Classic Car Watch
Before & After - Mecum Auction, Austin TX (Dec 2014)

NOTE: This column displays cars I have found on the Internet. I am not selling them. Please follow the links if you are interest in a car. Be mindful of the date this article was published. For an explanation why I do this read the original column here.

February 1, 2015
By Scott Lewis

Here we are with another Before & After of a Mecum Auction. This one came up suddenly (for me). I did not know Mecum had an auction in Austin. It may be new. And I only learned of it Thanksgiving weekend (just two weeks before). So I am going to keep this brief.

By brief I mean I am only go through the cars I liked before hand. No time to pick favorites and such.

As usual, I assume I have a $20K budget, and that must include everything (buyer's fee, sales tax, etc). I don't have time to go into that, just know there is an 8% buyers fee and there is 6.25% sales tax (I think for cars) in Texas. So let's keep it simple... assume $3000 for all that. So the most I could bid with a $20K budget it $17k.

Let's see the cars (in order of them going on the block):

1979 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta (Lot F22)


- 350 CI engine
- Second owner
- Believed to be 64,000 original miles
- New tires
- Updated R134 air conditioning
- Repainted GM Bright Blue Metallic in June 2011
- New rear brake pads, cylinders, radiator hoses,
- Replaced thermostat
- Chrome dual exhaust
- Bright upper and lower grille
- Body color sport mirrors
- Color-keyed aluminum wheels
- AM/FM stereo
- Rear window defroster
- Electric clock
- Front disc/rear drum brakes
- Power steering
- Contoured bucket seats

Pre-Auction Notes: A very plain Camaro. I would buy this cheap as a project car.

Results: Sold for $7,000

Post-Auction Comments: Had I been present at this auction with my typical $20K budget (to cover fees, buyer's premium & sales tax)... I probably would have bought this car. Then it would be a project car where I would put a bolt in Hotchkis suspension, Bear brakes, and maybe an LS engine swap. Cool!

1976 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (F37)


- 350 CI slightly modified V-8 engine
- 3-speed automatic transmission
- Factory air conditioning
- Factory Positraction
- Believed to be 46,000 original miles
- T-tops
- Nice paint
- Fresh top to bottom tune up

Pre-Auction Notes: The interior was rough, but I really like the main photo. I would like to inspect this car, and determine how high would go based on its condition.

Results: High Bid $9,000

Post-Auction Comments: Yea... I would have stop bidding due to the condition of the interior. It should have sold. The seller made a mistake not letting it go.

1989 Dodge Shelby Shadow Sport (Lot F60.1)


- #62 of 500 reworked by Shelby
- Autographed by Carroll Shelby on dash
- Shelby prepared turbocharged 2.2L 4-cylinder engine
- 5-speed transmission
- American Racing wheels
- Redesigned by Shelby American
- Power steering
- 4-wheel power disc brakes
- Red with Gray interior
- Air conditioning
- Shelby-branded seats
- Rear spoiler
- Believed to be 69,000 miles

Pre-Auction Notes: OK. So this is an odd-ball car. But it is a Shelby. The signature on the dash is pretty worn out... so much so that to me I would NOT consider it a feature of the car. Almost better to just wash what's left off. Sorry! Otherwise this is an oddity car I would consider bidding on and getting at a bargain price.

Results: Sold for $5,000

Post-Auction Comments: Yea... I could see having bought this car for this money. And at this price I would not feel bad washing the faded signature off the dash. Hey... I could even have bought BOTH this car and the Camaro above in the same $20K budget.

1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (F66)


6 Cylinder, Manual Trans, A/C

Pre-Auction Notes: Not enough pictures. Who put the V-8 emblem on the fender. Who are they kidding... with 4 bolt wheels still on it. Not exactly my favorite Mustang, but worth checking out and bidding on it to get a bargain.

Results: N/A

Post-Auction Comments: Seems this lot was removed from the auction.

1982 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (F70)


- 350/200 HP engine
- Automatic transmission
- Power steering and brakes
- Factory air conditioning
- Tilt and telescopic steering column
- Power windows and door locks
- Mirrored glass T-tops
- Polished aluminum wheels
- 1 of 1,667 two town silver blue and dark blue cars produced
- Believed to be 68,000 actual miles

Pre-Auction Notes: I love this color. So I am curious how this car will do. I would not bid too high on it.

Results: Sold for $12,000

Post-Auction Comments: This car looks good enough. I would be seriously tempted at this price. If the car looks as good in person as it does in the low resolution photos, and the A/C blows cold... I might have bought it.

1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (F84.1)


- Fresh restoration
- 289/225 HP engine
- 3-speed manual transmission
- Built at San Jose plant
- New interior
- New high dollar White paint & vinyl top
- New chrome & trim
- New mechanicals
- Same owner last 15 years

Pre-Auction Notes: Almost no info, but it looks nice. And it has a V-8.

Results: High Bid $22,000

Post-Auction Comments: The highlights were not on the web site when I made my pre-Auction comments. Seeing it afterwards I knew it would be way over my budget.

1966 Ford Mustang (F107)


- Virtually rust free
- Clean interior
- New pony seats
- New door panels
- Shelby wood and billet steering wheel
- New CD player
- New carpet
- New headliner and Shelby trim
- Shelby signature on glove box door

Pre-Auction Notes: This one looks like it will swoop past my $17K bidding limit pretty quickly.

Results: Pending

Post-Auction Comments: Pending? I think that means that it did not sell at the auction, but went on afterwards and a sale is pending for the car. So I will never know.

1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza Coupe (F113.1)


- Unrestored with 15 original miles
- The original window sticker is still intact
- Delivered new to Dunlop Chevrolet in Macon, Georgia and kept in inventory
          as part of their collection until 1980
- Formerly on display at the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History in
          Rosanky, Texas
- Matching numbers 164/110 HP engine
- 4-speed manual transmission
- Original paint and interior
- Glacier Blue with Blue vinyl interior
- Strato-bucket seats with headrests
- Wheel opening, roof drip and body sill moldings
- Delco push button radio
- Auxiliary lighting group
- Uniroyal Laredo tires
- Last year of production for the Corvair
- The original sticker price was $2,822.05

Pre-Auction Notes: This is here ONLY so I can look it up after the auction. It was at the April 2014 Auction in Houston and reach a bif of $29,000 but did not sell. I want to see if it does better or worse here.

Results: Sold for $13,000

Post-Auction Comments: Are you KIDDING Me?!?!? I would have totally bought this 15 original mile museum piece for $13,000. But the funny thing is the seller. What a douche bag. He turned down $29,000 back in April, and now lets it go for $13,000. Dummy! I'll bet his wife is kicking him even as I write this... and he deserves it. He should have taken the money in April.

1982 Chevrolet Corvette Collector Edition (F176)


- True Collector Edition
- Lifting rear hatch, a Corvette first
- Special wheels resembling 1967 bolt-on wheels
- Unique Silver Beige paint and decals, special Silver Beige multi-tone leather interior
- Gold tinted T-Tops
- 1 of 6,759 produced
- Believed to be 55,000 actual miles
- Power windows, locks, mirrors and seats
- Tilt and telescopic steering column
- Carfax history

Pre-Auction Notes: The first time I did a Before & After of a Mecum Auction I listed one of these Collector Corvettes, and it was in my budget and a likely purchase (had I gone). Let's see if the magic continues with this one.

Results: Sold for $16,000

Post-Auction Comments: This is a close one. When I did this exercise in July for Mecum's Houston auction I would have bought an 82 Collector Corvette for $13,500. Would I go another $2,500 here. It would depend on the condition. But considering the mileage... probably yes!

1980 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 (F210)


- Loaded with options
- 4-speed transmission
- T-Tops

Pre-Auction Notes: These are going up in price, and it is hard to tell what they will sell for.

Results: N/A

Post-Auction Comments: Seems this lot was removed from the auction.

1971 Chevrolet Camaro (F246)


- 350 CI engine bored .030 over
- Vortec heads
- Voodoo cam
- Demon carburetor
- Rebuilt Turbo 350 automatic transmission with shift kit
- Factory air conditioning
- Hotchkis suspension
- American Racing Torque Thrust II wheels
- New BF Goodrich tires
- Recent restoration

Pre-Auction Notes: I don't think this will fall within my $17K bidding budget. But I would like to know.

Results: Sold for $16,500

Post-Auction Comments: This is not an RS with a real split bumper. That being said, it did fall within my budget and I kind of like it. I would need to see this in person, especially since there were only 3 photos. So I can't say for sure I would have bought something like this. But I would have been interested.

1968 Oldsmobile 98 (F304)


- Original 455 CI Rocket engine bored .030 over
- Performance cam and intake
- Original White paint
- New interior
- New steering linkage
- New suspension including bushings
- Dual exhaust system
- New drum brakes
- Updated hidden stereo system with iPod capability
- New window seals
- Original rubber mats in trunk

Pre-Auction Notes: This is a wild card. I have a friend with a 69 Old 98 Convertible. I would like to buy his. I am curious how this car will do. And I could see going to an auction to pick up an odd-ball like this. I would love to see this car sell for around $10-12K.

Results: High Bid $8,500

Post-Auction Comments: A shame. I think it should have sold. Granted, if I had been there i probably would have gone a little higher, but not much.

1973 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (S51)


- Matching numbers LS4 454/275 HP engine
- Power steering
- Power brakes
- Tilt and telescopic steering column
- Power windows
- Rally wheels
- T-Tops
- Correct code 952 Yellow paint

Pre-Auction Notes: I would assume this car would soar past my $17k bid limit. But I want to know.

Results: Sold for $18,500

Post-Auction Comments: Oh so close. But just out of budget.

1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL (S146.1)


- Rare Silver and Blue exterior
- Clean CarFax
- Original window sticker
- Both tops
- Cold air conditioning
- Books and supplements
- Factory tool roll
- Chrome wheels

Pre-Auction Notes: I like these cars. It had a few nice pictures showing the silver paint and dark blue interior. A color combination I can get into. I would assume this car will definitely fall into the under $17K bidding range. However, it was listed pretty late in the auction around some expensive looking cars. It also had no description to go by (at the time I saw it). Is there something I need to know before bidding starts? Well, we will see if this car is something I could get into bidding on.

Results: Sold for $30,000

Post-Auction Comments: WHAT??? These cars aren't worth that much. Well, not to me anyway.

1972 Ford Maverick (S182)


- 302 CI engine bored to 347 CI
- 9 inch rear end
- 3.89 True-Trac all gear Positraction
- Edelbrock aluminum rpm heads
- Air gap intake, forged crank, rods and pistons
- Isky hydraulic roller cam
- Ford Racing rocker covers
- Coyles timing chain
- Trans carbon Kavalar clutches
- 3-speed automatic transmission
- Custom wheels and tires
- Period correct restoration
- White paint with period correct Grabber striping
- Period correct Brown interior and carpet
- New exhaust
- New glass
- New headliner
- New rings, gaskets, and valves
- New fuel pump and filter
- New gas tank
- New radiator
- New hoses
- New belts
- New plugs, points and plug wires
- New chrome bumpers

Pre-Auction Notes: VERY CURIOUS. This looks like a clear Grabber Maverick from the outside. Pop the hood and it looks like a clean, well done hot rod. And the description mentions plenty of hot rod equipment. But what would it really go for. I could see owning a car like this. But could it be bought for a price I would live with. I'll find out after the auction.

Results: Sold for $19,500

Post-Auction Comments: Too rich for my blood.


Well... there you have it... 15 cars I was interested in before the auction. 4 were outside my budget, 2 were not available at the auction, 1 was listed as pending, and 1 that didn't sell but was still in my price range. That leaves 8 cars I could have walked away with. Not bad.

The 15 mile Corvair was the huge surprise. I really wish I could have been there for that. That was a fluke.

Even beyond that there were 3 cars I would have seriously bid on, and would have taken home. Since the cars went in a specific order... I would have come home with the 78 Camaro. If I passed on it one of the 2 82 Corvettes would have won me over.

Let's also take a quick look at some cars I did not list before hand, but based on there result would I have gotten "caught up in the moment."

Lot F4 - 1973 Charger, 318, sold for $10,000 - Worth considering for as a Mopar project car.
Lot F10 - 1964 Malibu, 283, some aftermarket parts, sold for $11,000 - Another possible project car.
Lot F11 - 1972 Buick GS, 455, bench seat, sold for $12,500 - Why Not!!!
Lot F18 - 1989 BMW 636CSi, very clean looking, sold for $10,000 - Absolutely, I would have bid on this.
Lot F30 - 1990 Miata, red, automatic, 12K original miles, sold for $8,500 - Sure, even though it is an automatic.
Lot F72 - 1994 Nissan 300ZX, auto, believed to be 22k miles, sold for $7,750 - Maybe!!!
Lot F180.1 - 1970 El Camino, crate engine, A/C, very nice looking, sold for $13,500 - I would be very interested.
Lot F247 - 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger, 340, 4 speed, sold for $15,000 - saw this live on TV... I would have bought it.
Lot S4 - 1963 Thunderbird, power windows, decent looking, sold for $6,000 - Why Not!

So... this answers the question. Can you get a decent classic with a budget of $20K at a large auction? Even accounting for bidder's registration fee, buyer's premium and sales tax... Yes You Can!!!

So you at the next Texas Mecum Auction