Top Corvettes Go Unsold at Mecum Kissimmee

Top Corvettes Go Unsold at Mecum Kissimmee

The “Real McCoy” $2.3M Sale Postponed During Dispute of Ownership on Parts

More than the weather failed to cooperate for the world’s largest collector car auction, Dana Mecum’s 2700 car Kissimmee event held January 17th through January 26th. Each year hundreds of Corvettes change hands during the ten day event as thousands of collectors and enthusiasts leave the cold weather blanketing most of the country and make their pilgrimage to the event in sunny, warm Florida. This year, though hundreds of airline flights were cancelled due to the weather, the pilgrimage still managed to take place even though the pilgrims were greeted with sunny but not very warm weather in Florida, the attendance slipped by over 6% and sales dropped by over $8M, down 11.4%.

Though the severe weather in the rest of the country was a contributor to the results, it was not the only problem this year for the world’s largest collector car auction. Though consignments were up by 140 cars to 2750, the number of cars sold fell by 2% from last year to 1759. As a result, the sell thru dipped from last year’s 70% to 64%.

Mecum did their usual exemplary job of promoting and marketing the consignments but even so, more than a few of the “featured” and “star” cars simply did not sell, not meeting their reserves. To illustrate, in a January 6, 2013, press release Mecum touts eight important featured consignments, five of them Corvettes. Of the eight cars featured in their press release only one of the eight sold.

1988 Corvette Callaway Sledgehammer
The five Corvettes promoted in Mecum’s press release were the main auction attraction Lot S132, the highly promoted 1956 Corvette SR Prototype, S148 a concours winning 1963 Corvette Z06 race car originally driven by Dick Lang, S153 a 1963 Corvette “Styling” car formerly owned by Mrs. Harley Earl, F259 the famous 1988 Corvette Callaway “Sledgehammer,” and S150.1 another pristine 1963 Corvette Z06. Add to those important cars another five of the most important Corvettes in the auction: three third generation L88’s, another 1963 Z06 and a 1967 L89 and you have, arguably, the top ten Corvettes of Mecum’s 2014 Kissimmee event.* Of these important and rare ten Corvettes only three of them sold. The main auction feature, the 1956 Corvette SR prototype, was hammered “sold” for over $2.3M but has been postponed due to third party claims of ownership of parts used in the restoration.
1963 Corvette Z06 Dick Lang Racer

Of course Mecum’s sell thru was higher for the entry level Corvettes that crossed the block earlier in the week, selling 232 of the almost 400 Corvettes offered during the ten day event and the sell thru of all Corvettes in the auction was 58%.

Several Mecum enthusiasts who had hoped to watch the Saturday auction live on TV were disappointed to find only two hours of live TV coverage were scheduled for the most important day of the auction. The two hours of live coverage that were broadcast on Saturday were the least important time of Saturday’s auction, not broadcasting live the most important attractions. More than a few loyal Mecum viewers lit up social media with their disappointment in the TV coverage and format this year.

1969 Corvette L88

Of course the main objective of an auction is to sell cars and no auction company is better at this than Dana Mecum and his team. He markets and promotes his star and feature cars on the internet, in his catalogs, in press releases and then actively tries to bring buyer and seller together on the selling floor during the auction, earning him the title of “The Dealmaker.” The biggest catalyst to a great auction is to have a balanced array of quality consignments that attract bidders, an area Mecum has excelled in prior years .

In addition to historic blue chip collectibles, one of Mecum’s unique strengths has always been to offer first time buyers a good assortment of entry level cars and as in the past Mecum once again came through. At the other end of the balance spectrum is to entice owners of rare and important cars to consign them to be sold. Hopefully consignors will put realistic reserves on their cars, not far above the market value. Unfortunately, though several cars got bids at or above the market value many still did not meet the consignor’s high reserves.

Mrs. Harley J. Earl 1963 Corvette Styling Car

In spite of the difficulties Mother Nature dished up for this year’s Kissimmee event, impressively over 1759 cars changed hands, 232 of those were Corvettes generating almost $12M which is a tribute to Mecum’s staff who work hard to stage the world’s largest collector car auction. Though the Saturday TV coverage was clearly an opportunity it had little to do with the sales performance; and knowing Mecum’s commitment to his loyal following it will be fixed in the future. Those that braved the weather and made the trip got to see some historic cars and enjoy one of the premier automobile events in the country.

* Top Ten Corvette Lot Results Mecum Kissimmee 2014

Lot Year Description Result High Bid
Corvette SR prototype 1956 Corvette SR prototype Postponed $2.3 M
Corvette Z06 Dick Lang Race Car 1963 Corvette Z06 Dick Lang Race Car No Sale $900,000
Callaway Sledgehammer 1988 Callaway Sledgehammer No Sale $600,000
Mrs. Earl Styling Corvette 1963 Mrs. Earl Styling Corvette No Sale $340,000
Corvette Z06 Tanker 1963 Corvette Z06 Tanker SOLD $475,000
Corvette Z06 Tanker 1963 Corvette Z06 Tanker No Sale $550,000
Corvette L88 1969 Corvette L88 No Sale $735,000
Corvette L88 1969 Corvette L88 SOLD $510,000
Corvette L88 1968 Corvette L88 SOLD $520,000
Corvette L88 1967 Corvette L89 No Sale $425,000

Mecum Auctions

The 1956 “Real McCoy” Corvette Sells for $2.3 Million at Mecum Kissimmee
Gus Grissom’s Corvette Sting Ray Will Be Offered at Mecum Kissimmee
Mrs. Harley J. Earl’s 1963 Corvette to be Offered at Mecum Kissimmee