $3.7m-$4m, it could set a new world record (for the moment it stands at $3,965,000), but we must compare it with the $3.25 million paid for the one that used to belong to Paul Allen just a few weeks ago, which had covered just 2,700 miles. The car is undeniably beautiful, but that estimate is somewhat optimistic. We will see.
The event extends over two weeks and, typically, the first weekend acts as a sort of warm-up for the following one where the most expensive lots are offered. But this time, Kissimmee has chosen to go all out with the Rick Grant III collection, on 7th January (the first of the two Saturdays): a number of cars ranging from a 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Binder Coupe ($450,000-$650,000) to a 1986 Ferrari Testarossa monospecchio with 9,600 miles on the clock ($175,000-$225,000).
The focal points of the collection though, are a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 ($2.25m-$2.6m), a 1959 Porsche 718 RSK ($3.5m-$4m) and a 1959 BMW 507 Roadster ($1.8m-$2,2m). The estimates, as you will probably have guessed, are all slightly low and, with the exception of the Porsche RSK, they are all offered without reserve. And this is very good news indeed.
For a sale like this, the great American muscle cars are right at home. The first two I have chosen are a 1969 Chevrolet Berger Camaro and a 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona NASCAR, both with a remarkable sporting past. The Camaro participated in the NHRA championships in 1969 under the colours of the Berger Chevrolet team.
The Daytona competed in the NASCAR Championship with Bobby Allison. These two lots represent the very pinnacle of American competition cars and are therefore veritable pieces of history which, to be fair, no European should try to “steal” from the American fans. We will have to wait and see the results.
Following these, is the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, the first and only year of production with the iconic split rear-window. The recent price spike for this model seems to have calmed down, and they no longer break the $500,000 threshold, but with three examples of the 327/360 model estimated between $250,000 and $400,000 we will have definitive proof of this trend.
Another car of considerable interest is the earliest-known second-generation Corvette Sting Ray in existence, a Convertible with the “top of the range” 327/360 engine, in Riverside Red with matching red interior. The estimate of $600,000-$800,000 (without reserve) seems more than reasonable, but I’m half expecting it to go for more.
Finally, we shouldn’t forget about the modern supercars. The lion’s share of these is taken by the Ford GT with no fewer than 9 examples for sale, seven of the series produced between 2004 and 2006 (including a Heritage) and a couple of the more recent ones produced after 2018. For the older ones, prices would appear to have settled at around the $500,000 mark, but one example – with among other things 1,460 miles on the clock, which is quite a lot for this model – has an estimate of $600,000-$675,000, which could start another dizzying bidding war. For the series presented in 2016, prices have fallen slightly: you can enter this world by paying a cool million for an example with just 18 miles to its credit. We’ll see.
And suddenly I’m out of space, even if there’s still room to mention the Shelby Cobra (three real ones plus dozens of replicas for every budget), three Mercedes-Benz 300SLs (a Gullwing and two Roadsters), various “Hemis” that could easily break the million-dollar threshold, a Mustang Boss 429 Fastback and cars with much more affordable budgets.
Did I tell you about the Lockheed 1329 jet that Elvis Presley used on tour? Oh well, I’ll tell you the rest next time!