Seventeen cars from the Joe McMurrey collection, including many by Shelby, are scheduled to cross the block Friday | Larry Edsall photos
There are so many collector cars in buildings and beneath tents at the Indiana State Fairgrounds that I only had time Tuesday to look at those in the permanent structures, which meant the stars of the Mecum Auction sale and those that were crossing the block Tuesday and Wednesday.
Nonetheless, I found several that I’d eagerly take home if I:
(a) could afford them,
(b) had a place to keep them and,
(c) had the knowledge or the staff to maintain them so they’d be ready to roll whenever I wanted to go for a drive.
I plan to be back Wednesday to check out those outside in the tents. But even if I find some gems out there, I’d be happy to enfold the following cars into a collection:
1977 Pontiac Can Am I cannot remember the last time I saw one of these one-year-only Pontiac muscle cars, and this one is reported to have a mere 78,000 miles of travel on its 6.6-liter engine, and to have been garaged since new. One special feature of the Le Mans-based Can Am was the use of the shaker hood from the Pontiac Trans Am. The car also got the dash and center console from the Grand Prix.
1950 Chevrolet convertible Looks stock on the outside, but there’s a newly installed 350 cid small-block V8 under the hood, plus disc brakes, air conditioning, power steering and power brakes, dual exhaust, custom upholstery and even a power convertible top. All of which means it looks old-school, but it purrs along comfortably at highway speeds.
1965 Griffith Series 200 The Joe McMurrey Collection being sold at Mecum features amazing cars, especially the Shelbys, but I was fascinated by this 1964 Griffith Series 200. Jack Griffith was an early Shelby dealer (Mark Donohue won his first race in one of Griffith’s cars). But Griffith decided he could build his own British-American hybrids and thus the Griffith Series 200, which combined Ford’s 289 cid V8 with bodies from Britain’s TVR.
1968 Opel Kadett station wagon Opel Kadetts were just ordinary cars back in the day, but now they are cool, and the station-wagon body multiplies not only the appeal but the practicality of this collector car.
1907 Stoddard-Dayton Model K runabout Reportedly one of only three that remain, this 1907 Stoddard-Dayton Model K is being offered at the Mecum Indy auction because an ’09 Stoddard-Dayton won the first auto race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Two years later, a Stoddard-Dayton like this one was used as the pace car for the first Indy 500-mile race.
1934 Dodge Business coupe The paint’s not in the best of shape, but the overall shape of this car is what caught my eye. Plus it’s rust-free, so a good candidate for body restoration. It features its original 217 cid flathead engine, factory hydraulic brakes and independent front suspension, as well as from-the-factory roll-up front windows.
1977 Ford F250 flatbed transporter With a 460 cid engine under the hood and with power brakes and steering, this hauler should be able to haul, plus the winch can handle 9,000 pounds, and there’s an on-board air compressor. What better way to take your buddy’s trailer queen to a car show? Plus you can display this classic Ford at the show as well!
1939 Ford Standard The grayish purple fenders, skirted at the rear, and pale blue body work together well to enhance a very stylish vehicle that would turn heads at any cruise. According to Mecum Auctions, the ’39 Ford still has its original (though once repainted) metal and rides on its original wheels. Power comes from an 85-horsepower flathead V8, linked to a three-speed manual gearbox.
1969 Volkswagen Beetle A 1960s Beetle that likely never looked nearly this good used to live at my house. This one has been restored with a new interior, new paint and tires, but still carries its factory-installed AM/FM radio. Not only does it look good, but it reportedly has been driven only 40,600 miles since it was brand new, which means the powertrain isn’t even broken in after nearly 50 years.
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.