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Resource Guide
Auction Central
By Larry Edsall
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Mecum boosts January sales to more than $200 million
By Larry Edsall

Classic Car Articles by Larry Edsall Judging by the number of vehicles sold and the amount of money changing hands, the classic car auction industry came off the line in 2011 like a Top Fuel dragster on a record run. Now that we have the numbers from Mecum’s annual auction at Kissimmee, Florida, we can report that more than 3500 vehicles were sold at auctions in January and for more than $200 million.

Here’s the sales breakdown:

Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale: 1240 vehicles / $69.7 million
Mecum Kissimmee: 1060 vehicles / $39.9 million
Gooding Scottsdale: 119 vehicles / $34.9 million
RM Phoenix: 172 vehicles / $30.6 million
Russo and Steele Scottsdale: 600 vehicles / $21 million

Plus Silver at Fountain Hills, Motoexotica at Manheim Phoenix, and GRG Scottsdale added another 400 or so vehicles and more than $5 million in sales.

Mecum’s auction had a 73-percent sell-through rate, but, like Barrett-Jackson, its top sale wasn’t a four-wheeled vehicle but a boat. At Barrett-Jackson, a 44-foot custom catamaran off-shore power boat (with its trailer and a matching 2008 Chevrolet Corvette Z06) sold for nearly three quarters of a million dollars.

At Mecum, the top seller – bringing $975,000 – was the 1996 Riva Aquarama Special Hull No. 774, the last hand-built Riva wooden boat sold to the public. “The Last Riva,” as it is known, was purchased new by a member of the founding family of Sony and had been run since for only 20 hours. Another Riva wooden boat, 1970 Aquarama Series III Hull 416 was the No. 4 top seller at Mecum, bringing $325,500.

Classic Car Articles by Larry Edsall "We offered a wide variety of classic cars, motorcycles, wooden boats as well as automotive memorabilia,” said Dana Mecum. “The collector world has definitely expanded into new markets.”

Cars also did well at Mecum, led by a 1963 Shelby Cobra DragonSnake for $875,000, a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 roadster for $550,000, a 1957 Ford Thunderbird DF Phase 1 for $250,000, a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge convertible for $225,000 and a 1940 Packard Darrin convertible for $205,000. The DragonSnake was a drag racing special and record holder. The Tbird was one of 15 specials Ford built for speed-record runs on the beach at Daytona.

If you’re keeping track of auction batting averages this season, Mecum’s Kissimmee produced an average price of $37,642 per vehicle, slotting the event ahead of Russo and Steele’s $31,259 at Scottsdale and behind Barrett-Jackson’s $57,312 average.

Worldwide at Trump Taj Mahal

Worldwide Auctioneers has acquired rights to run the collector car auction February 18 at G. Potter King’s 10th annual Classics at The Trump Taj Mahal show at the Atlantic City Convention Center, where some 60,000 East Coast classic car enthusiasts annually gather for a weekend each February. Consignments include a 1960 Chrysler 300 F Special Coupe, 1932 Cadillac 452B V16 all-weather phaeton and 1962 Chevrolet Corvette competition roadster.

Auctions America, Carlisle to work together

At Scottsdale, Auctions America by RM and Carlisle Events announced a joint marketing and corporate cooperation agreement that will have Carlisle organize the swap meet and car corral at Auction America’s spring and fall events at Auburn, Indiana, with Auctions America by RM staging classic car auctions in conjunction with the annual spring and fall classic car gatherings at Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The dates are April 28-29 at Carlisle, May 12-15 at Auburn, September 1-4 at Auburn and September 29-30 at Carlisle.

The announcement was the second major recent expansion for the Miller family and its Carlisle Events, which is approaching its 40th anniversary. A few weeks ago, Carlisle announced it had purchased a 48-acre site adjacent to the Carlisle Fairgrounds and intends to create a sales and distribution center for automotive-oriented businesses.

Police investigate claims against ICA

The demise of Kruse Auctions has been previously reported. In case you wondered why there was no International Classic Auctions event in Arizona in January, the Arizona Republic newspaper reported police in Gilbert, Arizona, are investigating accusations that ICA defrauded 35 people in four states and in London, England of a reported $500,000.

Centennial celebration for Spirit of Ecstasy Classic Car Articles by Larry Edsall

Two-thousand eleven marks the 125th anniversary of the motor car and a number of centennials, including Chevrolet. But it also is the 100th birthday of “The Spirit of Ecstasy,” the hood ornament first fitted to a Rolls-Royce in 1911.

To celebrate, 100 Rolls of various vintages rolled through the streets of London in early February on a route that took them past Big Ben, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, but also past the birthplace of Charles Rolls and the studio where sculptor Charles Sykes probably sculpted that now 100-year-old radiator cap.

Anniversary Cobras sell out in 48 hours

Within 48 hours of the introduction of the 50th Anniversary Shelby Cobra at Barrett-Jackson, all 50 that will be built were sold, some to Shelby dealers, some to private owners. “People who didn’t have the opportunity to buy one in the 1960s jumped at the chance to own one of these very special collector’s edition Shelbys,” said Shelby American president John Luft. Shelby American says the 50th Anniversary cars incorporate safety and performance improvements “without sacrificing originality.” Cars are delivered as rolling chassis; buyers install the drivetrain. The price was $69,995 for a fiberglass-bodied Cobra or $134,995 for aluminum-shelled cars.

Shelby spices up the grocery shelves

Speaking of Shelby, Shelby Signature Foods and Pepper Creek Farms are introducing three new products: Habanero Salsa, Bold Beef & Chop Rub and Honey Mesquite BBQ Sauce. A portion of proceeds from sales of the products will benefit the Carroll Shelby Foundation.

Click here for event calendar.


Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.

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