While perusing the results from Mecum’s Spring Classic Auction in Indianapolis we noticed that the top Corvette sales price was actually just the 13th highest bid placed on a Corvette at that event. Meaning 12 other cars were bid higher than the $198,000 quadruple blue 1967 convertible which topped the Indy Corvette sales yet did not sell. We don’t recall seeing a disparity like this before so promptly we dove headfirst into the rabbit hole of auction results.
We all know that cars don’t sell at auctions for any number of reasons. It could simply be that the owner wasn’t quite ready to part with the car. It could also be that the money just wasn’t in the room at the time when the car crossed the block. Then it could be the lure of good old-fashioned money and an owner refusing to sell lower than what they want to. Maybe we’re starting to see a softening of the market? Any way you cut it, Mecum Indy had a wide variety of high-priced Corvettes that failed to met reserve.
The most notable no-sale was The Ultimate 1967 L88 which failed to change hands at $3.2 million. Now, valuing a car like that is next to impossible, but we suspect there was very little chance this car was finding a new garage regardless of where the final bid landed. Could the owner just have been fishing to see what the market would bear? Who knows, but odds are we’ll see it show up at another auction again in the future.
Speaking of appearing at multiple auctions, the 2nd and 3rd highest no-sales have been traveling the country almost as long as Guns and Roses’ last tour. The first production 1967 L88 failed to sell once again after a $1.9 million dollar bid. In January of this year, it was bid to $1.8 million at Mecum Kissimmee. As far back as 2010, it sold for $1.25 million at Mecum Monterrey. We think the market has spoken on this and the owner needs to just let go.
The 3rd highest no sale at Mecum Indy was the 1969 L88 pair. These 2 L88’s have been traveling as a duo for a year now with high bids of $725k in Indy 2020, $725k in Glendale 2020, and $700k at Indy 2019. Prior to that, they’ve been offered separately for the last couple of years. The green car’s previous high bid was $500k at Dallas 2018, Indy 2016, and Monterey 2016. Meanwhile, the white car looks to have last sold at Monterrey 2018 for $451k. Its recent no-sale high bids have been $400k at Mecum Chicago and Kissimmee in 2019 and $325k at Monterrey 2019. Again, the market has clearly spoken about these cars. It’s time to cut them loose and move on.
Next up we see the famous ex-Chip Miller and Ed Foss white 1969 L88. It failed to sell at $675k. This particular car has been for sale on eBay and other sites for over $1 million for a while now. When was the last time you actually saw a C3 L88 sell for over a million bucks? Even though this L88 is among the best of the best, that $675k in Indy last month is probably as good as it’s going to get.
Backing up and taking a higher-level look at the “Not Top-12” from Mecum Indy we only see cars from the first 3 generations and we only see 2 restomods. The remainder are factory stock plus the 1 racer. The factory-correct cars are all highly decorated with NCRS, Bloomington, and MCACN awards and represent some of the top Corvettes currently on the market. In any case, it will be interesting to see if they show up at future auctions and whether or not they find new homes.
So, what are seeing here? Is this the beginning of a market trend? Clearly, the L88 market has started to drop from its heyday a few years ago. Has Covid-19 started to influence the collector car market? Another thing to watch here could be restomod market. Maybe it’s starting to impact the factory-correct world? Wouldn’t you rather have $300k car with classic looks and modern amenities instead of a $300k car on bias-ply tires that comparatively drives like a dump truck? When it comes to auctions, the savvy bidders will always know what they’re looking at are willing to pay. So, when you see the same cars over and over, bidding to roughly the same numbers, that should be a clue. We’ll keep an eye on things as the live auctions continue to return later this year. In the meantime, you can head over to the Mecum website and sift through the data like we did.
Here’s a closer look at the Top 12 no sales from Mecum Indy 2020 and their respective high bids.
1. Lot #F156 “The Ultimate” 1967 Corvette L88 Convertible
2. Lot #S140 “The First” 1967 Corvette L88 Convertible – $1,900,000
3. Lot #F123 1969 Corvette L88 Pair – $700,000
4. Lot #K122 1969 Corvette L88 Convertible – $675,000
5. Lot #S148 1955 Corvette Roadster VIN 002 – $500,000
6. Lot #K107 1965 Corvette Fuelie Convertible – $425,000
7. Lot #S176 1968 Corvette L88 Coupe – $375,000
8. Lot #S154 1967 Corvette L71 Coupe – $310,000
9. Lot #S155 1967 L71 Convertible – $300,000
10. Lot #S106 1958 Corvette Restomod – $270,000
11. Lot #S156 1967 Corvette L71 Convertible – $200,000
12. Lot #S190 1961 Corvette Restomod – $200,000