HomeThe Market$7-million GT40 boosts Mecum Houston total to nearly $35 million

$7-million GT40 boosts Mecum Houston total to nearly $35 million


GT40 sells for $7 million | Mecum / David Newhardt photos

Mecum Houston auctions at a glance

Total sales $34.9 million
Catalog 1085 cars, 174 motorcycles
Sell-through 70 percent cars, 72 percent bikes
High sale $7 millon 1964 Ford GT40
Next 9 price range $127,500 to $725,000
Next auction April 24-26 at Kansas City, Mo.

With a 1964 Ford GT40 selling for $7 million (that’s the hammer price and does not include the buyer’s premium), Mecum Auctions’ sale in Houston found new owners for 765 classic cars and did more than $33.6 million in business.

Mecum held a separate vintage motorcycle sale in the same venue, the Reliant Center, the following day. That sale generated more than $1.3 million in additional sales, boosting the four-day total to just shy of $35 million.

“Our Houston event is one of the fastest growing auctions on our calendar,” Dana Mecum said in a news release. “The quality of collector cars continues to rise year after year here in Houston. Attendees witnessed so many great cars sell at this year’s auction and several will go down as some of the most memorable in our company’s history.”

Chief among those is the 1964 Ford GT40 prototype racer, one of two that Shelby America raced during the 1965 season and the first Shelby-spec GT40 chassis. Bidding on the car took 5 minutes.

The GT40 is the second-oldest extant and was raced by Phil Hill, Bruce McLaren, Bob Bondurant, Ken Miles, Jo Schlesser, Richie Ginther, Richard Attwood and other works drivers.

Chassis GT/104 was the first built with lighter 24-gauge steel for its chassis. Ginther led the second lap at Le Mans but damage from a fire in the engine bay four hours into the race led to the car’s retirement after 13 hours. The car was repaired, fitted with revised front bodywork and raced in the Nassau Speed Week, where it sustained damage to its rear suspension. Ford turned to Shelby for the 1965 season.

The car was updated to improve cooling, transmission, brakes and high-speed aerodynamics, and additional weight was removed. Bondurant and Ginther drove the car to a third-place finish at Daytona. Suspension issues sidelined the car at Sebring and Monza. A blown pit stop may have cost the car a victory at the Nuburgring 1000-km, after which the car was retired as next-gen GT40s were available for Le Mans.

1967 Corvette gets plenty of protection
1967 Corvette gets plenty of protection

Another memorable sale at the auction involved the “McNamara Corvette,” an unrestored 1967 Chevrolet Corvette coupe with 2,996 lies on its odometer. The car had been hidden away for nearly four decades in a climate-controlled, single-car garage until being displayed at Bloomington Gold in 2012. The rolling time capsule sold at the Mecum Houston auction for $725,000, a record for a 427/390-hp Corvette coupe.

Noteworthy as well is the fact that the sixth-most expensive purchase at the auction was a 1968 Toyota FJ-44, which brought $150,000.

Top 10 Sales, Mecum Houston:

  • 1. 1964 Ford GT40 Prototype, GT/104, $7,000,000
  • 2. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, $725,000
  • 3. 1968 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro RS/SS, $450,000
  • 4. 2008 Ferrari 430 Scuderia coupe, $170,000
  • 5. 1934 Cadillac Fleetwood V12 All-Weather Phaeton, $165,000
  • 6. 1968 Toyota FJ-44, $150,000
  • 7. 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Huntington limousine, $145,000
  • 8. 1960 Porsche 356B cabriolet, $145,000
  • 9. 1970 Plymouth Superbird, $135,000
  • 10. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, $127,500

Figures show hammer prices and do not include buyer’s premium.

The top sale at the motorcycle auction was $105,000 for a 149 Vincent HRD Black Shadow from the Mike Doyle Collection, which accounted for the top 8 sales at the auction.

Larry Edsall
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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