Auction Preview: Mecum’s 2015 Kansas City Sale
On April 23-25, Mecum will hold its annual sale in Kansas City, Mo., where 700 collector vehicles will be crossing the block at the Kansas City Convention Center. This is Mecum’s big warm up before their huge sale in Indianapolis next month, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of prime collector cars to choose from in Kansas City. As usual, it’s tough to pick only a few cars to highlight from such a long list of good consignments, but here are five that have caught our attention.
1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister Special
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
The number of equipment choices and special editions available for the Mustang back in 1969 was dizzying, and there are some that even self-professed Ford enthusiasts have forgotten. Some of these special editions are made even more obscure by the fact that they were region-specific. The Twister, for example, was sold to Ford dealers in Kansas to boost sales there. Twister Mustangs were Mach 1s painted in Grabber Orange. The cars debuted at a promotional event at Kansas City Raceway, and though all of them were supposed to be R-code 428 Super Cobra Jet Drag Pack cars with 3.91:1 Traction-Lok differentials, a shortage of the engines meant that the last half of the batch of 96 built in 1969 received 351 Cleveland engines. Mecum’s example is the 30th car built, and not only is it one of 48 of the 428 Twister Specials built, it is also one of only 24 of those that is equipped with a 4-speed. As usual, Mecum has a lot of Mustangs to see in Kansas City, but this car is the one to look out for.
1963 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside Pickup
Hagerty Price Guide: N/A
Many people today only remember the compact Corvair or the sportier versions like the Monza or Corsa, but there were utilitarian versions as well. Chevrolet built Corvair station wagons, vans and even pickups. Compared to normal Corvairs, the pickup had the seats moved further forward over the front wheels, the wheelbase shortened, and either “Loadside” or “Rampside” body styles. The Rampside featured a bottom-hinged door at the bottom of the right side of the bed, so loads could be rolled into the bed instead of lifted. Mecum’s very pretty example is represented as having covered just 900 miles since restoration and is equipped with the optional, desirable 4-speed. Of all the designs to choose from in the growing classic truck market, the Corvair Rampside is one of the most fascinating
12,915 of these Skyliner retractables were built, and they featured a model-specific frame that combined the heavier-duty construction of their Sunliner convertible stablemates with an extended rear frame and extended rear quarter panels to make room for the roof when retracted. Mecum’s 1959 example is a fresh body-off restoration represented with just 400 miles since the work was completed. Equipped with power steering and power brakes and finished in that oh-so 1950s color combination of Indian Turquoise and Colonial White, it’s a piece of Americana that’s usable as well as collectible.
For 1969, Ford introduced the Cobra as a submodel for its already popular Torino. It was fitted with the 428 Cobra Jet V-8 and many of the ones you see today feature the SportsRoof body style. Mecum’s example, however, is a regular hardtop. That body style is rarer, but the SportsRoof is more representative of the car and arguably more attractive, so it will be interesting to see how this car does with bidders in the room.
These 1980s turbocharged Regals embodied the term “sleeper,” and they are only going to increase in value. More than a few of these cars were driven hard and driven a lot, and they aren’t really old enough or valuable enough yet to warrant full restorations. Mecum’s one-owner Grand National with 36,000 miles on it is therefore the ideal car for someone looking to put a Grand National in his collection, and will likely bring something close to the higher end of the price spectrum. After Barrett-Jackson sold an example of the rarer, hotter Buick GNX last weekend for a world record $165,000, this Grand National will be a car to watch.