Fantastic cars fill Bartle Hall at the Mecum Grand Finale Auction
Just as the weather turns cold in Kansas City, and you think there is no more car stuff to do, Mecum Auctions comes to town and saves the weekend. More than 750 cars were packed into Bartle Hall for the Mecum Grand Finale event, and whether you were looking to buy or not, it was as good as any car show you’d ever want to attend.
Mecum is known for their muscle cars, but that’s not the only kind of car you’ll see at one of their sales. Take this 1935 Cadillac 355D convertible. With those impressive wheel covers, 353-c.i. Cadillac flathead V8, and sharp restoration, this was as classy as a car can get. It was the sixth highest seller of the entire sale at $117,500. And while that seems like a large chunk of change, it was still beat out by a bunch of Mustangs and Camaros. Still, it looked like a million bucks to me.
The most expensive car sold at this auction, incidentally, was this 2012 COPO Camaro, which hammered at a healthy $140,000. These obviously recall the Central Office Production Order ZL1 Camaros from 1969, and General Motors is only building 69 of these. But in this case, the 427-c.i. V8-powered drag machine cannot be registered for the street. So you’d only be able to use it for competition, or perhaps as an investment or museum piece.
This was an extremely nice ’58 Impala convertible that failed to sell with a top bid of $70,000. The sellers claimed it only had around 46,000 miles on the clock, and based on the condition of the car, that seemed entirely possible. It’s really hard to believe that something could last more than 50 years and still be in this good of shape. The paint even looked original, and still held a shine. That’s amazing all by itself, because that Cay Coral wasn’t known for lasting very long. Plus, this car had the desirable 348-c.i. engine. Given all of this, it was one of the nicest cars in the sale.
This ’55 DeSoto Fireflite convertible was pretty stinkin’ sweet too. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen one of these in real life, which makes sense, because they only built 775 of them. This one has a 291-c.i. Hemi under the hood, and it was loaded with options like power windows and a power top. These were sure nice cars. Even the convertible top is cool, with its low profile and wraparound rear window treatment. It was bid up to $83,500 and didn’t sell. But it sure was impressive.
This is a weird one. It’s an AMC Gremlin, which is a little odd on its own. But what really puts it over the top is the condition. This car was recently restored, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that it is the nicest Gremlin I have ever seen. I am almost certain that it wasn’t this nice when it rolled out of the factory in 1971. It still had its 232-c.i. inline six under the hood, three-speed manual in the floor, and plain-Jane full wheel covers. But the undercarriage was so clean you could eat off of it. It sold for $18,000, which, I guess if you were a Gremlin fan, had to be a bargain.
And here’s another ride from the ‘70s that sold for exactly $18,000. This is a 1975 Pontiac Grandville Brougham convertible, and it was an absolute time capsule. Unlike the Gremlin, this one is all original. And I mean down to the tires. It only had 6,600 miles on it, and it showed. Even the original battery was sitting in the trunk. The trim rings had never been installed on the wheels. It had a little pitting around the chrome headlight bezels, but otherwise was perfect. Well, as perfect as a ’75 Pontiac ever was—you could fit your head through some of the door gaps on this car. Still, I thought it was pretty great, and would have loved to own it. Yes, I even liked it better than the world’s most spectacular Gremlin.
Of course, muscle cars are the stars here, so I really should tell you about some of the biggest. Ford made 96 1970 Twister edition Mustangs specifically for the Kansas City area. 48 of them were equipped with the 428-c.i. Cobra Jet engine. Two of those cars were at this auction. They sold for $140,000 and $130,000, making them the second and third highest-selling vehicles at the sale. They also had one of four 2008 Twister Special convertibles, which found a new owner at $55,000. This trio of Grabber Orange Mustangs not only brought a lot of money, but they were an interesting part of Kansas City’s automotive history.
You can tell I’m already missing the car show scene, because I took 870 pictures at this event.