Monday, December 9, 2013

Kansas City Mecum Collector Car Auction turns out to be a great car show

The joy of car shows is often a result of hanging out with friends and talking to people about your car.  But if you really like looking at other peoples’ cars, and aren’t as much into the social aspect, one of the best car shows in Kansas City turns up twice a year in Bartle Hall.  The December installment of the Kansas City Mecum auction was last weekend.  Where else can you see 700 cars, all in top, ready-to-sell condition, parked without the restrictions of ropes and stanchions?  From an automotive standpoint, there are few car shows that can top this around here. And if you bring your checkbook, every one of these vehicles has the potential to go home to the highest bidder.

Take a look at this 1960 Cadillac Coupe Deville.  ’60 was a pretty good year for Cadillac, because they still had that iconic long, wide look of the late ‘50s without the complete gaudiness of the ’59 models.  This very period color was called Persian Sand inside and out.  It takes some skill to make this much body work look this smooth, but the interior is what really set this car apart.  The combination of leather and button-tufted cloth was just gorgeous.  This car sold for $47,500.  That’s a lot of money, I suppose, but for as striking as this car is, I could think of worse ways to spend that much.

True to form, old Chevys tend to bring more money than Cadillacs, and this Impala convertible, the same year as that Coupe Deville above, found a new home at $58,000.  This black-over-red specimen was pretty, and it featured a 348 with three carburetors.  This car had power brakes, a power top, and duel radio antennas.  But don’t assume it was loaded.  Power steering wasn’t on the option list, and on a car as big and heavy as this one, you would notice it the first time you slid behind that iconic steering wheel.  This car had a pretty fresh restoration, though, so it’s unlikely that someone is going to drive it very much anytime soon.

If you were looking to spend a little less money, how about this ’55 Chrysler New Yorker four-door sedan.  This sold for only $11,750, and after looking at this car, I honestly think someone got a bargain.  OK, so these don’t bring the kind of money that a ’55 Bel Air commands, but if you’re really being objective, this is a better-built car than a Chevy.  The heavy doors slam shut like a vault.  It has enough chrome to scare small children, you can't go wrong with Twin-Tower taillights, and there is a 331-c.i. Hemi under the hood.  This car was claimed to have 56,500 miles, and there were no obvious indications that this was a false claim.

My dad’s favorite car was this ’55 Oldsmobile Super 88 two-door hardtop, and for good reason. In addition to just being a cool car, this example was as straight and original as they come.  I hate to use the word “patina” to describe old, worn-out paint, but that word applies here because everything was aged, but still nice.  Even the original interior was super clean.  I don’t think enough people realized what this car actually was.  It only sold for $18,000, and it was better than about half of the other cars that sold for more.  This car had been in the same family since new, and 58 years later, a new family will be getting something pretty special.

Just look at the lines on this ’40 Cadillac Club Coupe.  Could anything ever flow as beautifully as this?  It was both sporty and classy at the same time.  That Art Deco grille, the Bedford cloth seats, and the chrome and Lexan flying lady hood ornament were all exquisite.  These had a 346-c.i. V8 just like a modern NASCAR stock car.  Of course, it was a flathead, and only produced 150-hp.  This was one of only 1,322 ’40 Cadillac Club Coupes built, so the guy who bought this for $47,000 got a rare piece of history.

1957 Chrysler 300Cs had pretty nice lines too.  They were the perfect combination of brash tailfins and grille, paired with clean slab sides and minimal chrome.  They only made 1,918 of these “Forward Look” 300s in ’57, and this was a good one.  Yeah, it’s got a Hemi: 392-c.i. with two four-barrels.  The buttery Buckskin leather was rich and high-quality, and those Kelsey-Hayes Chrysler genuine wire wheels are hard to beat.  This was bid up to $44,000, but didn’t meet the reserve.  If it was mine, I probably would have kept it too.

The main feature car of this auction was this 9,300-mile, 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister Special.  It was one of three Twister Specials offered at the sale, and it definitely drew plenty of interest.  They made 96 of these for the Kansas City region in 1970.  The twister part was because of tornadoes … Kansas City … Kansas … Wizard of Oz.  Get it?  Anyway, this was one of only 48 Twister Specials with the 428-c.i. Super Cobra Jet engine.  The rarity was reflected in the price, as this car sold for a healthy $107,500.

There were tons of great cars to look at at this auction, and I didn’t skimp on the pictures.  See all 720 of them in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.

And if you’d like to see the complete list of cars and prices for the weekend, check out Mecum’s website.


  1. C,
    Another...............GREAT coverage.......sorry missed you and Dad,
    always enjoy a visit.

    Don -Basehor, Ks

  2. I totally agree with your assessment of the '55 Chrysler. What a bargain! Good thing I wasn't there... I might have done something foolish. Besides, my garage is already packed with Packards.

  3. Hey giarc, how much did that '57 Chevy golf cart go for?

    1. That was pretty neat! I don't think it was for sale. It looked like KC Auto Display had it there to travel around in the building.

  4. First time I went to one of these Mecum auctions. Definitely the best non-show car show I've ever been to.

    99% of the folks there were either there to sell a car or buy one. That meant no crowds at all away from the auction block.

    Best $20 I've ever spent to see cars and they had almost everything you could want.