Monday, April 29, 2013

Mecum Spring Auction is one of the best car shows in Kansas City

The Mecum Spring Auction in Kansas City obviously takes place so people can buy and sell cars.  But as far as I’m concerned, it has become one of the best car shows in Kansas City.  Here, you can see some really great, really unusual cars and trucks.  And since it comes in from all over the country, it’s not the same stuff you see at every other car show.  I just hope a lot of these vehicles were sold locally, because there are several of them that I’d love to look at again.

Take this 1955 Chrysler 300.  These cars were spectacular in the first place.  The fact that they were able to take a big ol’ bulbous car like this and make it look sporty and exotic was quite a trick.  But add to that the 354-c.i. Hemi V8 under the hood, and you had a potent  combination.  Even the interior had some great details, and stunning dashboard, and rich leather.  This car sold for $67,000, making it the ninth highest vehicle at the event.

This ’65 Chevelle SS convertible was a knockout too.  I have always loved this Evening Orchid paint color paired up with the white interior.  And this car was absolutely loaded.  Not only did it have the 300-hp 327 under the hood, but it had things like power windows, a wood steering wheel, and an uber-rare remote driver’s side mirror.  Interest was understandably high on this car, as it was bid up to $80,000.  That wasn’t enough to get it bought, though, and the seller took this pretty Chevy back home with him.

There were a number of extremely low mileage ‘70s cars in the mix at this event.  I love the mid-‘70s GM intermediates, and this ’75 Cutlass only had 4,500 original miles on the clock.  These were very popular cars in their day, and most of them were used hard.  But not this one.  Even that big 455-c.i. engine looked like brand new.  This car actually sold for $23,000, which is quite a bit more than it was when new. 

Another crazy low-mileage vehicle was this ’77 Ford F-250 pickup.  This baby had—brace yourself—875 original miles.  It’s really unusual to find an old workhorse truck like this that has never been used.  This one had a 351-c.i. V8 and the XLT package.  This is sort of a weird vehicle to know what to do with.  You probably wouldn’t want to use it, because you wouldn’t want to eliminate 36 years of preservation.  But it’s still a big, bright blue, utilitarian truck, so you wouldn’t want to build your living room shrine around it.  It was bid up to $21,000 and didn’t sell, so the guy that brought it to the auction is still the guy who will decide what to do with it.

This was far-and-away my dad’s favorite car at the auction.  It’s a ’52 Oldsmobile Super 88 convertible, and it really is a spectacular car.  That Royal Turquoise looks stunning over the red leather, and that black top with red edging really sets it all off.  That leather even smelled delicious.  I actually saw this car at a museum in San Diego last year, and at the time I wished my dad was there to see it.  So I’m really glad it was here.  When I saw it then, it had a rare, self-winding accessory clock in the steering wheel.  In Kansas City, the hole was there, but the clock was gone.  I hope the owner just removed it for safe-keeping, because I’d hate to think someone stole it.  This car sold for $62,500.

There were lots of Corvettes at this sale, but the one that really tripped my trigger was this ’69 convertible.  This car had the wow-factor just looking at it, but the excitement was more than just skin-deep.  It was an L88 car, but under the hood was a rare and valuable ZL1 427-c.i. engine.  The bidders obviously thought it was pretty special too, because they got it up to $185,000.  The seller thought it was even more special, because it ended up being a no-sale.

Here’s a really super little ’49 Mercury coupe.  These are the quintessential ‘50s custom, and this one had some perfect, period-correct mild touches.  The red and white pleated seats were great, the dual Appleton spotlights were great, and the three Stromberg 97s atop the flathead V8 were exactly right.  Plus, this car was just plain nice.  It was bid up to $47,500, but that wasn’t enough to find a new owner.  Heck, if it were mine, I’d keep it too.

When’s the last time you saw a 1951 Buick Special coupe?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, but here it is.  This is a body style that you’ll more commonly see on a Chevy or Oldsmobile, but it really works on this Buick.  I like these old Buicks, but sometimes they can look a little bloated.  This sporty little configuration slims it up.  It was only bid up to $8,000, which was understandably a no-sale.  I’m actually kind of surprised there wasn’t more interest in this car.

The top-five sellers were a 1936 Athens Fox BT fire truck that hammered for $125,000, a really nice ’58 Impala convertible that brought in $112,000, a stunning and original ’31 Cadillac roadster that also brought $112,000, an ’89 Lamborghini Countach that commanded $111,000, and a rare ’69 Oldsmobile Hurst 442 that brought a cool $100,000.

This is a pretty big slideshow—678 pictures.  You can see them below, or click on this link for a better version.

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