A Bugatti Veyron is among the amazing cars on the docket at Mecum’s auction in Monterey | Larry Edsall photos
OK, so maybe only a third of the 600 vehicles expected to cross the block this week at Mecum’s’ annual Monterey “The Daytime Auction” were on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa when I arrived early Tuesday afternoon. But it’s Monterey Car Week and I was eager to get out and see some cars, so we’re presenting my choices even though there’s so much more yet to come.
But before sharing my picks with you, a group of cars I’d like in my collection and cars on which you might actually want to bid, I would be negligent not to note how much Mecum has upped its game this year here on the Monterey Peninsula.
Supercars drawing a lot of attention at ‘The Daytime Auction’
Yes, there are entry-to-mid market cars, some even with crackled paint and other evidence of wear and tear, but there also are a fleet of classic and modern day muscle cars, racing cars, exotics including — get ready — a Bugatti Veyron, McLaren P1, Porsche 918 Spyder, an absolutely mind-blowing Aston Martin Vulcan, as well as Ferraris and such, plus a bunch of traditional classics, among them a 1933 Duesenberg Model J convertible coupe with Bohman and Schwartz coachwork.
Oh, and also a GM Futurliner as car carrier.
Maybe it’s a good thing only about a third of the cars were here Tuesday afternoon. Seeing all 600 of them in one visit might have been simply overwhelming.
1965 Bizzarrini P538 Before setting out on his own, engineer Giotto Bizzarrini had a hand in the Ferrari 250 GTO, Lamborghini 3500 GT V12 and Iso Rivolta and Grifo. He recruited none other than Giorgetto Guigiaro to pen the bodywork for this Chevrolet V8-powered P538 racing car, which this is one of the second-generation cars Bizzarrini and others completed in the late 1970s after his original effort went through bankruptcy.
1951 Mercury Sport Coupe With its Merc-O-Matic automatic transmission, this big two-tone green and pale yellow machine figures to be a nice boulevard cruiser, and to draw extra attention because of its Continental kit. According to Mecum’s website, the car has been fully restored and has a nicely detailed engine bay.
1930 Standard Avon boattail speedster This is the 12th of 22 such cars produced by Reginald Walter Maudslay’s British company. Maudslay was a civil engineer who finished 11th in the inaugural RAC Tourist Trophy race, built cars through World War I and then became a supplier of chassis to other British automakers. In 1930 Standard and Avon worked together to build sports cars that became considered the “poor man’s Bugatti,” according to Mecum.
1932 Hupp Comet The Standard Avon may be the poor man’s Bugatti, but this 1932 Hupp Comet is the car that Russ Snowberger drove to a fifth-place finish in the 1932 Indianapolis 500, equalling his highest finish in 15 starts at the Brickyard, his first in 1921 when he was only 20 years old. Snowberger was the fastest qualifier and started from the pole in 1931 and turned down offers to drive for other teams because of his determination to run his own home-built effort.This car was built by Snowberger’s son, John, and was powered by a Hupmobile straight 8 that later was used to power the Bonneville Hupp, a car that hit 146 mph at Bonneville.
1947 Studebaker Gardner Special Vince Gardner was a car designer who worked with Gordon Buehrig at Auburn and Raymond Loewy at Studebaker. Gardner took a then-new 1947 Studebaker Champion 3-passenger coupe and transformed it into this prototype roadster with removable bubble top. The transformation included moving the passenger compartment, windshield, firewall and door hinges 18 inches toward the rear of the rear to achieve the car's proportions. Gardner and his wife, Louise, entered the car in the inaugural Press-On-Regardless 24-hour rally and won. He then took the car in the National Roadster Show and won the first “most magnificent custom roadster” trophy. The car also has won a ribbon at Pebble Beach.
1953 Chevrolet BelAir This ’53 Chevy completed resto-mod treatment last year with a new 350cid V8 engine, Turbo 350 transmission, power steering, updated suspension, front disc brakes, Vintage Air, and more, including $20,000 in Lexus Fire Agate Pearl and White paint.
1933 Duesenberg Model J The pre-auction estimated value on this convertible coupe with Bohman and Schwartz coachwork is $3.5 million to $4.5 million. The car originally was bought by Oscar-winner Marie Dressler with a Le Baron convertible sedan body. It was director/producer Roy Del Ruth who then acquired the car and ordered the new body, making this the only one of six long-wheelbase Model J convertible coupes with this design. The car has subsequently been part of the Harrah, Imperial Palace and Blackhawk collections.
1954 Oldsmobile Super 88 convertible From its 324cid Rocket 88 engine to its Continental kit, this pale green Olds convertible is a literal showstopper, having undergone a cosmetic restoration by the Picture Car Warehouse, a Northridge, California, facility launched two decades ago to prepare vehicles for roles in movies, television and commercials. Plus the car was owned from new by the same person until 2014. The interior is an equally stunning two-tone black and green.
1958 BMW Isetta This being the centennial of BMW, I wanted to include one. Instead, I’m including two. One is this 1958 Isetta 300 deluxe cabriolet, still with its original Sigla windshield and Sekurit glass, and with an accessory luggage rack and picnic basket adding style points.
1927 BMW R47S The other BMW is this 1927 R47S factory-team racing motorcycle featuring what Mecum says is a rare three-slide carburetor as well as a long-distance racing fuel tank. I like its low-slung stance with “Henne" dropped handlebars and that the amazing fender-mounted front license plate
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.