Only three single collector car auctions have eclipsed $200M in total sales. Two of them are Mecum Kissimmee 2022 and Mecum Kissimmee 2023. More consignments (over 4000) and a higher average price, but also a lower sell-through rate and more mixed results for cars that were less-than-perfect. Below, we take a look at one of the highlight lots, and further down are more detailed summaries of the other most interesting cars from the biggest auction of the year (even though it is only January).
It’s always nice to have choice when you’re shopping, and the world’s largest collector car auction certainly delivered this year. Take a look at these numbers: 211 Camaros, 119 Chevelles, 60 Pontiac GTOs, 43 Porsche 911s, 23 Hemi Mopars, 16 Boss Mustangs and five genuine Shelby Cobras, all among the 4000 vehicles to cross the auction block over the past 12 days. Consignments ranged from bad (like this 1987 Renault Alliance) to badass (like this Ford GT40) and from weird (like Elvis’s rickety old airplane) to wonderful (like this handsome Chrysler Ghia ST Special).
We’ll be crunching numbers and sorting out trends from Mecum’s Kissimmee mega-sale and the Scottsdale auctions in the coming weeks, but Kissimmee’s immediate aftermath does offer one clear theme: despite the market’s recent cooling, demand for top-tier American muscle, even from long-defunct brands like Pontiac and Plymouth, is still high and records are still breaking. One such record was the $1.43M price for a Hemi-powered 4-speed Dodge Charger Daytona, the same car David Spade bought for $900k in 2015. One of 19 Mopar Wing cars (Plymouth Superbirds and Dodge Daytonas) offered in Kissimmee this year, it broke a record for the model set just last May when the market was still accelerating.
Even more remarkable, though, was this 1970 GTO convertible. At $1.1M, it’s one of the most expensive muscle cars ever sold at auction and the most expensive GTO, period. Well, Pontiac GTO, anyway.
This Orbit Orange drop top was the star of a nine-car collection that consisted of nothing but Ram Air IV Goats. And for Pontiac folks, IV is a magic number. “Ram Air” designated the hot 400 cid V8s in Pontiac’s GTO and Firebird starting in ’67, followed by an improved Ram Air II in ’68, and then a Ram Air III in ’69-70. Then, the IV took things furthest in 1969 with redesigned intake ports and special aluminum intake. The 1970 Ram Air IV engine nominally posted just four ponies more than the Ram Air III (370 hp vs. 366), but it was almost certainly underrated on purpose.
A Ram Air IV was the fastest GTO you could buy in 1970 as well as the most expensive, so few were built. The orange record setter is one of just seven convertibles fitted with an automatic (another ten cars got a four-speed manual). It’s also a Judge, which, if you’re not old enough to have been watching TV half a century ago, was a package named after a skit on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. GTO Judges came with a Ram Air 400 engine, Rally II wheels, Hurst T-handle shifter, a rear spoiler, and of course, those graphics. Other options on this car include a Formula steering wheel, hood tach and tinted glass. What truly got the muscle car maniacs—and bidders— oohing and aahing is its triple threat of Ram Air IV engine, Judge package, and convertible body style.
In addition to its gotta-have-it specs, it was reportedly used as a factory exhibition car, and eventually received a restoration good enough to win several concours awards in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The condition #1 (concours) value for a 1970 Ram Air IV GTO Convertible in the Hagerty Price Guide is $562,000, and others have sold in the past for big money, including one for $682,000 back in 2010. But $1.1M is nearly twice that #1 value.
The eight other Ram Air IVs out of this collection (all coupes) had estimates near or under $300k, but Mecum perhaps wisely didn’t put an estimate on this convertible. Only one Pontiac has sold for seven figures before, and that was the 1954 Bonneville Special, a one-off Motorama concept car, that brought $3.3M in 2015. In the world of muscle cars, meanwhile, seven-figure price tags are usually reserved for Hemi Cuda convertibles, ZL1 Camaros, or movie star Mustangs. Not anymore.
We’ll be taking a closer look at more of the most interesting cars from Mecum Kissimmee 2023 later in the week, so keep an eye on this space.
Keep scrolling for detailed looks at more of the most interesting cars from Kissimmee 2023.
There was a nice looking 63 E-type ots that sold for very low 100s and some soft C3 vettes.
The televised version of Mecum’s was fine to watch. In person they are loud and obnoxious.
I agree, noise level inside is way too high even with earplugs. Selection this year was incredible, but the “Mecum difference” results in what to me are prices over the general market for the same car.
The usual “more money than brains” attendees. I guess I didn’t hit the lottery or I’d be there with them.
Lesson from an old friend: NEVER buy a car in a building or a tent, I.E. An auction ! Hype and buyers fee put you over the top.
There were 5 Mercury Cougars sold the 2 big blocks brought $176,000 and $88,000 while the 351 was $71,500 and the others were $27,500. This interested me as I have a 1970 base coupe that started life with a 351. It now has a 428 SCJ from an Eliminator. So I find this interesting as mine is in great shape (no rust and all original panels) great 10 year old paint job.
Interesting individual muscle cars sales highlights but not a single word in your recap of whether the market is going up…sure looks like it…or taken on the whole of sales… failed to meet 2022 levels across the board. As a Classic Collector..57 TBird, Eldorado Brougham, Mark II, Edsel convertibles, 1976 Caddy Eldorado Convertible, 1962 Chrysler Imperial Crown Convertible etc…nothing in your article suggests a direction in values.
I’m not a convertible guy but I like the GTO’s color.
I attended for just one day as I went to pick up road art I bought. That visit, along with tracking on line, gave me the impression that prices were all over and certain bargains were had. But while rare, highly desirable muscle still brought big dollars, less exotic versions were not seeing record highs. Look in the no sale list and there appears to still be a spread between what sellers are asking and buyers are willing to pay. My guess is we’ll see more of that in the coming months.
Will there be a list of cars sold at that Florida auction along with price sold for?
Go to Mecum.com and sign up. Then you can search any of their auctions or specific models any many auctions. Good luck looking at the 4200 from Kissimmee
If you register on the Mecum website (it’s free) you’ll be able to look at results for all auctions. The price shown for each vehicle that sold will be the hammer price plus the 10% Buyer’s Premium.
C3 Corvettes seemed to be down by 20 percent
Nice article, but not a word about Corvettes? I believe there were about 400 at the auction and when talking about big buck muscle cars, not a word about L88 or ZL1 Corvettes. Strange.
Hi ChiagoGas nice to see you on here!
Hagerty is not doing well on the insurance for corvettes this year so they basically dropped them from coverage in the articles – which is really hard to believe with all the E-ray and related corvette info that has been out in the past 30 days.
l’m surprised I didn’t see any older Fords 32 to 56. So not too diverse to me
I don’t understand spending all that money for a car you won’t even drive! These people have way too much money to make sensible purchases!
Mecum is a great time! I’ve not bought anything there, but I enjoy going every year to multiple auctions with a friend of mine. Lots of fun reminiscing and looking at the cars/spectacle. We spend 75% of our time walking and looking at cars and not in the auction.
it seems that we are of the wrong generation
stupid prices for a lot of cars , good news for me as a seller .