The calendar of in-person auctions took quite a hit over the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Mecum’s 2022 sale in Kissimmee, Florida, brought many enthusiastic buyers to gobble up a bevy of collectibles. Records were set and the sell-through rate shot sky-high as the rush of bidding took over. Our valuation specialists were abuzz when they returned from The Sunshine State. From lowest to highest, here are seven of the biggest sales that had us talking around the proverbial watercooler—in our digital age, the designated Slack channels.
1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS convertible
Sold for: $220,000
Short of a COPO car like a Yenko or a ZL-1 or an early Z/28, a big-block 1969 RS/SS is pretty much the peak of Camaro collectibility, and if you’re a fan of droptops then it really doesn’t get much better. This hockey-striped convertible proved irresistible to bidders as it climbed far beyond the model’s $150,000 #1 (Concours) condition value thanks to its unrestored status. With just 36,430 miles on the odometer and a numbers-matching powertrain, it must be among the most highly optioned 1969 Camaros in this kind of condition. For some collectors, even the best restoration is no match for a survivor. As the saying goes, “It’s only original once.”
1919 Dodge Model 30 from It’s A Wonderful Life
Sold for: $522,500
George Bailey contemplated suicide when Uncle Billy lost an $8000 bank deposit in It’s A Wonderful Life. Fortunately, George’s wife, Mary, and the grateful citizens of Bedford Falls, New York, pooled their money and bailed the local hero out of trouble, and that 1946 Frank Capra film eventually became one of the most beloved movies of all time. Little did George know that the answer to his prayers was right under his nose. The dilapidated 1919 Dodge Brothers Model 30 Touring car that a distraught and inebriated George crashed into his neighbors’ tree fetched a whopping $522,500 last weekend. How crazy is that price? A similar 1919 Dodge sold for $8125 at auction in 2020.
The owner of the George Bailey car, Keith Smith, tells us that he and his wife are going to use the proceeds to fund his grandchildren’s college educations. “It’s one of the biggest investments we’ve ever made, but it has also been the most inspiring thing we’ve ever done, besides getting married.”
The dash of the “George Bailey car” still wears a small, circular brass tag with the number 789, which identifies it as a Twentieth Century-Fox movie prop. The Smiths have used the Dodge to raise money for military veterans in need, and they hope that the new owner will continue to share it with the public.
1967 Shelby Mustang GT500
Sold for: $374,000
A full restoration in 2007 has this 428-powered pony shining brightly, as it has garnered several show awards, including division wins at the Shelby American Automobile Club in 2014 and 2015. Its sale at Kissimmee was still remarkable, however, because the hammer price rose nearly 40 percent over a ’67 GT500’s top, #1-condition value of $296,000. This one does have a great color combo, with a Nightmist Bue exterior featuring Wimbledon White stripes and a Parchment interior, and it’s got all of the must-have performance options as well, including a four-speed gearbox, power steering, power brakes, and an upgraded cooling system. Time will tell whether this Kissimmee sale was an anomaly or a harbinger of rising values.
2017 McLaren 570S Spider
Sold for: $440,000
When the 570S appeared, it marked a new page for McLaren. The model, which debuted in 2016, ushered in the brand’s Sports Series and brought the opportunity to add volume and target a wider audience that still craved exotic, mid-engine performance. With swoopy lines, a carbon-fiber chassis, and a twin-turbo V-8 that packed 562 hp, the 570S was everything that you’d expect from a Woking supercar. A folding-top Spider came in 2017. This nicely equipped example wears McLaren Orange paint and trickles some of that color into the interior, where the bright hue spices up the black Alcantara upholstery.
Despite its low mileage and fabulous color combo, this result had some collectors scratching their heads, since a 570S frequently changes hands for significantly less—and stickered for $184,900 when new. A 2018 Spider, also from Kissimmee, with fewer than 1400 miles on the odometer, sold for $275,000.
1936 White Model 706
Sold for: $1,430,000
Around 500 examples of this open-top 17-seater were built for use in U.S. National Parks, and this one, #363, originally saw service at Yellowstone before making its way west to shuttle tourists around Glacier. That’s where it received a striking red paint job to match the local Mountain ash berry. Restored to its Glacier National Park glory in the “Reds” livery with tan interior and tan canvas rollback top, the combo is fetching. However, when this very same shuttle sold for $450,500 at RM Sotheby’s Elkhart auction just 15 months ago, many in attendance thought it was well sold, so it was quite a shock when the price more than tripled less than 15 months later. Still, it’s a rare piece of Americana that’s literally a piece of Glacier National Park history. Don’t tell Yellowstone, but we prefer this version to the school-bus-yellow original.
1992 Ferrari F40
Sold for: $2,750,000
While F40s have seen a stratospheric rise in value over the last four months, this sale was still significantly above the model’s #1-condition value of $2.6M. Hagerty valuation specialist Colin Comer notes that sales in Monterey in the fall of 2021 rewrote the book on the F40 market, but this Euro-spec example might spur yet another correction. With 8732 miles (actually 14,053 kilometers) shown, mileage is not as shockingly low as you might expect for such a high purchase point. On top of that, Euro-spec versions tend to bring much less than a U.S.-spec model. In this car’s favor, however, is a meticulous record of its previous owners and all of its original documents, tool kit, and factory exhaust, which has since been upgraded to a Tubi Style system.
1965 Shelby GT350R Prototype
Sold for: $3,750,000
When it comes to Shelby Mustangs, it’s tough to beat the illustrious list of drivers and accomplishments trailed by this single car. This GT350R prototype, serial number SFM5R002, was not only the original GT350R prototype, but it was piloted by legendary racers Ken Miles, Bob Bondurant, Jerry Titus, Chuck Cantwell, and Peter Brock. It also lays claim to the title of first Shelby Mustang to capture a win in a sanctioned race, when Ken Miles entered it into competition at Green Valley Raceway in Smithfield, Texas, on Valentine’s Day, 1965. A photo of Miles whipping the pony car over a rise during a race, all four wheels in the air, became a Shelby advertising goldmine. The car would go on to rack up B-Production wins in SCCA and helped Jerry Titus take the driver championship (he went on to race a different car later in the season).
After a meticulous restoration by John Brown of Thoroughbred Restorations in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, s/n SFM5R002 has taken numerous show wins including a Best in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2015. Back in 2020, it sold for a record $3.85M.
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Sure looks like inflation has boosted values. I’m predicting a fall in values once interest rates rise and real estate falls