Mecum Auctions, Houston, December 4-5, 2020

Yes, that says “December”. Mecum’s regular Houston dates are in April, but April 2020 was not like most Aprils and the regularly scheduled Mecum Houston auction got caught up in the Covid onslaught. Fortunately, though, there was availability at Houston’s NRG Center in December and Mecum Auctions took advantage of it.

Unlike prior Mecum Houston auctions the 2020 edition was a 2-day sale, a day less than the usual 3-day show and that lost selling day is reflected in the total sale as shown below. This is the lowest Mecum Houston auction total on record but with only 431 lots crossing the block the average and median transaction amounts reflect high quality consignments. The sell-through rate at 79.4% is the highest ever in Houston.

Mecum pulled off the last live auction that could be considered “pre-Covid” at Glendale, Arizona, a four-day sale March 11-14, then regrouped during the first Covid surge and its conflicting, but widespread, restrictions. Their auction schedule resumed with the Eddie Vannoy auction in late June, a sale with limited live viewing but mostly online bidding.

Houston is Mecum’s final auction for 2020 and the sixth live auction they’ve managed since adjusting their setup and operations to accommodate distancing and hygiene precautions in late June. Their schedule reflects the varying regulations and restrictions: it’s no accident that their venues were in Indiana, Florida, Nevada and Texas, venues that have been more accommodating than most.

To see how successfully Mecum Auctions has adjusted to the changed situation and cap off the year the table below won’t feature prior Houston auctions. Instead it’ll cover just the six post-Covid live Mecum sales.

Cars Sold/ Offered Sale % Average Sale Median Sale Total $
Indianapolis, July 10-18
1100/1457 75.5% $53,536 $26,400 $58,889,270
Kissimmee Summer Special, August 27-29
480/775 61.9% $40,568 $24,750 $19,472,850
Dallas, October 15-17
517/673 76.8% $45,025 $29,700 $23,277,375
Indy Fall, October 29-31
462/578 79.9% $25,070 $17,050 $11,582,450
Las Vegas, November 13-14
149/200 74.5% $37,315 $27,500 $5,559,950
Houston, December 4-5
342/431 79.4% $33,775 $26,400 $11,551,100

That’s a total of about $130 million, a great recovery from a collector car auction market that was thrown into complete disarray in March.

Here are the cars, viewed and photographed locally by Andrew Newton.

Lot # F85.1 1972 Jaguar XKE SIII V12 Coupe 2+2; S/N UC1S73662; Engine # 7S7755SB; British Racing Green/Beige leather; Visually maintained, largely original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $50,000 – 4-speed, centerlock wire wheels, Michelin tires, wood shift knob, original radio, factory air conditioning, JDHT Certificate. – Represented as matching numbers. Presentable old repaint with detail swirls and a few light scratches. Erratic panel fit on the doors and hatch. Tidy, maintained but never fully restored engine bay and underbody. Good mostly original interior with light wear to the carpets and lightly wrinkled, slightly dry leather. A driver-quality SIII E-Type with all the desirable options (4-speed, wire wheels, air conditioning). – This car sold on Bring a Trailer a little over two years ago for the reasonable sum of $50,500. The odometer shows 1,183 more miles and SIII E-Type values haven’t done much since then, so this reported high bid could have been taken with little or no regret and gratitude for the 1,100 miles of driving.

Lot # F121 1946 Chevrolet 3100 1/2 Ton Pickup; S/N BA424986; Green, Black fenders/Brown vinyl; Truck restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,500 – 216/90hp, 4-speed, hub caps and trim rings, Firestone wide whitewalls, varnished wood bed floor, stainless bed strips, floor shift, heater, radio. – Fresh restoration showing just 9 test miles, but done to truck standards. The engine bay looks fresh and gorgeous, but the paint shows lots of small blemishes and orange peel in a few spots. Very clean wheels and tires. Very good interior other than heavy orange peel on the painted dash. Fresh wood in the bed that is too heavily varnished. Neat, clean chassis and underbody. A fun, charming old Chevy pickup. – This ’46 Chevy pickup is thoroughly and sympathetically restored, probably at a cost (even with $0/hour labor) that couldn’t be duplicated for the price it brought here. For a farm, hardware store or lumber yard this is a traffic draw and a sound value at this result.

[The missing Firebird photo is my bad, an error importing it into Adobe LightRoom.]

Lot # F140 1979 Pontiac Firebird 10th Anniversary Trans Am Hardtop Coupe; S/N 2X87Z9L153948; Silver/Silver vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $27,500 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $30,250 – 400/220hp, 4-speed manual, Radial T/A tires, glass T-tops, power windows, air conditioning, factory radio. – Single repaint but otherwise original with 48,932 represented original miles. Clearly babied, as the car is well-preserved from top to bottom and shows little wear underneath or inside. – This car sold for $36,300 at Mecum’s Indy Fall Special auction in October, but instead of chasing every last bid while spending on fees for more auction trips, the seller prudently decided to take the money here, at a price slightly favorable to the buyer. Still, however, it demonstrates that in the Covid environment it is nearly impossible to flip a car at auction.

Lot # F141 1959 Ford Galaxie 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N B9RS169124; Geranium Rose, Colonial White/Geranium Rose, White, Black; Unrestored original 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $16,000 – 332/225hp, automatic, wheel covers, whitewalls, power steering, pushbutton radio, dash clock. – Represented with mostly original paint that is lightly faded and chipped in a few spots but not bad at all. A few dings in the brightwork. Small dent in the body at the right rear. Slightly uneven gaps. Maintained engine bay with what look like repainted valve covers and air cleaner. Very good original interior. Usable and charming as-is, and arguably too good to restore. – But it is an essentially boring car, with little other than preservation going for it and that makes the reported bid here nothing if not adequate for what it is, even in these attractive and unusual colors.

Lot # F177 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe; S/N 1G2MB25B49Y000040; Victory Red/Black cloth; Unrestored original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $12,000 – 145/172hp, 5-speed manual, limited slip. – Represented with 47,000 miles. Base model but a rare coupe with the 5-speed manual. Paint condition matches the age and miles, with chips on the nose and hood as well as a few chips in the headlight lenses. Noticeable detail scratching in the paint as well. Long scuff on the tail that might buff out. Very good interior showing no wear to speak of. Used but rare. ` – The Solstice, Pontiac’s Miata-fighting two-seater, is one of those rare exceptions to the old rule that “when the top goes down, the price goes up.” Pontiac built the Solstice coupe for a shorter time and in smaller numbers than the convertible before the whole brand got axed by a bankrupt GM in 2009. A decade later, that rarity is reflected in the marketplace. On the high-performance GXP cars the price difference is huge, but even among base cars a coupe will sell for several thousand dollars more than the comparable convertible. Even so, the reported high bid here isn’t far off what this one should sell for. It was a $13,500 no-sale at Mecum Dallas 2017, and Solstice prices are about what they were then.

Lot # F181 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible; S/N D7FH373776; Inca Gold/Colonial White leather; Black cloth top; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $35,000 – D-code 312/245hp, automatic, wire wheels, whitewalls, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, tinted glass, Town & Country radio, Vintage air conditioning, soft top only. – Clean older restored engine bay. Light pitting on the hood scoop and Thunderbird badge. Dull chrome. Very good older paint. Significant wrinkling to the leather on the driver’s side and light wear to the steering wheel. Monogram on top of the driver’s door that reads either “Nick” or “Dick.” It’s too faded to read clearly. An eye-catching T-bird in slightly better than driver condition. – Nick’s or Dick’s Thunderbird is a frequent visitor at Mecum auctions, but this is the first time it hasn’t gone to a new home after crossing the block. It sold for $46,200 at Mecum Kissimmee in 2018, for $40,700 at Mecum Indy four months after that, for $49,500 at Mecum Denver a month later, and for $49,500 at Mecum Houston last April. Its condition and its sale history are proof enough that it deserves a price on the other side of 40 grand, so holding out at the number here in Houston was understandable.

Lot # F187 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 6103967; Gold, White/Black vinyl; Older restoration 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $35,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $38,500 – 289/275hp supercharged V8, automatic, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, Twin Traction differential, pushbutton radio, dash clock. – Originally painted Turquoise. Restored in 1987 and certainly starting to show its age. A few light scratches on the bumpers, while the rest of the brightwork is slightly dull. Newer exhaust, but the engine bay is dirty, old and oxidized. Clean wheels. Good older paint other than a few chips at the back of the driver’s door. Cracks in the steering wheel rim and lightly worn seats with a ripped seam on the driver’s side. A presentable, usable and well-equipped Studebaker, but it really could use another round of serious attention. – A Turquoise Golden Hawk is not very satisfying, but a Gold Golden Hawk is the nuts. At this price, though, any of the serious attention needed would put the new owner really deep into this Studebaker, which isn’t the kind of car that’s getting more valuable these days. This price could have bought a much fresher car.

Lot # F219 1977 Chevrolet K10 Blazer Cheyenne Chalet Camper; S/N CKR187F121469; Yellow, Tan/Tan vinyl, cloth; Visually maintained, largely original 3 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $15,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $16,500 – 350, automatic, power brakes, air conditioning, hub caps, store brand tires, JVC cassette stereo, pop up Chalet camper cap with seats, tables, stove, fridge and Porta Potti in the back. Sold with a Honda CT70 bike mounted on the front. – Represented with 62,025 actual miles and mostly original. Maintained engine with newer hoses and wires. Dull paint, rubbed through in spots and scratched in several others. Reasonably clean on the inside but all original. Unclear if everything works back there. Dry chassis. A little beat up, but benefitted from the dry weather in El Paso and there’s no rust. Would make a cool project, and an even cooler road trip warrior. – RVs and campers are apparently all the rage during the pandemic but the Chevy Blazer Chalet and its sibling the GMC Jimmy Casa Grande were ahead of their time. Part SUV and part house, the Chalet combined the short wheelbase youthful Blazer platform with a reasonably spacious and well-equipped fiberglass over steel frame camper top. Only around 1,800 were sold in 1976 and 1977, so it’s rare. Road trips are also more interesting in a classic, especially one you can refer to as “my chalet.” This one certainly needs some cleaning up but probably nothing astronomically expensive, and the minibike to cruise around the campsite in the bargain to sweeten the deal is a welcome bonus. All things considered it seems like a solid value in fun per dollar at this price. We’ve seen VW campers in similar condition sell for far more.

Lot # S21 1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition Coupe; S/N 1G1AY0784C5108825; Silver Beige/Silver Beige leather; Unrestored original 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $24,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $26,400 – 350/300hp, automatic, Eagle GT tires, glass T-tops, Gymkhana suspension, limited slip, alloy wheels, power steering and brakes, tilt/telescope steering column, glass roof panels, power antenna, power windows, 8-track stereo. – From the E.J. Cole Museum collection and probably the cleanest car of the bunch. Showing just 11,141 miles represented as from new and clearly treated as a collectible its whole life. A lot of people treated these cars as such, however, so its condition isn’t as special as one might think. – Chevrolet also sold 6,769 Collector Edition Corvettes for 1982, so they’re also not as rare as one might think, and the value premium over a base car is slight. You wouldn’t know it from this sale, however. While not outrageous, it is toward the very top end for Collector Edition prices.

Lot # S22 1913 Metz 22 Runabout; S/N 21208; Blue, Black fenders/Black; Black top; Older restoration 4 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $7,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $7,700 – 177/22hp inline four, direct drive transmission, dual chain drive to the rear wheels, wood steering wheel, wood spoke artillery wheels, white rubber tires. – From the E.J. Cole Museum collection. Rare Metz built in Waltham, MA. Reportedly runs, but probably wouldn’t drive very far. Restored many years ago. Tires are dry rotted. Ancient paint that is dry and cracked. A few dents here and there. Decent wood. Oxidized controls and chassis. A neat, obscure motorcar in need of recommissioning. – Charles Metz was a pioneer of the installment plan. He sold his little 177cid/22hp 4-cylinder runabout in installments, but with a difference. Send money, get a group of parts. Send more money, get the next group of parts, and so forth. The little Metz was comparable with Henry’s Model T in concept and performance, and by the time the buyers assembled all the installments they had a nifty little car with a runabout body with their own labor perhaps making up for the efficiencies of Henry Ford’s and Charles Sorenson’s assembly line. In any event they knew the car intimately, having assembled every component, bolt and panel, which was a big deal in the Teens when mechanics were few and far between. Being dated 1913 this is probably a factory-built Metz and by Metz auction transaction standards this is a modest price, but this is a tired Metz that needs comprehensive attention and brought a realistic price.

Lot # S38 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N 6P61Q161274; Red/Black vinyl; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $32,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $35,200 – 428/345hp, floor shift automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, power driver’s seat, factory air conditioning, bucket seats, console, RCA 8-track stereo, owner’s manual, stereo manual and warranty card documented. – Represented as a two-owner car with 44,277 miles. Tidy restored engine bay and underbody. Good chrome, but the rest of the brightwork is a little dull. The paint is a bit tired as well. Good mostly original interior with lightly worn switchgear, steering wheel and upholstery. Well-equipped and rare. Presentable but certainly not immaculate. – This is a fairly sweet Q-code Ford. It’s not as sweet at a Q-code 4-speed but it’s handsomely equipped and amply powerful to hold its own on any show field or nostalgia drag race and has the added benefit of 2-owner history and low (represented) mileage. It might have brought more had it not gotten “restored” but it’s still a Ford that will be proudly owned and driven. The new owner might even brag about the price.

Lot # S66 1998 Aston Martin DB7 Alfred Dunhill Edition Coupe; S/N SCFAA2120WK101938; Silver/Charcoal leather piped in Grey; Unrestored original 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $42,000 – 3.2/335hp supercharged straight-six, Getrag 5-speed manual, special wheels, Pirelli Cinturato tires, Dunhill Millennium clock, special humidor compartment, tinted glass. – Alfred Dunhill Special Edition, one of 78 built, showing 35,755 believable miles and presented alongside a convertible version with 41,000 and an automatic. Tiny chip on the nose and a few more small ones on the hood. Small scratch on the trunk lid. Chip at the back of the driver’s door. The interior matches the mileage. The DB7 isn’t the most desirable Aston and Alfred Dunhill isn’t exactly a household name outside the UK (it’s a cigars and luxury goods brand, by the way), but this is a neat, rare car in usable condition. – DB7s are still more used high-end cars than they are modern collectibles, and decent drivers can still be had for under 30 grand. 5-speed cars command a hefty premium and the Houston bidders were even more generous with their offers thanks to this car’s nifty special features and sharp-looking special wheels. Why the consignor didn’t take the reported high bid is a mystery. It was plenty. The automatic transmission convertible version that crossed the block immediately after also remained unsold at a $32,000 high bid.

Lot # S72 2010 Dodge Viper SRT-10 ACR Final Edition Coupe; S/N 1B3AZ6JZ5AV100417; Gray, Black/Black leather and cloth with red stitching; Unrestored original 2 condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $100,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $110,000 – 515/600hp, 6-speed manual, side exhaust, carbon fiber front splitter and rear wing, slotted rotors, red calipers, Koni coilovers, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires, power windows, CD stereo. – One of 50 Final Edition Vipers built in 2010 and one of just 12 ACR coupes. 290 miles and like new, as expected. – For 2010, the fourth gen Viper was bidding adieu with no immediate replacement (and one wouldn’t arrive until 2013), so Dodge sold a run of 50 “Final Edition” cars made up of 20 coupes, 18 roadsters and 12 hardcore ACRs. This one went straight to the car collection rather than the track, as most of them probably did, and it sold for $126,500 at Mecum Las Vegas 2017. The result here may be lower, but in the longer term limited-production, high-performance, driver-oriented cars like these are likely to appreciate even if there’s no shortage of them ready to come to market if there is an uptick in values. For the moment, at least based on this result, the other 3-digit mileage ACR Final Edition Viper Coupes will sit in their garages.

Lot # S79 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SE 3.5 Coupe; S/N 11102612002619; Brown Metallic/Dark Gray leather; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $62,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $68,200 – 3,499/200hp, automatic, wheel covers, Michelin tires, power sunroof, power windows, Behr air conditioning, Becker Grand Prix radio. – Slightly dull chrome and brightwork but very good paint aside from a chip on the hood and a handful of other blemishes. Very good older restored interior. Restored underneath with thick undercoating on the chassis. Newer exhaust. Very good engine compartment. The hood ornament is loose. Not much history and falls short on a few details, but a mostly very attractive 3.5 coupe. – Brown is so Seventies, and not particularly appealing today. It’s appropriate for this 111 3.5 coupe, however, and a modest price for its specification with due allowance for the shortcomings in its condition.

Lot # S80 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe; S/N 194375S111787; Rally Red/Red vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $50,000 – 327/300hp L75, automatic, power steering, factory air conditioning, centerlock wheels, Silvertown gold line tires. – Engine number not readable but represented as matching numbers. Tidy but used engine bay with some grime and oxidation as well as old wiring. Tired but presentable chrome. Older repaint with a few nicks and scratches. Tidy interior that looks like it might be original. A good but not great `65 coupe that doesn’t have the most exciting options and has never been fully restored, but got attention when necessary and would make a handsome driver as-is. – The Houston bidders recognized this car for what it is and put up a high bid that is spot-on for the condition and options. It should have gone to a new home.

Lot # S80.1 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N 194676S124538; Engine # 6924538; Sunfire Yellow/Black vinyl; Black top; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $71,000 – 427/435hp L72, M20 4-speed, centerlock wheels, Firestone gold line tires, side exhaust, woodgrain steering wheel, AM-FM radio. – Represented as matching numbers. No other history or documentation represented. Heat rash on the exhaust and stickers peeling off the air cleaner but mostly clean engine bay and clean restored frame. Faded, possibly original chrome. Very good paint other than a handful of small cracks. Marks around the rear deck from where a hardtop would fit, although no hardtop is present or represented with the car. Light scratches on the exhaust surround. Small ding in the windshield frame. Very good interior that looks mostly restored. Great colors and equipment with little of substance to criticize but a curious lack of documentation. – And that lack of documentation can result in bidder hesitation not to mention that the quoted engine number 6924538 is irrelevant. This car was a $60,000 no-sale at Mecum Las Vegas last month, and even this price in Houston is driver-quality money for a car that looks better than that. The bidders were skeptical and not helped by the paucity of photos that never once showed the engine stamping. Uncertainty is not an inducement to bidding, a caution illustrated by this Corvette.

Lot # S87 1954 Buick Roadmaster Convertible; S/N A1055908; Lido Green/Brown, Light Brown leather; White vinyl top; Recent restoration 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $57,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $62,700 – 322/200hp, Dynaflow, chrome wire wheels, whitewalls, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, Sonomatic pushbutton radio, power antenna, dash clock. – Very clean, correct older restored engine bay. Good older chrome. Gorgeous paint. Slightly uneven door gaps. Excellent interior. Maybe not quite a concours winner, but it would certainly be at home on a show field. – In such good condition and attentively restored, this should be a rewarding and satisfying acquisition at this fully appropriate price. It’s not a Skylark, but it is big, comfortable and imposing, and 2/3 the cost.

Lot # S103 1969 Shelby Mustang GT500 SportsRoof; S/N 9F2R480232; Silver Jade, White side stripe/Black vinyl; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $77,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $84,700 – 428/335hp, automatic, Shelby wheels, Goodyear Polyglas GT tires, factory radio, factory air conditioning, Deluxe Marti Report documented and autographed by Carroll Shelby. – Good older paint. Light scratches on the front bumper. Very small chip on the windshield. Small blister ahead of the right rear scoop. Lightly scratched rear glass. Very good interior. Tidy engine bay and underbody. A straightforward lightly used older restoration. Has the compulsory Carroll Shelby signature on the glove box door. – Appropriately discounted for its automatic and few flaws. It is an attractive color and will attract attention on the road and even in the parking lot of an SAAC event, a sound value.

Lot # S110.1 1987 Porsche 911 Turbo 930 Coupe; S/N WP0JB0938HS51385; Black/Brown leather; Unrestored original 3- condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $120,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $132,000 – 3,299/282hp, 4-speed, black painted Fuchs wheels, Potenza tires, slant nose, sunroof, factory cassette stereo. – Represented as a factory slant nose and showing 28,292 miles that are represented as actual. No other history represented. The paint is original and dead. It’s badly faded, covered in detail scratches, and heavily chipped. Dry weather stripping. Dull exterior plastic. Light oxidation underneath. The interior condition matches the mileage with no major wear. On paper this car sounds quite desirable, but by Porsche standards and especially slant nose 930 standards, it’s a rough car. – Rough or not, factory slant noses are desirable and never easy to find. They can command a premium of about a third over a standard 930. The Houston bidders reasonably balanced the tired condition with the rare bodywork and the relatively low mileage, putting up a price that is expensive but not outrageous compared to other recent 930 sales.

Lot # S112 1965 Sunbeam Tiger Mk IA Convertible; S/N B382000599LRXFE; British Racing Green, Green hardtop/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Modified restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $56,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $61,600 – 260/164hp, 4-speed, Panasport wheels, Dunlop Direzza tires, hardtop and soft top, Edelbrock aluminum intake, Holley 4-barrel, aluminum radiator, ceramic coated headers, stainless exhaust. – Restored in original colors with a performance built engine. Tidy engine bay and underbody. Older respray with numerous small scratches, chips, and blisters, but nothing that couldn’t be ignored. Older chrome. Newer wheels. Clean interior that looks fully or at least mostly redone. A usable Tiger with a few tasteful upgrades. – This car went on Bring a Trailer last December but stayed unsold at a lackluster $47,250 high bid. Even this price in Houston is on the modest side for a solid Tiger with a hardtop, balancing the sound condition with the performance upgrades and new wide tires and wheels. Although prices have been softening somewhat for these cars after their big surge a few years ago, but this result is ahead of the curve and a decent bargain for the new owner.

Lot # S122 1988 Ferrari Testarossa Coupe, Body by Pininfarina; S/N ZFFSG17AXJ0077325; Rosso Corsa/Tan leather; Visually maintained, largely original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $87,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $95,700 – 4943/390hp, 5-speed, Scuderia shields, later Ferrari wheels, Continental tires, Momo leather-wrapped steering wheel, Kenwood stereo, books, tools, jack. – Showing 37,130 believable miles and represented with an engine out belt service and new clutch 500 miles ago. The front bumper looks repainted and doesn’t match the rest of the body. Plastic front bottom lip looks brand new as well. A few light scratches and small chips throughout but the paint is mostly good. Interior looks fantastic. A decent TR in classic colors. – This car was listed on eBay in November asking $120,000, but this result is far more appropriate to its condition and mileage.

Lot # S126.1 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 RS Sport Coupe; S/N 124377N178453; Engine # 7N178453 VI229MO; Royal Plum, White stripes/Black, White vinyl; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $50,000 – 302/290hp, 4-speed, Hurst shifter, Rally wheels, Firestone red line tires, 12-bolt Positraction, power brakes, Deluxe interior, woodgrain steering wheel. – Represented as matching numbers. Originally a vinyl roof car. Fully restored engine bay and underbody with light road use. Good brightwork other than a few light scratches on the front bumper and a few dings in the window trims. Good older paint without major flaw, just light age. Very good interior with light paint flaking off the console the only sign of age. A lovely Z in nice colors, and only showing mild age after a full and high quality restoration. – However, the car card stated: “*BUYER BEWARE: There have been accusations that this car was not born a Royal Plum car and that it was not born an original Z28.” That’s more than enough to deter any but the most daring or opportunistic buyers from offering more than the reported high bid here.

Lot # S127 1974 Ford Bronco Wagon 4×4; S/N U15GLU44778; Brown Metallic, White hardtop/Pearl vinyl; Recent restoration 2+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $70,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $77,000 – 302/145hp 2-barrel, column shift 3-speed manual, wheel covers, narrow whitewalls, rear-mounted spare wheel, original AM radio with hidden FM controls. – Body-off restored. Fresh fully redone engine with new bottles, hoses, wires and belts. Spotless underbody. Fresh high quality paint. Glass looks new. Fresh interior with restored gauges and new upholstery. A stunner, and much too clean a Bronco take anywhere near off road. – This fantastic Bronco was offered on Bring a Trailer in October but remained unsold at a $57,500 high bid. It turns out there was more enthusiasm and more money in the seats at the NRG Center than on the World Wide Web. The price it brought in Houston is huge, but given the quality of the restoration wasn’t surprising.

Lot # S128 1968 Mercedes-Benz 250SL Convertible; S/N 11304310003071; Beige, Beige hardtop/Beige; Brown cloth top; Visually maintained, largely original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $65,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $71,500 – 2,496/170hp, 4-speed manual, hub caps and trim rings, narrow whitewalls, Blaupunkt pushbutton radio, VDO dash clock, books, emergency accessories, 2-tops, hardtop stand. – Represented as a three-owner car. Maintained but unrestored engine bay. Tired, possibly original chrome and brightwork. Good older repaint. Light pitting on the window frames of the hardtop. Faded dash top and rear deck, and the wood on top of the dash is dry and cracking. Lightly worn steering wheel. The rubber in the driver’s door is ripped and part of it is sticking out. A rare 4-speed 250 that looks good from a distance and has been reasonably well cared for, but is still a used example. – This is a generous price, even for a 2-top 4-speed 250SL, and carries a meaningful premium for preservation and the three owner history. It’s never been restored because it never needed to be, but it hasn’t been babied, either. A fair amount has been spent on recent maintenance which suggests it needed the attention and had been neglected for a while.

Lot # S137 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe; S/N 194379S731013; Fathom Green/Dark Green vinyl; Visually maintained, largely original 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $80,000 – 427/435hp aluminum head L89, M21 4-speed, hub caps, Radial T/A tires, original AM-FM radio, transistor ignition, power brakes, 3.70 Positraction, Soft Ray tinted glass, documented with the original window sticker, owner’s manual, warranty book, radio manual and key tags. – Engine number unreadable but it’s clearly original to the car and is represented as matching numbers. Front bumper replaced but the original is included. Repainted five years ago. Three-owner car. Mechanically sorted but totally unrestored other than the repaint. Plenty of understandable wear, fading and general age given its age, but because it’s all original almost all of it can be forgiven. An impressive, survivor L89. – L89 Corvettes are rare in any condition and this one, while far from pristine, is impressively well-preserved. The Houston bidders afforded it a healthy premium for its originality, but apparently not healthy enough to meet the expectations of the seller, who shouldn’t realistically expect too much higher.

Lot # S147 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible; S/N E7FH173610; Flame Red, White hardtop/White vinyl; White vinyl top; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $70,000 – E-code 312/270hp with dual quads, wire wheels, whitewalls fender skirts, porthole hardtop, soft top, tonneau cover, front disc brakes, Town & Country radio, air conditioning. – Looks like a show car from a short distance but reveals some flaws up close. Represented with a “fresh” engine but not necessarily the one it left the factory with. Gleaming, spotless detailed engine bay that looks like it has never been started. Nearly spotless underbody. Very good paint other than microblisters on the headlight bezels. Erratic fit on the doors. Very good interior. A sharp-looking T-Bird, just not necessarily an honest one. – A matching numbers E-code car in this condition could command another 50 percent more than this reported high bid, but this car was a $70,000 no-sale at Mecum Dallas in 2018 and a $65,000 no-sale at Leake’s online sale this August. The market has spoken three times now, and it’s time for the consignor to adjust expectations.

Lot # S163 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe; S/N 194377S105750; Engine # 7105750; Blue, Blue stinger/Dark Blue vinyl; Older restoration 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $82,000 – 427/390hp L36, automatic, red line tires, factory air conditioning, woodrim steering wheel, Rally wheels with trim rings and hubcaps, AM-FM radio. – Represented as matching numbers. 2017 NCRS Second Flight. Paint coming off the top of the engine around the intake manifold, but tidy engine bay otherwise. Very good paint. Sound but not super fresh chrome. Wheels could use a detailing. Very good fully redone interior. No longer a show winner but still a very good and very well equipped car. – There’s a theme evolving among the Mecum Houston Corvettes: challenged older restorations with mediocre drivetrains even with (aged) NCRS and concours recognition. This is a good Corvette. It brought a good high bid. Its consignor thought it was worth more. It’s not an unfamiliar experience in 2020.

Lot # S166 1969 Shelby Mustang GT500 SportsRoof; S/N 9F2R480748; Candy Apple Red, Black hood stripes, Gold side stripes/Black vinyl; Unrestored original 2- condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $130,000 – 428/335hp, 4-speed, 3.50 Traction-Lok, power steering, power brakes, Shelby wheels, Radial T/A tires, rear window seats, pushbutton radio, Marti Report. – Sold new in New York. Original paint with cracking and crazing in spots but it isn’t coming up anywhere. Dull chrome and brightwork, but only light pitting on the door handles. Very good unrestored engine bay but clearly maintained with recent hoses and wires plus a brand new air filter. Clean chassis. Excellent original interior. A remarkably well kept Shelby, arguably far too good to restore now. – There were three 1969 Shelby GT500 SportsRoofs on offer in Houston this year – a lightly aged older restoration with an automatic sold for $84,700, a freshly restored 4-speed car sold for $104,500, and this car. After hammering not sold at a $110,000 high bid at Mecum Las Vegas last month, the bidders in Houston gave it an even heftier premium for its impressive level of preservation. It could have sold for the price on offer in Vegas. Refusing a bid of 20 grand more is entirely unreasonable.

Lot # S168 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible; S/N 194676S121630; Milano Maroon/Black vinyl; Black vinyl top; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Not sold at Hammer bid of $95,000 – 427/390hp L36, 4-speed, centerlock alloy wheels, Uniroyal tires, power brakes. – Engine number not readable but represented as matching numbers. Bloomington Gold, NCRS Top Flight, Triple Crown recipient, but all that was all in the 1990s. Brake cylinders and booster look new, but the rest of the engine is a bit tired, with paint coming off the valve covers, oxidation in spots and surface rust on the steering column. Tidy restored frame. Older paint and chrome with detail swirls in the body and a large scratch on top of the left rear fender. Good older restored interior with light general wear. A usable car with good equipment. One for the road, not the show field. – This car was a no-sale at an $85,000 high bid at Mecum Las Vegas last month. That was a perfectly appropriate bid to this car’s mildly aged condition, and the high bid in Houston is downright generous. It should have been taken if there was money close to it and has a perception problem: all the accolades (twenty years ago) mark it as a special Corvette, but its age and miles say “driver” that has had limited use, good care but has lost its show car edge. It falls into a value gap that is desirable to neither group of potential buyers, too expensive to be driven and enjoyed but too good (at least to its consignor) to be let go for driver money. It’s a conundrum that only the consignor has the power to resolve by lowering expectations or keep giving it rides in the hope of finding a gullible bidder.

Lot # S181 1970 Plymouth Road Runner 2-Dr. Hardtop; S/N RM21N0G130284; Yellow, Black vinyl roof, matte black hood/Black vinyl, Gray cloth; Visually maintained, largely original 4+ condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $30,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $33,000 – 383/335hp, automatic, drum brakes, store brand radial tires, column shift, bench seat, factory radio. – A base Road Runner in survivor condition. Dusty, oxidized engine bay but everything’s there except for the cap for the coolant reservoir. Tired but presentable original chrome. Very old repaint that could almost pass for original if it weren’t for several glaring masking errors. Tires look very old and probably aren’t safe to drive on. Passenger’s side door sticks way out at the bottom. Dirty underbody but no big rust spots visible. Tired but decently preserved interior. Would make a straightforward project. – Straightforward but, at this price, somewhat expensive. It’s driver money paid for a car that at the very least needs a thorough servicing and a set of tires, and as we all know cars like this need more things fixed and more bills paid than we think they will.

Lot # S209 1956 Continental Mark II Sport Coupe; S/N C56A1799; White/White, Red leather; Older restoration 3+ condition; With Reserve; Hammered Sold at $36,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $39,600 – 368/285hp, automatic, wheel covers, whitewalls, air conditioning, power windows, power seat, pushbutton AM/FM radio. – Dull, scratched front bumper and grille. Good older paint other than some chips around the door edges. Slightly erratic panel fit. Light road wear underneath. Tidy interior with sound leather that just needs cleaning. No history represented but restored at some point and presents well enough to drive and enjoy. – Ford is said to have lost $12,000 on every Continental Mark II built but that is small beer compared with the bargain this Mecum Houston bidder took home on this thoughtfully restored and preserved 1956 Mark II, a car that easily could have brought $60,000 without being expensive. With no disrespect intended, this is ratty ’56 Chrysler 300B money, but it bought one of the most exclusive, luxurious and beautifully-designed cars of the 1950’s in good enough condition to be driven with pride. At the country club in 2021, parked among M-Bs and Escalades, it will be the star of the lot. The age of the restoration is troubling and there may be mechanical/electrical issues that need attention, all of which is securely encompassed by this price.

Lot # S210 1990 Porsche 944 S2 Cabriolet; S/N WP0CB2947LN481638; Gray/Light Gray leather; Black cloth top; Unrestored original 2 condition; No Reserve; Hammered Sold at $28,000 plus commission of 10.00%; Final Price $30,800 – Alloy wheels, Goodyear Eagle GT tires, factory CD stereo, power windows, air conditioning, tonneau cover, tools, air compressor. – Showing just 14,713 believable miles. One owner until 2018. Recent service including the all-important timing belt/water pump. Aside from a small scratch on the passenger’s side mirror, a few tiny chips in the nose and a few scratches and scrapes on top of the rear bumper, this is a gorgeous car top to bottom. The paint, top, interior and engine are all super clean. The car doesn’t even look three years old, let alone 30. A 944, but pampered like it was a much more expensive Porsche. Sold to benefit the Folds of Honor charity. – By the time Porsche introduced an open version of its front-engined water-cooled cars, the 944 was in S2 trim with larger 3.0-liter engine and 208 horsepower, nearly as much as the original 944 Turbo. 944 Cabriolets have generally led easier lives than the earlier and cheaper cars, but this one is still exceptional. It sold for $29,120 at RM’s Porsche 70th Anniversary sale in 2018, and shows just 28 more miles today. It also sold for $26,000 on Bring a Trailer last May. This slightly higher price is more due to Mecum coaxing out extra bids for charity than any major change in the 944 market.

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