18 June 2015

Auction Preview: Mecum Denver 2015

Seven hundred vehicles from 15 states are expected to cross the block at Mecum’s first-ever Denver sale June 26-27 at the Colorado Convention Center. Although the auction is smaller and doesn’t have the variety of Mecum’s more-established Harrisburg sale that will be held a few days later, the inaugural Denver auction still offers plenty of neat choices. Here are five that we will be watching.

1969 Oldsmobile 4-4-2 Hurst
Hagerty Price Guide: $34,000 - $106,000

The 4-4-2 became its own separate model in 1968, and at the very top of the line was the Hurst/Olds, built in conjunction with transmission builder George Hurst. These cars featured 455/390-hp V-8s and special paint, which in 1969 was Firefrost Gold on Cameo White. Fewer than 1,000 were made, and Mecum’s example sports a 2007 body-off restoration and matching numbers. It also features air conditioning and a Tic-Toc-Tach. The past few years have seen a steady increase in values for a good Hurst/Olds, and this one certainly qualifies as good.

1967 Porsche 911 S Soft Window Targa
Hagerty Price Guide: $160,000 - $286,000

The Targa version of the 911 was first available in 1967, and in the beginning it was only offered with a soft plastic rear window instead of the solid glass that came on later cars. In addition, ’67  was only the second year for the powerful 911 S. Although those plastic rear windows are less practical and certainly make for a less-elegant silhouette on the classic 911, soft-window Targas are both rare and identifiable as the cars that inaugurated the Targa body style. That makes for a premium that among collectors translates to tens of thousands of dollars in value above a glass-window car. Mecum’s example is one of 483 911 S Targas built in 1967 and looks striking in Gulf Blue. There won’t be much in the way of German cars in Denver, so expect any and all Porsche fans in attendance to fixate on this car.

1996 Dodge Viper GTS
Hagerty Price Guide: $23,100 - $41,200

A mid-1990s Viper GTS in blue with white Le Mans stripes is a ‘90s icon. In its day, it was a world-beating performance car that would embarrass contemporary Corvettes and had impressive endurance racing credentials on both sides of the Atlantic. These are still mostly just used cars today and their value hasn’t done much in the collector market, but the time will come when these are highly coveted classics. Mecum’s example does have a few noticeable cosmetic modifications (taillights and hood vents), but these are reversible and the car boasts only 8,300 miles, making it an ideal future collectible.

1969 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Ram Air IV
Hagerty Price Guide: $122,000 - $253,000

The Ram Air IV Trans Am featured what was basically a detuned racing engine, and only 55 of them were built in 1969. Nine were coupes with the optional 3-speed auto, and two had column-mounted shifters. This one, finished in Cameo White with Blue stripes, is one of them. It was restored back in the 1990s but thoroughly sorted and refreshed again in 2010. In the world of muscle cars, rare options are everything, and a 1969 Trans Am Ram Air IV-equipped car is worth about $100,000 more than a Ram Air III version.

1963 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ-45
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A

Vintage Land Cruiser prices at auction, especially for shiny restored examples, exploded in recent years, and some particularly good FJs have even achieved six figures. FJ-mania does seem to be cooling a bit, however, as more and more of them come up for sale. What’s interesting about the red 1963 example offered by Mecum is that it is an FJ-45 from the first year of the model. It's a lot like the familiar FJ collectors have been shelling out so much money for, but it is a pickup body style. It's also fitted with a winch, so it will be interesting to see how the Denver bidders feel about an FJ that's usable utility vehicle than show car.

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