Mecum’s Indy auction does a record $69.4 million

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Indy pace cars -- all Corvettes -- sell as single lot for $1.76 million | Mecum Auctions photo by David Newhardt

With a 2017 Ford GT and two Corvette collections each selling for around $1.8 million, Dana Mecum’s 31st annual Original Spring Classic auction this past week at the Indiana State Fairgrounds set records with $69.4 million in sales.

More than 1,400 vehicles went to new owners at a 76 percent sell-through rate, Mecum Auctions reported. The 2018 sales total marked a 24 percent increase compared with the same auction a year earlier, and that auction also posted a big boost compared with 2016.

“Sales totals have increased by more than 20-percent for each of the past two years of our Spring Classic auction, and just halfway through 2018, Mecum’s growth across the board has already proven to be exponential with similar increases occurring at several of our other annual auctions as well,” consignment director Frank Mecum was quoted in the company’s post-auction news release.

“It’s truly an exciting time to be a part of the collector-car community.”

Topping individual vehicle sales was a 2017 Ford GT consigned at the last minute to the auction docket. The year-old car, originally priced at around $450,000, sold for $1.815 million (prices reported include buyer’s fees.)

Richard Cohen’s collection of “Big Tank” Corvettes brought $1.82 million at Mecum auction | Larry Edsall photo

Keith Busse’s Indianapolis 500 Corvette pace car collection, 16 vehicles which shared the auction block at the same time, sold as a single lot and brought $1.76 million. Meanwhile, Richard Cohen’s Big-Tank Corvette collection of five cars were sold individually but when added together they’re overall sales figure was $1.82 million.

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Two of the Cohen’s cars — one a 1966 version and the other a ’67 — were among the overall top-10 sales at the auction, each selling for more than $410,000.

Two cars from the Jim Street Estate collection were the subjects of extreme attention in the run up to the sale. The “Kookie’s Kar,” which ignited the T-Bucket craze back in the 1950s, sold for $484,000, and The Golden Sahara II show car went for $385,000.

Driven 7 miles, 2017 Ford GT sells for $1.815 million | Larry Edsall photo

Top 10 sales, Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic 2018

  1. 2017 Ford GT, $1,815,000
  2. Keith Busse Corvette Pace Car Collection, $1,760,000
  3. 2011 Ferrari 599 GTO, $561,000
  4. Kookie’s Kar, $484,000
  5. 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429, $423,500
  6. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette N03, $418,000
  7. 1966 Chevrolet Corvette N03, $412,500
  8. 2006 Ford GT, $396,000
  9. The Golden Sahara II, $385,000
  10. 1967 Chevrolet Corvette ‘Bounty Hunter,’ $385,000

(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

Mecum has three auctions scheduled in June: Motorcycles in Las Vegas, June 1-2, and its annual collector car sales in Denver, June 8-9, and in Portland, Oregon, June 22-23.

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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 books. In addition to being Editorial Director at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times, writes a weekly automotive feature for The Detroit News and is an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The Cole for car market has hit ludicrous stage with someone paying 1.8M for a Ford GT that sold new for 450K?
    Noticed Mecum didn’t even try to explain such nonsense or that the car and its original owner will likely be subject to litigation
    How can one car that is slower than a 120K Vette be worth the same as a entire collection of Vette pace cars

    • I believe what was John Cena’s Ford GT sold that high simply because someone with mountainous money wanted it. That’s what auctions are for- actual worth means nothing, the game is: "how badly do you want that, and how far can I play you against the others who want that?". Pure emotion, which is why auctioneers throughout history have become wealthy off of the very human, if childlike, need to "have that". I see no unusual price escalation here, I see rich people doing what they do- ’tis America, after all, let ’em spend it. And any potential litigation is a personal matter, means nothing to the mechanism of an auction. Want "true value" or monetary worth? Get a Kelley’s or talk to your insurance agent. At auction, "value" is the size of the check that the winning bidder is prepared to write. Apparently, Cena’s GT was someone’s lust object. Good for him/her, it’s a sweet ride.

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