9 December 2014

Auction Preview: Mecum’s 2014 Austin Sale

Mecum Auctions will wrap up a successful 2014 with its final event of the year, Dec. 12-13 at the Austin (Texas) Convention Center. Among the highlights are a 1967 Corvette convertible owned by astronaut Gus Grissom and one of the “Eleanor” movie cars from “Gone in 60 Seconds.” Of the 600 collector vehicles advertised, here are four to watch:

1969 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe 427/430
Lot S130
Hagerty Price Guide: $410,000-$735,000
Reported to be severely underrated at 430 hp, the L88 427-equipped Corvettes are some of the most sought-after cars of the muscle car era. Few were ordered since their street manners did not make for good daily drivers and the cost of the engine option alone was nearly 25 percent of the car’s base price. This exclusivity has made this model a very desirable collectible. While the value of later L88 cars hasn’t shot up as quickly as the ’67, the more-abundant C3 versions have appreciated rapidly and have more than doubled in value in less than two years. This highly documented example is advertised as having only 2,000 original miles. A car of this quality and desirability should give us an idea of the current top end of the market.

1967 Mercury Comet 202 2-Door Sedan 427/425
Lot S98
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
A small, stripped-down car with a big block V-8 under the hood makes for a great sleeper. Sounds like every bench racer’s dream hot rod project, doesn’t it? For a handful of Comet owners in 1967, this was a reality. Reportedly 22 Comet 202s left the factory with the R-Code 427 big block. “Rocket Ship” would be a more appropriate name than Comet. Advertised as one of six remaining, in all original condition and having just over 2,000 miles on the clock, a car like this is worth paying attention to. This particular car has previously crossed the block at Mecum and received bids as high as $175,000 without selling, so we’ll see what it’s capable of this time around.

1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO Coupe 427/425
Lot S95.1
Hagerty Price Guide: $101,000-$257,000
Using a loophole to get past GM’s 400-cid cap on midsize cars, a handful of lucky dealerships were able to use a Central Office Production Order (COPO) to have the massive 427-cid big block V-8 installed before delivery. While the cars delivered to Yenko Chevrolet are perhaps the best known and most sought after of these cars, plenty more made it to lesser-known dealerships across the country. Many of them looked like base-model cars on the outside, and it wasn’t until the car hit the road (or had the hood came up) that anyone could anyone tell the punch these cars carried. This car is a perfect example of the understated COPO Camaro, with painted steel wheels and a rather sparse interior. Carrying what is advertised as an experimental TH-400 automatic transmission and column shift, this one is very unique.

1967 Oldsmobile Toronado Coupe 425/385
Lot F300
Hagerty Price Guide: $8,800-$35,700
With front-wheel drive being the standard for automobiles today, it’s hard to comprehend just how revolutionary the Toronado was when it began rolling out of Oldsmobile factories in 1966. It was the first American-made front-wheel-drive car since the Cord 812. What is even more miraculous is that Oldsmobile managed to put so much power to the wheels that also do the steering. This is truly a milestone car that is often overlooked by collectors. For the power and comfort that Toronados offer, they are still a relatively good deal. Past sales do not indicate swift appreciation in the near future, although the car’s unique looks are sure to swiftly attract a crowd at a local show.

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