HomeThe MarketAstronauts' cars among featured lots at Mecum's Houston auction

Astronauts’ cars among featured lots at Mecum’s Houston auction


Photos by Mecum Auctions

Houston being the site of the NASA Johnson Space Center, it seems only fitting that among the 1,000 cars being offered up for bids this weekend at Mecum Auctions’ sale are two formerly owned by astronauts. And not just any astronauts, but the first two U.S. fliers to travel into space.

In addition to riding rockets, astronauts were known for their rocketing along the highways in Chevrolet Corvettes. Alan Shepard, the first American into space and later known for hitting a golf ball on a course called “The Moon,” was among those Corvette owners, but later in life he owned by 1995 Camaro Z28 convertible, a car that will be lot F59 at the Mecum sale.

Virgil “Gus” Grissom died in the Apollo 1 catastrophe just a few months after he’d purchased a 1967 Corvette convertible. The car continued to be shown in parades at Cape Kennedy in Florida, has been restored and has won NCRS Top Flight honors. It will be Lot S120.1 at the Mecum sale.

Among other vehicles at the sale at the Reliant Center are:

  • A 1967 Chevrolet Corvette coupe that had been hidden in a garage with less than 3,000 miles on its odometer until being found in 2012;
  • A 1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza coupe, unrestored and with only 15 miles on its odometer;
  • An unrestored, 3,853-mile 1965 Mercury Monterey Marauder;
  • A 1969 Plymouth Road Runner convertible;
  • The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette 7 11 race car used in the movie Viva Las Vegas;
  • A 1920 Cadillac Type 59 Phaeton;
  • A 1934 Cadillac Fleetwood V12 all-weather phaeton (the second of only three built);
  • The 1963 “Bunkie Knudsen” Corvette styling car;
  • An ex-Paul Newman 1974 Porsche 911S race car;
  • The 7-time NHRA national championship 1963 Shelby Cobra Dragonsnake;
  • A 1964 Ford GT40 prototype;
  • 1 of 20 1972 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 coupes
  • A 1970 Plymouth Superbird with a 440/375 V8;
  • A 1910 Locomobile Model 40 Type 1 demi tonneau;
  • A 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Huntington limousine with Brewster coachwork;
  • Six street rods from the same collection.

In addition to the classic car auction that runs April 10-12, Mecum will stage a one-day MidAmerica vintage and antique motorcycle auction April 13, with 200 bikes available.

Among them are nearly 100 bikes from the collection of Mike Doyle, including:

  • A 1928 Henderson K-Deluxe;
  • A restored 1949 Vincent HRD Black Shadow;
  • A 1913 Sears single-cylinder auto cycle;
  • A reproduced 1926 Harley-Davidson JDH-8 valve board-track racer
  • A 1960 Ducati 260 Elite racer

Also crossing the block will be two motorcycles formerly owned by Steve McQueen:

  • A 1931 Harley-Davidson VL;
  • A 1971 Husqvarna 250cc motocross

The Houston classic car sale will be televised by the NBC Sports and Esquire networks.


Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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