The 7 biggest sales from Mecum’s Las Vegas auction
by Andrew Newton and Brandan Gillogly //
Mecum returned to Las Vegas for its second year of successful sales, in what may soon become one of the auction outfit’s premier events. Filling the list of highest-dollar sales are pre-war luxury cars from one collection that also contained some notable no-sales, including a 1939 Talbot-Lago T150-C Coupe at a $325K reported high bid, a 1934 Packard 1108 V-12 Sport Phaeton at $360K, and a 1938 Talbot-Lago T120 Roadster at $900K. The 2012 Bugatti Veyron on offer also failed to sell at $1.3M.
Although the Type 46 is one of Bugatti’s higher production models, only a handful are left. This example features fantastic attention to detail with crocodile-pattern seats and door panels. The Superprofile Coupes may be racier, but under the skin they’re the same as this Faux Cabriolet with its lanadau roof and upright windshield. Still in #1 (Concours) condition, Bonhams sold it in 2011 for $722,757.
The beautiful and gargantuan Model J is powered by a 420-cubic-inch, Lycoming-built straight-eight that produces 265 horsepower with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Its power and prestige made it the American counterpart to Bugatti.
We don’t have any recorded prior transactions for this car, which wears a much older restoration done in the ‘70s. It’s not a show winner as it sits, but still gorgeous. Some thought the big money brought by the SSJ in Pebble Beach would have raised prices for Duesenbergs across the board, but the SSJ was in a totally different price point and level of collectability so we don’t see that effect happening.
The dual-cowl bodywork of this phaeton not only offers rear seat passengers a second windshield, but an extended cowl, which pivots up for easy egress, and puts the windshield closer to their faces for actual wind protection The paint and chrome on this big drop-top are starting to show their age after a well-done 1980s restoration but this is still a gorgeous car if not exactly a show winner. We graded this as #2+ (Excellent) condition.
A true rival of Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benzes were often referred to as the “Adenauer” cars because of the West German Chancellor’s penchant for them. The W189 line, which used a fuel-injected M186 3.0-liter engine similar to the one found in the race-winning 300 SL, was praised for its technological advancement and handling.
Representing one of only 65 convertibles built and in #2- (Excellent) condition with some minor flaws in the paint and bodywork. Hammered not sold at a $100K high bid at RM’s Boca Raton auction way back in 2003, it had another no sale at a $240K in Monterey in August 2018.
The first year of E-body Plymouth also marked the first time Plymouth had officially acknowledged the Barracuda’s nickname as a trim level, with the ‘Cuda serving as the muscular variant of the wonderfully styled pony car. Of course none were more muscular or more revered than the Hemi ‘Cuda, with the 425-horsepower Hemi.
This Rallye Red coupe is a great example of the genre and we have seen it at auction several times over the course of its life. It sold at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale in 2006 for $192,500 before muscle car prices dropped significantly. After the market came back up it drew a $185K high bid at Mecum Anaheim in 2014 but did not sell. The following year at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale it sold for $101,200. This is a #2-/#3+ (Excellent/Good) price at current values.
In an attempt to revive its image, Pierce-Arrow developed a 462-cu-in V-12 engine with an uncharacteristic 80-degree bank angle and used it to power several Bonneville land speed cars with Ab Jenkins at the helm. Jenkins set dozens of records in 1933 and 1934, cementing the reputation of the V-12 just as Pierce-Arrow was bringing some if its Bonneville streamlining into the showroom. The original 1933 Silver Arrow was marketed as a look ahead to 1940, and although it was toned down for later models, the sloping roofline was surely even more striking in its day.
One of four Pierce-Arrows at this sale, all of which sold, this was by far the most desirable and most expensive of the bunch. A handful of small flaws aside, it’s still a showable car in #1-condition (Concours) even though it was restored in the 1990s.
Finished in striking two-tone lilac with scalloped front fenders, this rumble-seat drop-top retains its original chassis, bodywork, and engine. Ready to cruise to the country club with its 299-cubic-inch Lycoming straight-eight powering the front wheels, it includes its own set of vintage golf clubs accessible through their own door aft of the passenger door. Not only does it wear distinctive and hard to find Woodlite headlamps, but also has matching Woodlite cowl lights.
This car was restored 20 years ago by Lon Kruger but is still in perfect, #1-condition (Concours) and was definitely the star of the show in terms of how much attention it was getting and how many photographs were being taken of it. It was also positioned in the center of the red carpet for most of the week.