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By Larry Edsall
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Corvettes bring $5.8 million at Mecum auction
By Larry Edsall

Larry Edsall at ClassicCars.com Mecum's annual all-Corvettes auction held in conjunction with the Bloomington Gold Corvette event featured a stunning group 23 black ‘Vettes that not only paraded through downtown St. Charles, Illinois on their way to the Pheasant Run resort, but which followed each other onto the auction block, where they brought $1.65 million of the $5.8 million in total sales.

The top-dollar sales, however, was not one of those 1954-69 model-year black beauties, but a golden-colored 1971 ZR2 convertible that sold for $410,000 (hammer price). The car was one of only two ZR2 convertibles produced and, according to its original fuel tank sticker, was the last ZR2 built and the last of the first-generation LS6-powered Corvettes.

Barrett-Jackson does $14 million at Orange County
Barrett-Jackson's recent and second annual Orange County (California) classic car auction posted sales of nearly $14 million, down slightly from the $15 million figure achieved at the inaugural event in 2010, though those numbers need to be viewed in context. Last year, the sale included some 400 vehicles. This year, that number was 300.

The big surprise was the vehicle that sold for the most money: A 1963 23-window Volkswagen Samba bus went for $217,500.

However, that sale did not feature the auction's highest bids. A 1973 Ferrari Daytona GTB/4 was bid to $325,000 only to fall short of the car's reserve price. (After several years as a "no-reserve" auction, Barrett-Jackson has begun to include reserves on high-value vehicles.)

RM's inaugural Salon Prive does $8.19 in sales
Though it took place on the other side of "the pond," RM's inaugural Sale Prive auction generated $8.19 million in sales, with a 77 percent sell-through of the 77 vehicles offered in West London. The top-sale was $755,744 for a 1929 Bentley Speed Six "Le Mans" style tourer.

The second-high sale was $740,963 for a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage convertible that had been purchased new by actor Peter Ustinov.

The auction was held in conjunction with the Salon Prive luxury super car show and concours d'elegance, where a 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 was judged best in show. The pre-war Alfa had been purchased new by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini for his mistress, Clara Petacci.

Jeepers! Jeep Week at the Chrysler Museum
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan, offers free admission as part of a July 12-17 celebration of the 70th anniversary of the date the U.S. Army signed a contract with Willys-Overland to produce a military reconnaissance vehicle we know know and love as the Jeep. The week-long celebration is sponsored by Dana, which celebrates its 70th anniversary as a supplier to those Jeeps, starting with the 1941 Willys MA which was built with Spicer front and rear axles and propshafts from the Maumee, Ohio-based auto supplier.

Inside the museum, a special 70 Years of Jeep exhibition showcases the Jeep's evolution with eight vehicles -- a '41 Willys MA, a '43 Jeep MB, a '45 Jeep CJ-2A, a '49 Willys wagon, a '50 Jeepster, '73 and '85 CJ-5s and two concept vehicles -- the 1998 Jeepster and the 2001 Willys II.

Spicer components also are displayed inside, and Dana's Jeep components will be part of a special cruise night event in the museum parking lot from 5:30-8:30 p.m. July 13.

Death Valley gets its own car show
Each summer, the world's automakers bring their well-camouflaged vehicles in development to California's Death Valley for hot-weather testing and to play cat-and-mouse games with automotive spy photographers. But this coming winter, Death Valley will be the location for Muscle Cars of America's inaugural Winter Car Festival for classic, vintage and contemporary muscle cars and exotics. The event is scheduled December 8-10 at the Furnace Creek Inn, a "resort" on the floor of Death Valley.

Click here for event calendar.

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