A pair of Holy Grail muscle cars – a 1971 Plymouth Hemi ’Cuda 4-speed convertible and a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe – will roar over the auction block next month during Mecum’s inaugural classic car auction in Seattle.
The hot Detroit performance icons will be among 600 collector cars, trucks, motorcycles and a 1951 Cockshutt farm tractor that will be auctioned off June 13-14 during Mecum’s sale at the CenturyLink Field Event Center.
The Hemi ’Cuda is an exceptionally rare and original piece of Mopar history, and it checks all the boxes of blue-chip authenticity as top-dog muscle cars regain value in recent years. It is one of just four convertibles equipped with 4-speed stickshift delivered in the U.S. and documented as the only remaining matching-numbers example in existence, according to Mecum.
Powered by its original 427cid, 425-horsepower Hemi V8, the ’Cuda’s factory broadcast sheet shows that it was equipped at the Hamtramck, Michigan, assembly plant with the New Process 4-speed transmission, Dana 60 rear end with 4.10 Super Track Pak, 26-inch radiator and power brakes.
The car was owned by famed Southwest cartoonist Russ Meyer, who eventually sold it to an Oregon buyer. Later, the muscle car was seized by authorities there as part of a drug bust and sold at auction for $405,000, an unprecedented figure at the time.
A complete restoration in its original Bright Blue with matching interior and black convertible-top was completed in 2000 by Mopar expert Julius Steuer of Los Angeles, Mecum said. The car retains its serious performance look with painted steel wheels, dog-dish hub caps and white-letter tires. The rare Shaker hood is held down by chrome pins, and the dashboard includes the desirable Rallye Instrument Cluster.
The Corvette L88 Sting Ray is another legendary muscle-car gem, one of just 20 produced in 1967 and a rare factory side-exhaust version of the first-year L88 documented with the original tank sticker, according to Mecum. The L88, developed under the guidance of renowned Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus Duntov, is powered by a heavy-duty, high-performance 427cid that was officially rated conservatively at 430 horsepower but known to deliver 560 horsepower at its sweet spot of 6,500 rpm.
The Marina Blue coupe was restored by the Naber Brothers of Houston and featured in multiple Bloomington Gold Special Collections over three decades.
The L88 retains its original Muncie close-ratio “Rock Crusher” 4-speed, heavy-duty power brakes, special sport suspension, transistor ignition and Positraction rear with 4.11:1 gearset.
After a brief racing career – L88 Corvettes won the GT class at both Daytona and Sebring and ruled SCCA competition in their day – the car has been in private ownership until now being offered as the grand prize at auction as the ultimate Corvette of its generation.
Mecums’ first auction in Seattle features a wide array of popular American muscle cars and classics, plus sports cars, exotics and such. The auction will be televised by NBCSN on a time delay; check local listings.
For more information about Mecum in Seattle, see www.Mecum.com.