HomeThe MarketRare muscle cars flex weight at Mecum’s spring auction

Rare muscle cars flex weight at Mecum’s spring auction


A 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra with early rack-and-pinion steering topped the bidding | Mecum auctions
A pristine 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra with early rack-and-pinion steering topped the bidding | Mecum Auctions

Mecum Original Spring Classic Auction at a glance

Total sales$40.4 million
Catalog1,465 vehicles
Sell-through64 percent
High sale$885,000 for a 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra
Next 9 price range$235,000 to $530,000
Next auctionJune 13-14 in Seattle, WA

An exceptional group of rare muscle cars led the bidding at Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic auction, which achieved a total of more than $40 million. Heading up the sale were three performance icons: a 1963 Shelby 289 Cobra, a 1963 Pontiac Catalina “swiss cheese” lightweight race car and an ultra-low-mileage 1968 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro SS.

The annual auction, held May 13-18 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, offered 1,465 cars with 937 hammering sold, for a 64 percent sell-through rate.

The rare 1965 Pontiac Catalina lightweight | Mecum Auctions
The rare 1965 Pontiac Catalina lightweight | Mecum Auctions

The Shelby Cobra, one of the first with rack-and-pinion steering, went for $885,000 (results do not include buyer fees), by far the highest sale at Indianapolis.

The Cobra, described as pristine, was originally used as a demonstrator by Carroll Shelby to show the new steering system to the public.

The Catalina is one of 14 lightweights built by General Motors before the automaker instituted its racing ban. Completely restored with authentic details, race lettering and full documentation, the Pontiac sold for $530,000.

The Yenko Camaro, one of 64 performance Camaros modified by Don Yenko in 1968, has remarkably accumulated only 1,304 original miles, mostly on the quarter-mile strip. The fully document Camaro sold for a solid $320,000.

Rounding out the remaining top 10 were:

  • 1963 Chevrolet Corvette resto mod – $270,000
  • 1969 Dodge Hemi Charger 500– $270,000
  • 1968 Ford Shelby GT500KR convertible – $267,500
  • 1971 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda coupe – $260,000
  • 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 fastback – $255,000
  • 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 fastback – $237,500
  • 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6 convertible – $235,000

A number of fine pre-war classics were among the cars at auction, including a 1931 Cadillac V12 Roadster that sold for $215,000 and a 1935 Cadillac 355D Convertible for $156,000.

Next up for Mecum Auctions is its inaugural Seattle auction from June 13-14 with an estimated 600 cars heading over the block, including two headliners: a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda convertible and a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe. For more information, see www.mecum.com.

Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

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