HomeCar CultureCommentaryWhat Bill likes best at the Mecum Chicago Auction

What Bill likes best at the Mecum Chicago Auction


The crowd mills around the vehicles offered at Mecum's Chicago auction | Mecum Auctions
The crowd mills around the vehicles offered at Mecum’s Chicago auction | Mecum Auctions

The fun of a Mecum Auction is that there is something for everyone. Classics, trucks, rods, sports cars, exotics, they all cross the block about once a month wherever the next Mecum auction is held. In this case, it’s the annual Mecum Chicago Auction at the Schaumberg Renaissance Convention Center, ending today after a three-day sale.

For a collector car fan, it’s like a great, big candy store. So in choosing my favorites from the massive Mecum catalog, I placed some parameters on my choices.

In the spirit of the diverse catalog, I picked one from the following categories: trucks, ‘50’s cars, muscle cars, hot rods, imports, and sports cars. In the spirit of Everyman, I limited my selections to the cars parked outside in the tents rather than the marquee cars inside the red-carpeted showroom.

1982 Toyota FJ-82 Land Cruiser
This was a tougher choice than I anticipated given the burgeoning supply of interesting restored trucks. When the mental smoke cleared, the Toyota FJ-82 stuck out. It’s interesting to see the same strict correctness we expect on quality restorations applied to a 1980s import truck. The original 2F 4.0-liter inline-six engine and four-speed transmission are in place, as is the original love-it-or-hate-it color scheme. A rare configuration with the pickup bed.
1955 Mercury Montclair Sun Valley
Pictures don’t do this car justice, and many photographers lingered over the fantastic details of this classic 1950s design. The Sun Valley edition is one of 1,500 made in 1955 with the transparent plexiglass roof panel, which gives the cabin a true jet-age viewpoint. Powered by a Mercury V8 and sporting a continental kit out back, this turquoise-on-turquoise Arizona car checks all the right boxes.
1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL
While not a strictly restored muscle car, the presence of this 390 Galaxie could not be denied. Now stroked to 423 cid with dual quads and a four-speed, and sporting a Thunderbolt-style hood, the car puts out a claimed 450 horsepower. Attention to detail was paid in the construction, making this big Ford seem as if it had come like this from the factory. A Southern car with only 32,000 miles made for a clean package top and bottom.
1930 Ford Model A Pickup Hot Rod
When it comes to hot rods, I prefer mine traditional. This 1930 Ford Model A truck is period correct, sporting a polished 274 cid Mercury flathead V8 and three-speed transmission. A few concessions were made to drivability, namely electronic ignition and coilover shocks, but they were overshadowed by some great period details, such as an Ampco oil vapor injector feeding twin Stromberg carburetors.
1989 Toyota Soarer Aerocabin
One of 500 made for the Japanese domestic market, this Soarer Aerocabin featured a retractable hardtop and evoked lines from the same-era Cressida, Subaru XT and MR2. Right-hand drive with automatic transmission and a 3.0-liter V6, this car is whisper quiet with a handsome design that could have been penned by an Italian carrozzeria.
1953 Jaguar XK120 FHC
There was a time when XK120s, especially fixed head coupes, were inexpensive sports cars. The closed cars have only gotten better looking with age, especially in British Racing Green with tan hides and wire wheels. The 3.4-liter DOHC straight six is timeless, and the Moss gearbox rewarding. Just enough patina on this car with that great smell of aged Connolly hides and wool carpet.

Photos by William Hall 

William Hall
William Hall
William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation's premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

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