Dana Mecum’s spectacular annual Spring Indy Auction is now history and though the auction set pricing records with two Mustangs that sold for over a million dollars each, it was more of a “mixed bag” when it came to Corvettes.
It was really no surprise to see the 200 quality Corvettes Mecum uncovered and offered for sale just prior to his Bloomington Gold Events which is totally Corvette focused. And it was the quality level of Corvettes which accounted for the good and bad news.
The quality of the cars accounted for a 25% increase in the average price paid for a Corvette this year on $6.6 million dollars in sales. That’s the good news, the bad is if you are looking for a bargain in early generation cars they will be difficult to find. But there were more stories to Mecum’s 26th annual Indianapolis Spring Auction other than the 200 Corvettes that crossed the block from May 14th through the 19th.
The first surprise was there was only a 55% Corvette sell through, only 110 of the 200 Corvettes that crossed the block were hammered down as sold, selling almost 25% fewer Corvettes than the year before. But perhaps that is the result of the owners’ high reserves placed on their cars based on over-optimistic expectations on the prices their cars would bring in light of the improving economy and recent market trends.
It was the outstanding second generation cars and restomods which carried the Corvette category of the auction. The 2013 average price for second generation Corvettes jumped a staggering 63% to almost $105K versus the 2012 average price of almost $65K. And even when prices have been adjusted (removing the “museum cars” which sell for prices which distort the averages) the C2’s amazingly jumped 35% to almost $87K. And owners of these highly desirable C2’s were holding out to get the highest possible prices, sometimes in light of the high offer was considerably higher than similar cars sold in past auctions.
As an example one of the lots, a 1967 427 4-speed with several prestigious awards failed to meet the owner’s reserve even though the high bid exceeded $225K. In 2009 a very comparable car was sold for $137K.
Further evidence of the strength of the early generation sales was two second generation cars made it to the top ten of all sales, a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 427/400 HP (Lot F197) crossed the block at $610K, just behind the 2 million dollar Mustangs. The number eight seller was a 1963 split window coupe (Lot F199) which was hammered down at $240K. A first generation 1953 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster (Lot S150.1) was number seven in the auction selling for $250K.
Third generation cars were weak in the 2013 Indy event, the average price actually fell 22% and there were 37% fewer C3’s hammered down than in 2012. Though it appears the third generation cars are currently soft the drop appears to be more indicative of the overall quality level of the C3’s offered this year. The fourth generation prices held almost exactly the same as last year with the average price coming in at a little over $17K, but keep in mind that almost half the C4’s were ZR1’s which consistently sold for about $20K. Few fifth and sixth generation cars were offered.
This year’s auction showcased and sold five high quality restomod Corvettes. This category alone accounted for $722K and a silver 1967 convertible with a C6 ZR1 suspension and a 525 HP LS3 crate engine was sold for $210K. This category continues to show strength in the auction market and offer the buyer the ability to cruise in comfort with modern amenities upgraded performance but the question remains about the long term investment value of these cars.
So that is the “good, the bad, and the ugly” for Corvette enthusiasts at Dana Mecum’s 26th Original Spring Classic. If you are one of the lucky enthusiasts who happens to own a C2, if it needs some money spent on it, go for it, from what took place in Indianapolis it would appear it is only an investment.
And if you love automobiles you would have appreciated the other great cars at the auction, even though the “hype” over the restomod Mustang, “Eleanor”, and the 1967 Shelby GT500 “Super Snake” may have overshadowed some equally significant cars being offered. The next auction on Mecum’s busy annual event calendar is the Bloomington Gold Auction which starts June 29th in Champaign, Illinois. It is hard to imagine that Mecum will be able to improve the Corvette offerings at the Bloomington Gold event over the Spring event, but if you know anything about Dana Mecum you know he will.
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