Mecum’s press release states this year’s sale brought in a total of $37 million and a 77% sale rate.
Unfortunately, Mecum has declined to provide a complete post-sale auction report so it’s not possible to separate the cars and trucks from the Road Art and miscellany.
Still, $37 million is not to be sneezed at and is claimed (by Mecum) to be a record for this spring season venue, higher than last year’s sale which was also a record according to Mecum at $33.6 million.
The results we do have, scraped from the internet by Hagerty, do not support Mecum’s record total claim and are half a million below what Mecum claimed last year.
That’s a quandary.
I prefer to rely on the auction company’s results reports. They have the data and, accept it or not, this becomes the historical record. Forensic analysis of auction results should not be required, except where there’s a glaring disconnect.
In the case of Mecum Houston that disconnect is in their “Bid Goes On” results which report no-sale results with an imputed Buyer’s Premium added – like they sold at the reported but unsuccessful high bid. It is glaring and obvious in even the small sample of six no-sale lots described here by Andrew Newton, confirmed by a spot check of reported Mecum Houston results with HammerPrice and intuitively apparent in looking at the aggregate reported no-sales.
We all make mistakes – and I have made my share of them – but the newly revised Mecum dot com Houston website is consistently inaccurate, at least for no-sales.
I’ve brought the issue to the attention of Mecum’s Manager of Communications and Event Marketing David Morton, which he has forwarded to their IT Department. I hope it gets fixed before Dana Mecum’s Spring Classic at Indianapolis later this month, a sale I first covered in Belvedere, Illinois in 1991. The no-sale results here are adjusted to remove the errant 10%.
There is a tension between auction companies and observers like me and my colleagues at Hagerty. Auction companies want to put up great numbers. Observers want to capture and present accurate data. There is a realistic, consistent, meeting between the two camps where auction companies’ data coincides with common sense and reality and the auction companies get their great results because they consign great cars.
Here are the numbers
|Year||Cars Sold/ Offered||Sale %||Average Sale||Median Sale||Total $|
These numbers (Average Sale and Median Transaction) show that Mecum brought better quality consignments to Houston 2023 with corresponding bidders willing to spend for quality cars.
On-site observations and photos are by Andrew Newton. Lots are sorted in chronological order with Thursday transactions (“T”) first followed by Friday (“F”) and Saturday (“S”) cars.
Lot # T26 1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Convertible; S/N 51LP14919H; Chantilly Green/Brown vinyl; Estimate $40,000 – $60,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $25,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $27,500. – 337/154hp flathead V-8, automatic, wheel covers, Firestone wide whitewalls, fender skirts, boot cover, GE spotlight, pushbutton radio, power windows, dash clock. – From the Horton Museum collection. Good but older paint and chrome. Some pitting on the windshield wipers and spotlight. Worn steering wheel and faded gauges but very good upholstery and interior trim. Aged and neglected engine compartment with paint loss and some grime. Tidy underneath. Not a car you see often, older restored in nice colors. – Sold for $60,500 at RM Meadow Brook in 2007, $70,400 at Fort Lauderdale in 2008, and $55,650 at Mecum Dallas in 2012. All are mostly reasonable results for this car at that time and they would be for it today, at least after whatever tune-up and sorting needs it has to get it back on the road. This result in 2023, though, is downright cheap for such a handsome car, and indicative of a generally waning interest in early postwar American cars which are, like this Lincoln, bulky, ponderous vehicles with modest power.
Lot # T79 1960 Rambler American 2-Dr. Sedan; S/N B122736; Light Blue/White vinyl; Enthusiast restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $8,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $8,800. – 196/90hp L-head six, column shift 3-speed, wheel covers, whitewalls, Sunpro amp and oil pressure gauges. – Average respray with masking errors around the windshield and rear glass. Old, possibly original chrome. Lightly discolored and worn seat covers. Looks partially restored underneath. A fairly mundane car but because of that Ramblers are seldom seen these days. This one is finished in charming colors and is in solid driver condition. – In 1960 this Rambler carried a factory price of $1,795. Rambler built 22,960 of them and if you drove one it was only because it was one of the cheapest forms of transportation in America. It is still one of the cheapest forms of transportation in collector cars and if anything it is remarkable that this Rambler got as good attention as it did. The price is… the price.
Lot # T144.1 1981 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta Coupe; S/N 1G1AS87J2BL120551; Brown/Tan vinyl, Gray cloth; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $11,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $12,100. – 267/115hp V-8, automatic, gold wheels, Cooper Cobra tires, console, original radio, modern air conditioning. – Represented with new radiator, alternator, springs, and heater core. Showing 97,844 miles. Average repaint that shines well but shows particles in the finish. Lightly scratched rear glass. Faded rear deck and switchgear as well as worn seatbelts. Unrestored but maintained underneath. A driver/cruiser. – And bought for driver/cruiser money. The Camaro Berlinetta has a rather boring powertrain, but it does give the classic look and feel, and it does it for cheap.
Lot # T152 1979 AMC Pacer DL 2-Dr. Station Wagon; S/N A9A687C181090; Burgundy/Burgundy vinyl; Unrestored original 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $23,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $25,300. – 258/110hp six, Column shift automatic, narrow whitewalls, roof rack, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning, factory radio. – Showing 10,658 miles that are represented as actual. Original paint with finish that shows beautifully (for a Pacer, anyway) with only the most minor blemishes. The brightwork is faded but presentable, and the interior looks nearly new. Few signs of age underneath, too. Surely one of the cleanest Pacers anywhere in the world. – And for this money, it better be. An eccentric “love-to-hate-it” kind of car, Pacers have a cult following and some growing appreciation for malaise era cars has pulled Pacer pricing up by significant but not crazy amounts, shown by its no-sale at Branson Spring 2010 on bid of just $7,750. That said, it will always be something of a rolling punchline and probably never all that valuable, so it’s impressive that someone kept this one so clean. Only a handful of Pacers have ever sold for more than this, including the one from Wayne’s World, so the seller should be thrilled at the result in Houston.
Lot # T202 1980 Mini 1275S Sedan; S/N XE2D2000679817; Red, Union Jack roof/Black vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original 4+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $15,000. – LHD. 1,275/59hp, 4-speed, modern alloy wheels. – Showing 62,565 km. No history represented and the car card identifies it as a Morris Cooper S, which is incorrect. It also says comprehensive restoration, but it’s not that, either. The engine bay is filthy, and there is no air cleaner on the carb. The paint is very faded. The tires are old, and the wheels look out of place on this car. The interior is worn but sound. This would be a fun project if it went for cheap enough. – The Mini Clubman and 1275 GT attempted to modernize the Mini with a squared-off nose that looked right at home in the 1970s but today just lacks the charm of the original Mini. The 1275 GTs aren’t worth as much as their curvier cousins, and it is ridiculous to turn down 15 grand for one that needs as much as this one does. It absolutely should have sold at this price. It could have sold for less than 10, too.
Lot # T270 1976 Toyota Corolla SR5 Lift Back; S/N TE51514309; Green/Brown vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $9,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $9,900. – 1,588/102hp, 5-speed, Kumho tires, original radio. – Crazy original, and when was the last time you saw one? Paint looks like it might be original and is very good. Some light dirt underneath but maintained and unrestored. Dull, flawed brightwork. Faded rear carpet with a light rip but otherwise the interior looks fantastic. A time machine. – Introduced in North America for 1975, the third gen Corolla marked a big expansion for Toyota in this country in the wake of the fuel crisis. It was available in sedan, wagon, hardtop coupe and sports coupe body styles as well as the Lift Back model, which is arguably the coolest. Or at least as cool as a Corolla can be. For anyone who drove one in the `70s this car probably brought back great memories and for the buyer it’s a clean, fun, time-warp stick shift classic for under five figures. It’s hard to argue with that.
Lot # T324 1970 Datsun 1600 Roadster; S/N SPL31127106; Gray, Black vinyl hardtop/Red vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original 4+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $9,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $9,900. – 1,595/96hp, 4-speed, hub caps, (ugly but practical) hardtop, original Panasonic radio, comes with a spare 2000 engine that needs to be rebuilt. – Rebuilt engine, but it’s still grimy and dirty in there with older hoses and wires. Way low on brake fluid. Dull windshield and dry rubber. Faded paint and chrome as well as a large dent and long scratches behind the driver’s door. Good interior with new dash and replacement seat covers but original everywhere else, and one of the window crank handles has fallen off. Oxidized underneath but no signs of major rust. A rough but potentially enjoyable Datsun. – More sophisticated and often quicker than similar British roadsters, these early Datsuns acquitted themselves well in SCCA racing and have proven to be durable if a bit rust prone as classic cars. They haven’t exploded in value like the later, more practical and more influential 240Zs, but they have gotten a bit pricier and these days are probably best thought of as “attainable” rather than “cheap.” Just under five figures for this one is about right and it has the potential to be a fun low-priced running project. For this money you could also buy a significantly cleaner chrome bumper MGB, which is better supported than the Datsun parts-wise, but the MG wouldn’t be as interesting.
Lot # F18.1 1984 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe; S/N 1G1AY0786E5124172; Tri-coat White/Gray leather; Unrestored original 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $20,000. – 350, automatic, Goodyear tires, factory cassette, power windows, window sticker, copy of original title. – One of two concept cars with prototype tri-coat paint that inspired the Color Me Corvette in the 1984 Corvette News winter issue. NCRS Top Flight. Represented with 12,500 miles. Lightly worn interior. Clean underneath. Good rubber and glass. Clean wheels. Presents like a lightly used Vette and the real star here is the Pearl paint, which appears to almost glow. An `84 Corvette typically isn’t much to get excited over, but this is a very interesting and attention-grabbing car. – Interesting, but not necessarily valuable. The reported high bid reflects a modest but realistic premium over a regular ’84 automatic with low miles. A Mecum veteran, it was a $30,000 no-sale at Mecum’s Bloomington Gold auction in 2013, sold for $23,100 at Indy in 2016, was a $13,000 no-sale at Glendale in 2019, a $14,000 no-sale at the ghost town that was Glendale 2020 (right after COVID hit), then sold for $18,700 at Kissimmee this year. With this history for reference it is difficult to understand why the seller didn’t let it go at the reported high bid here, if there was money, that is.
Lot # F140.1 1961 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible; S/N 61F108943; Olympic White/Red leather; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $95,000. – 390/325hp, column shift automatic, wire wheels, whitewalls, fender skirts, Autronic Eye, bucket seats, power windows, original radio, rear seat speaker, boot cover, cruise control. – Tidy engine. Good but older paint and chrome. Heavily worn and mildly cracked front seats, old tires. Body-off restored a while ago and lightly used since. – Sold at Kissimmee three months ago for $110,000 all-in. It’s a decent example of a desirable Cadillac but expecting it to bring more at Houston than it did at Kissimmee is optimistic at best. It won’t be at all surprising to see it turn up at Mecum Indy in May where the consignor may be more reasonable.
Lot # F141 1989 Dodge Ramcharger AW-100 Utility; S/N 3B4GM17Y7KM957291; Gray/Burgundy vinyl with cloth inserts; Truck restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $40,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $44,000. – 318/170hp, automatic, factory cassette, power windows. – Engine and chassis look partially restored. Original brightwork. Very good recent paint. New alloy wheels. Very good, recently detailed interior. Seldom seen Ramcharger, recently restored to truck standards. – The Ramcharger debuted in the 1970s as a late-to-the-party challenger for two-door utility vehicles like the International Scout, Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco. It lasted just two generations, though, from 1974 to 1993 and doesn’t have the name recognition, has historically been worth less than its rivals, and was later to see big upticks in price despite being relatively rare. But it has appreciated, nearly doubling in value since 2020. It would be hard to find another second gen Ramcharger this clean, but the price suggests that the best examples haven’t quite hit their ceiling yet.
Lot # F174 1955 Studebaker President Coupe; S/N 7157877; Red, White/Red vinyl with White piping and Red cloth inserts; Older restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $28,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $30,800. – 259/175hp V8, automatic, wire wheels, whitewalls, hood ornament, column shift, original pushbutton radio, dash clock, power steering, power brakes, air conditioning. – Faded, dull chrome and brightwork. Good older paint. Lightly scratched rear glass. Uneven panel gaps and the driver’s door won’t shut all the way. Loose radio antenna. Good mostly restored interior. A handsome car, restored a while ago and showing general age. – A lot of style per dollar even if it is a high price compared to other recent President sales. This same car sold for $27,000 at Branson Spring 11 years ago. Adjusted for inflation, though, that’s less than it sold for here in Houston, which is reasonable given the aging restoration, neglected condition and the sleepy market for long-defunct domestic makes like Studebaker. Eleven years have not been kind to this Studebaker.
Lot # F191 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster; S/N E53F001261; Polo White/Red; Estimate $175,000 – $225,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $170,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $187,000. – 235/150hp, Powerglide, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, pushbutton radio. – From the Horton Museum collection. NCRS Top Flight in 1998. Referenced by Danbury Mint to produce a 1:24 model. Old paint and chrome. The color on the trunk lid doesn’t match the rest of the car. Yellowed whitewalls. Lightly worn interior with cracked shift knob. Tidy engine with aged exhaust manifold and some grime on the carburetor. Long-term museum display, restored many years ago. – Only available with the boring Stovebolt Six and a Powerglide, the new-for-1953 Corvette was more about glamour than performance. It would take the small-block V8, race wins, and Zora Arkus-Duntov before the Corvette would really be “America’s sports car.” But the ’53 is the first Corvette, and with just 300 built (the lowest production of any year), there is limited supply for big collectors who want a comprehensive group of Vettes. That’s why they’re worth considerably more than later C1s, which are faster, better to drive, and just as nice to look at. Prices for 1953 cars are relatively stable, and this is a rational price for an older restoration that has been sitting.
Lot # F205 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe; S/N 30837S120130; Saddle Tan/Saddle leather; Estimate $275,000 – $325,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $235,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $258,500. – 327/360hp Fuelie, 4-speed, centerlock wheels, radio, tinted glass. – From the Horton Museum collection. Represented as matching numbers. Older paint and chrome. Small scuff on the right rear. Uneven door gaps. Aged wheels. Good, lightly worn interior and solid underneath. A reasonably clean, real Z06 but it has been sitting in a museum for a while. – A seriously rare and special ’63 Corvette, amazing that it was not raced, modified and raced some more in the Sixties. And it is represented as matching numbers, even more amazing. But most amazing of all is that it sold for only this much, with little or no apparent premium for originality and preservation and even a modest discount for years on display and lack of use.
Lot # F321 1961 Oldsmobile Starfire Convertible; S/N 616M04822; Red/Red; Unrestored original 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $24,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $26,400. – 394/330hp, automatic, wire wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, original radio, rear seat speaker, power windows, factory air conditioning. – A largely original first-year Starfire with faded and lightly scratched but sound original paint. Tidy and mostly original underneath. Lightly aged but solid and complete interior, although the cover for the rear seat speaker has been crunched in. Impressively preserved, but also a solid candidate for a quick restoration. – Handsome, powerful, sophisticated and relatively rare, the 1961-66 Starfire “sparkles with distinction,” as one ad put it. Named after a 1953 show car which was in turn named after Lockheed’s F-94B Starfire all-weather fighter jet, Olds’ personal luxury took aim at the Ford Thunderbird with a competitive price of about $4,600 and combined flashy styling with extra power to distinguish it from the lower-tier Eighty-Eight. Strato bucket seats, tachometer, and power steering/brakes were all standard, and the brushed aluminum body side trim distinguishes a Starfire from really any other `60s American car. Just 7,604 were sold that first year. This is a mostly handsome and usable driver, but it sold like a rougher example and sold here nine years ago in 2014 for $37,800. Good buy. Another ’61 Starfire sold for $60,500 at this sale, but it wasn’t twice as nice.
Lot # S95.1 1996 Dodge Viper GTS Coupe; S/N 1B3ER69E6TV200936; Viper GTS Blue, White stripes/Black leather; Unrestored original 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $110,000. – 7,990/450hp, 6-speed, Bridgestone Pilot Sport tires, Alpine CD stereo. – First year Viper GTS in what are by far the most desirable colors on these cars. Represented with 15,500 miles and very well cared for. Other than a few blemishes on the nose, a small scratch in the windshield and some dry weather stripping it looks fantastic. – Once a clear bargain in terms of horsepower, cylinders and style per dollar, Vipers have caught on as modern collector cars, particularly over the pandemic years, and are currently about as expensive as they arguably always should have been. Clean GTSs have nearly doubled in value over the past five years. This one did well to sneak past six figures. Credit the iconic colors, which do tend to command a premium over different shades on early GTS models.
Lot # S109.1 1930 Cadillac 452 V-16 Roadster, Body by Fleetwood; S/N 701990; Gray, Slate fenders/Black leather; Tan cloth top; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $550,000. – 452/165hp, 3-speed, wire wheels, wide whitewalls, dual sidemount spares with mirrors, radiator mascot, dual chrome horns, Pilot Ray lights, wood running boards, luggage trunk, rumble seat, engine-turned dash, dual spotlights, golf bag door. – Imported to Paris when new. Good but older high-quality paint and chrome. The top of the radiator shell is faded. Nearly spotless underneath. Older top with some smudges and stains. Worn leather and tons of serious cracks in the steering wheel. A few paint scrapes from fitting the left sidemount as well. Striking from a short distance but plenty of flaws up close. – Offered at Mecum’s Monterey auction in 2022 where it no-saled at $425,000, then at Kissimmee three months ago where it again no-saled at an even lower reported bid of $400,000. One wonders what the Houston consignor was thinking to decline the reported high bid here, or maybe it’s all part of a charade to build a legend for Mecum Indy in May or a return to Monterey in August. In any event the reported high bid is moderate for this Cadillac’s underlying style and quality, but recognizes the restoration’s age and deterioration into tour car condition.
Lot # S124.1 1966 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce Spider; S/N AR390610; Red/Black vinyl piped in Red; Black cloth top; Older restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $52,000. – 1,570/112hp, dual Webers, 5-speed, hub caps, Michelin XZX tires, period Blaupunkt radio, books and tools. – Tidy but used engine bay with some fuel stains on the carbs, general grime and old finishes in the engine compartment. Slightly faded paint and chrome with no serious flaws, just age. Very dirty top, bordering on filthy. Mostly tidy interior but the gauges are very cloudy. It’s difficult to read the speedo and the odometer is illegible. A solid final year Giulia Spider Veloce in sound driver condition. – The reported high bid here is on the soft side for a fundamentally good Giulia in classic colors, but it sold for $57,200 at RM Fort Lauderdale last year and for $66,000 in Kissimmee this January. Bidders in three different cities have put up similar numbers, so $57,200 (with commission) here is arguably an acceptable offer.
Lot # S129 1939 Cadillac Series 61 Touring Sedan; S/N 8293343; Black/Tan cloth; Estimate $25,000 – $40,000; Older restoration 3- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $15,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $16,500. – 346/135hp V8, column shift 3-speed, hub caps, wide whitewalls, suicide rear doors, hood ornament, amber fog lights, original radio. – From the Horton Museum collection. Decent chrome with pitted door handles. Tired paint, particularly on the rear. Dry, cracked running boards. Dull steering wheel and switchgear but very good upholstery. Not the kind of Cadillac you often see, but this is a tired, long-dormant example. – At this price, though, the new owner isn’t into it for much and can address little things while enjoying it. A pretty good deal that was sold at the Leake Oklahoma City auction in 2015 for $36,300. It probably hasn’t turned a wheel since then and it shows.
Lot # S130 1953 Packard Caribbean Convertible; S/N 26782645; Gulf Green/Two-tone Green leather; Estimate $65,000 – $85,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $57,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $62,700. – 327/180hp eight, automatic, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, Continental kit, boot cover, power windows, pushbutton radio with power antenna. – From the Horton Museum collection. One of 750 convertibles built in 1953. Beautiful, glowing paint aside from a small crack near the hood scoop. The chrome shows more age. The doors stick out slightly. Lightly worn and wrinkled leather. Tidy underneath. Solid but aged example of a rare top-line postwar Packard. – The Caribbean debuted in 1953 as a convertible only and only available in four colors. Just 750 sold but they aren’t particularly valuable on the collector car market today despite their rarity. This is a fair result for a clean one that has been sitting. It was a no-sale at the Leake Tulsa auction in 2012 with a reported high bid of $75,000 and it will take a lot of attention to make it worth that much again.
Lot # S139 1955 Packard Caribbean Convertible; S/N 55881256; Jade White, Rose Quartz, Gray Pearl Poly/White, Red leather; Estimate $65,000 – $85,000; Older restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $49,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $53,900. – 352/275hp, automatic, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, fender skirts, dual antenna, dual mirrors, power windows, dash clock, pushbutton radio, boot cover. – From the Horton Museum collection. Good older paint and chrome with a handful of light scuffs. Cracked rear badge. Solid, straight body. Lightly worn, mildly discolored leather, and the center cap of the steering wheel is missing. Attractive but not perfect. – The 1955 Caribbean is notable for its lovely tri-colored paint job but also, more importantly, the all-new overhead valve dual-quad V8. Production was limited to 500 convertibles, and they cost nearly $2,000 more than a similar Cadillac convertible. The 1955 Caribbean also debuted Packard’s Torsion-Level (self-leveling) suspension which was prone to issues and expensive to fix. Caribbeans are also expensive in general to restore and work on relative to other `50s American classics, so the fact that this one has been sitting in a museum for an unspecified period may have spooked the Houston bidders a bit. This is a modest result for a handsome car that was reported bid to $72,000 at Kissimmee in 2012.
Lot # S142 1951 Ford Glasspar G2 Roadster; S/N 185611852; Black/White leather; Estimate $50,000 – $75,000; Older restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $78,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $85,800. – Ford (1940, based on the VIN) chassis, 255 Mercury Flathead with triple Stromberg carbs and Offenhauser heads, 3-speed with Hurst Indy shifter, hub caps and trim rings, whitewalls, Stewart Warner gauges, banjo steering wheel. – From the Horton Museum collection. Shown at Amelia in 2007. Dull, swirled paint with cracks around the door edges. Worn leather. Tidy engine with some grime on the carburetors. Fascinating early American sports car and a pioneering use of fiberglass two years before the Corvette. – Fiberglass was an exciting, fresh technology in the postwar years mostly thanks to its light weight and economical construction, which had obvious advantages to performance cars. The boat industry had a slight head start in fiberglass techniques, however, so it makes sense that Glasspar – one of the very first fiberglass automobiles – came from a boat manufacturer. Bill Tritt had founded the company in 1947 in California and it quickly became one of the largest fiberglass boat companies in the country. The G2 was his first automotive endeavor, its basic shape coming from a Willys-based prototype made for the 1951 Los Angeles Motorama called the Brooks Boxer. It was sold as either a complete car or as just a body shell. Fiberglass sports car bodies and kits would be hugely popular in America throughout the `50s, but Glasspar was among the first. We’ve seen this one at auction before, first in 2007 in RM’s sale of the Wiseman collection for $40,700 then again in 2009 at RM Monterey for $38,500 and once more in 2013 at Auctions America in Burbank for $52,800. It presents a little rougher than it did 10 years ago but sold for significantly more, which is a bit of a surprise. Since these cars so rarely pop up for sale, though, this was a rare buying opportunity and it is a good-looking roadster.
Lot # S147.1 1962 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster; S/N 2Y89M150858; Red/Black vinyl; Estimate $100,000 – $125,000; Older restoration 3 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $87,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $95,700. – 390/340hp, automatic, chrome wire wheels, narrow whitewalls, pushbutton radio, power windows. – From the Horton Museum collection. One of 120 M-code Sports Roadsters built in 1962. Scratched chrome and dull paint with a large touch up on the hood as well as some scratches on the rear deck. Aged interior with sound upholstery and trim. A rare car with good equipment, but could use cosmetic attention, and since it has been sitting in a museum it needs mechanical attention, too. – This T-Bird sold at RM’s auction of the Capizzi collection in 2006 for $68,750 and again for $61,480 at Mecum Dallas in 2012. It is presumably in rougher shape than it was then but it’s also worth more money as a lot has happened in the market over the past decade-plus. This is an appropriate number for a well-equipped and mostly solid Sport Roadster that has been sitting for a while.
Lot # S150 1962 Imperial Crown Convertible; S/N 9223216367; Beige/Brown leather; Tan cloth top; Estimate $60,000 – $80,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $77,000. – 413/340hp, pushbutton automatic, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, pushbutton radio, power windows. – From the Horton Museum collection. Tidy but dusty engine. Good chrome. Good older paint with a small chip on the left front and another on the rear. Straight, tight top with a few small smudges on the right side. Good interior with lightly wrinkled leather. Clean underneath. An older restoration that has sat still for a while. – Sold here in 2013 for $66,780, no-saled a year later in 2014 on a reported $57,570 high bid. It is rare and somewhat spectacular but aging and neglected with all the needs that entails before it can come back to life. The bidders liked it (better than many of the aged and neglected Horton Museum cars) and it brought a healthy price.
Lot # S150.1 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala Convertible; S/N F58S206311; Red/Red vinyl with Black, Gray and Red cloth inserts; White top; Estimate $175,000 – $225,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $150,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $165,000. – 348/280hp Tri-Power, column shift 3-speed, power brakes and steering, power bench seat, spinner wheel covers, whitewalls, fender skirts, dual antenna, Continental kit, WonderBar radio, rear seat speaker, air conditioning. – From the Horton Museum collection. Good paint and chrome that don’t show major flaws, they just lost some of their shine. The right radio antenna is loose. Tidy underneath. Very good interior other than a smudge on the front seat that would probably clean out. Good older restoration. – One of the better cars from the Horton Museum, showing more care and less deterioration from sitting in the collection for years and was accordingly not discounted as much as others in this offering. It brought a premium price, which sometimes happens when a flower appears among the thorns of a generally neglected collection.
Lot # S152.1 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Coupe; S/N 124379N579772; Fathom Green, White side stripes, Black vinyl roof/Black vinyl; Estimate $175,000 – $225,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $142,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $156,750. – 396/375hp L89, M22 4-speed, 4.10 Positraction, hub caps, Goodyear Polyglas tires, spoilers, power brakes, pushbutton radio, under dash gauges. – From the Horton Museum collection. One of 311 L89 Camaros built in 1969. Tidy but not spotless engine. Represented as matching numbers. Good paint and chrome. Light pitting on the door handles and there is a small scratch on the passenger’s door. Very good interior. Fantastic colors and equipment. Older restored and in long-term museum display. – Essentially an L78 engine with lighter aluminum heads, the L89 engine option is a rare goodie found on Corvettes, Chevelles, and even at least one El Camino. The L89 appeared on the 1968 Camaro with 272 sold, and just 311 were built with it in 1969. When it comes to first gen Camaro values the L89s are up there in value, and surprisingly there were two of them on offer in Houston, both out of the Horton Museum. Neither had the most thorough documentation, nor were they in the best condition, but the other car, a Garnet Red automatic (Lot S134) boasted some period mods by drag racer Dick Harrell. It therefore sold for slightly more at $165,000. This Fathom Green car was an $80K no-sale at Kissimmee in 2015, was reported sold in a post-block transaction at Auctions America Ft. Lauderdale in 2017 for $72,500 and has appeared on eBay several times over the years. If these L89s were perfect they probably would have sold closer to 200 grand. But they’re not, and the results in Houston are hard to argue with. It is a sound value in this transaction even among truckloads of impressive muscle at Mecum Houston; the bidders recognized its quality and rarity.
Lot # S159.1 1954 Buick Skylark Model 100 Convertible; S/N 7A1145020; Malibu Blue/Two-tone Blue leather; Estimate $75,000 – $90,000; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $83,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $91,300. – 322/200hp, automatic, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, boot cover, power windows, dash clock, Selectronic radio. – From the Horton Museum collection. One of 836 built in 1954. Lightly aged paint and chrome, and lightly worn interior. No major problems just general age, a similar story to the other cars out of this group of museum cars. – GM’s idea of a “sports car” in 1953 which resonated with in-period buyers. Skylarks still do well by today’s collectors by combining instantly recognizable styling with the driving dynamics of a land yacht. This was offered by Auctions America at Ft. Lauderdale in 2012 where it was reported bid to $82,500. That it is worth a hammer bid just $500 more in 2023 is representative of lack of interest and the age of its restoration.
Lot # S168 1968 Ford Mustang GT Coupe; S/N 8F01R218213; Highland Green, Gold side stripes, Black vinyl roof/Nugget Gold vinyl; Older restoration 3+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $45,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $49,500. – 428/335hp R-Code Cobra Jet, Toploader 4-speed, 3.91 Traction-Lok, power steering and brakes, interior decor group, visibility group, console, Deluxe Marti Report. – From the Frank Tsuru collection. Clean engine. Good older paint and chrome. Faded dash top and severe all faded steering wheel. Aged console and seats. Represented as matching numbers with great equipment and seemingly original interior. – Ouch. This Mustang sold for $100,800 on Bring a Trailer in 2021 less than half that amount in Mecum, a venue you’d think would be a lot friendlier to American muscle than BaT. This is a clean, documented, well-optioned Mustang and it crossed the block at prime time on Saturday, when most of the money is typically in the room. For whatever reason, nobody was paying attention and it flew under the radar at no reserve despite its time slot. This is a head-scratcher, but also yet another example of a car selling for big money during the boom of 2020-22 and losing value during a cooler 2023.
Lot # S169 1965 Porsche 356C Cabriolet; S/N 161632; Red/Tan; Tan cloth top; Older restoration 2- condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $120,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $132,000. – 1,582/95hp SC engine, 4-speed, chrome wheels, woodrim steering wheel. – From the Frank Tsuru collection. Older paint with some detail scratching. Clean glass. Tight, straight top but there are a few light smudges. The badges on the rear don’t fit flush with the body. Very good interior. Some dirt and age underneath, and the engine is a shiny SC-spec replacement dropped into an engine compartment with old finishes and torn sound deadening mats. The history isn’t super clear but this is a solid late final-year 356 that comes with a Porsche CofA that documents the replacement engine. – This 356 sold for $155,000 in 2021 on the Porsche-centric PCARMARKET online auction platform. It makes sense that it brought a little more there, and both results are rational, but this result more rationally takes into account the replacement engine.
Lot # S170.1 1955 Jaguar XK 140 Roadster; S/N Engine No. G15858; Engine # G15858; White/Maroon leather; Black cloth top; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $81,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $89,100. – 3,442/190hp, Tremec 5-speed, wing mirrors, chrome wire wheels, Cooper tires, Lucas driving lights, wind wings, four-spoke woodrim steering wheel. – Body-off restored a while ago. Paint and chrome are both aged, and the rear bumper is seriously faded. Large crack in front of the driver’s door, and the gaps for both doors are uneven. Good, lightly worn interior. Clean wheels and tires, tidy underneath. Solid driver, and though you can’t see the 5-speed swap, it makes this car more enjoyable on the road. Titled by the engine number – Following up on the groundbreaking XK 120, the 140 had big shoes to fill and as a collector car it will always play second fiddle to the original. It’s more powerful, handles better and has more room for taller driver but it’s also heavier and less graceful. The white over red looks really good on this one, though, and it would make a great car for tours or long drives, particularly with the 5-speed swap. Yet the Houston bidders weren’t smitten with it for some reason. A six-figure price wouldn’t have been surprising so someone got a decent deal here.
Lot # S186 1966 Ford Bronco Wagon; S/N U15FL732027; Rangoon Red, White roof/Silver vinyl; Recent restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $55,000. – 170/105hp six, column shift 3-speed, white wheels, All Terrain T/A tires, original radio. – Body-off restored four years ago to original specs. Represented as the fifth oldest production Bronco. Early Budd body. Fully redone engine with light dirt and dust. Good but not show quality paint. The doors stick out a bit from the body. Lightly scratched rear window. Paint chipping off the wheels. Paint runs on the inside of the roof. Good interior. Restored to truck standards, but it’s refreshing to see an all-stock, correct early Bronco in the sea of high-dollar customs and resto mods. – And it’s those high-dollar customs and resto mods bringing the big money lately. This stock Bronco’s condition and early build date are certainly commendable, but there’s clearly a gap in estimation of its worth between the bidders and the seller with the seller being more right.
Lot # S187.1 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250SE Coupe; S/N 11102110085572; Blue, Ivory roof/White leather; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $62,000. – 2,496/170hp, floor shift 4-speed, Euro headlights, ivory wheels with hub caps and trim rings, narrow whitewalls, factory sunroof, Becker radio, dash clock, air conditioning, spare, tools. – Rebuilt engine. Lightly faded paint and chrome. Heavy scratching on the window frames. Lightly worn driver’s seat but mostly lovely interior. A pretty, charming car with rare equipment and with forgivable age. – This 250SE may have $20,000 in the rebuilt engine but that doesn’t make it worth particularly more than its modest performance and aged cosmetics warrants, which this bid would have been had it been accepted. It might have been a bit painful for the consignor but this was a realistic offer for this car.
Lot # S197 1970 Cadillac DeVille Convertible; S/N F0307665; Cotillion White/Red leather; White vinyl top; Visually maintained, largely original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $38,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $41,800. – 472/375hp, automatic, power steering and brakes, wheel covers, whitewalls, fender skirts, boot cover, factory R12 air conditioning, power windows, factory radio. – Older chrome with pitting around the grille and scratched up door handles. Average respray with a few chips and touch ups. Solid original interior with clean dash and bright gauges, while the leather is aged and wrinkled but sound and soft. Represented as a two-owner car. – A clean Cadillac that looks like the 2-owner car it claims to be and from owners who took good care of it. It should be a highly satisfying acquisition, as stylish as it needs to be without being ostentatious. The price is right on the money for its configuration and condition.
Lot # S201 1954 Kaiser-Darrin 161 Roadster; S/N 161001281; Red/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $66,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $72,600. – 161/90hp Willys six, 3-speed with overdrive, wire wheel covers, whitewalls, wind wings. – Tidy engine with some dirt and grime. Dull chrome. Decent, slightly faded paint. Some of the badges are cracked. Good, lightly worn interior. The pocket doors open and close very smoothly, which is never a guarantee on these oddball early American sports cars. Solid but older restoration. – A fiberglass-bodied two-door convertible designed by Howard “Dutch” Darrin, the Kaiser-Darrin sat on top of a contemporary Henry J chassis and was aimed right at the brand new Chevrolet Corvette. Other than the signature pocket doors and its early arrival on the sports car scene, it wasn’t a particularly groundbreaking or exciting car and it didn’t achieve any glory on track, either. Just 435 were built and this is a pretty good one, but it sold for a surprisingly modest sum. We wouldn’t have been surprised if it brought $100K-plus. For reference, one of its competitors – a 1953 Corvette in similar condition – sold for $187,000 at the same sale. This car has some auction history including selling for $91,300 at Worldwide’s Houston auction in 2013, then being reported sold six months later by Motostalgia in Austin for $115,500, a result that could reasonably be questioned, and coming up short at Auburn Fall in 2015 on a reported bid of $80,000.
Lot # S215 1939 American Bantam Model 60 Roadster; S/N 63473; Yellow, White sweep panel/Tan vinyl; Recent restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $37,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $40,700. – 45/19hp four, 3-speed, hub caps and trim rings, modern tires, rear-mounted spare, hood ornament, fender skirts, tonneau cover. – Fully restored with lovely paint aside from a few cracks on the top of the doors and a few more near the grille. Very good interior. Clean engine and underbody. A Bantam is an attention-grabbing car on its own but this one really pops in these colors. Very cute. – This is the updated Bantam with signature styled body designed by Alexis de Saknoffsky, everyone’s image of the perfect clown car, and an updated engine refined by Harry Miller. It is the one to have, particularly with the skirted rear wheels. It sold here four years ago in 2019 for $25,300 when it was blue and the repaint was well worth whatever modest sum it cost because it shows to advantage. Two weeks later Bonhams sold a 1940 for $22,400 with less eye-searing colors. This result shows what a good deal that was but this isn’t so much that it breached the bounds of good sense. It’s a seriously fun car.