Mecum’s record-breaking Kissimmee event has been the talk of social media, message boards, and even the local shop where my buddy installed tires on my C10 last weekend. The main takeaway? “Did you see the (insert high-priced lot here)? Maybe I should sell mine!”
Over $217m in sales will do that to people. That’s a record for any single land auction, by the way.
I’m not immune to all this excitement, either. I’ve been tracking classic cars at auction for well over a decade now, and I still love to roll through to see what fantastic examples can do at auction — and what a powerful marketplace and a shiny paint job are capable of achieving.
This week, I rolled through all of the nearly 3,000 listings to flag what I thought were some of the most unbelievable prices achieved this year in Florida — and there were a bunch. We’ll have complete coverage in the next issue of Linkage, which goes to press in early February. In the meantime, I’ve rounded up five lots that we need to talk about here. So without further delay, here they are:
360-ci V8, nut-and-bolt resto, a/c and leather interior
Sold price: $154,000
Hold the touch-tone phone! Yes, the Wagoneer is hot, and the market’s current love affair with it is far from over. That said, this was a top-level price, and while I can’t ding the truck’s condition or presentation at all, I do think this was a little ahead of the market here. Just a little…
However, I think you’ll find that a restoration to this level is expensive, and there is a cottage industry of resto shops that only work on these things, and do them really, really well for lots and lots of money. These shops have waiting lists.
There are plenty of buyers for rigs of this caliber at this level, but before you go assuming that the ’86 under your neighbor’s tree is now a retirement plan, keep in mind what “nut and bolt” really means, and what the shop rate is in a specialty shop that really understands the ins and outs of the model AND can find all the NOS stuff required to set one of these right. Guess what — it’s not cheap.
Still, the average price for one of these luxo-Jeeps in above average shape is about $40k right now. Was this a $40k Jeep elsewhere? Of course not. But $154k is a new high-water mark. Do you think the seller is going to take a the money and build another one? Yep, so do I.
2.4L I4, 4×4. 5-speed. AM/FM radio. Carpet.
Sold price: $64,900
Nope, that’s not a typo. This Toyota sold for more than a brand-new Tacoma TRD Pro would right off any currently empty Toyota lot — with current supply-and-demand markup applied.
Why so much? 94 actual miles. That’s not a typo, either.
File this one under “impossible to find and therefore terribly expensive.” Nobody saved these things, so when you find one new in the wrapper, high prices are the result. This one was higher still thanks to the current market for 4x4s, Japanese rigs and ’90s collectibles. Mecum’s presentation of this rig couldn’t have been better, or come at a better time.
Of course, the problem with something like this is that its owner will never be able to really use it, as the value is completely tied up in its condition. But I suppose you could own two: This one and a look-alike with 200k miles that you found on Craigslist for $5k. They’ll drive the same.
350-ci V8, auto. 4×4. Silverado package. Power options.
Sold price: $46,750
OK, so SUVs are hot — particularly Blazers — and low-mile rigs are leading the pack.
But wait. This one had 97k miles. Yes, it was overall pretty nice inside and out (minus some surface rust on the chassis), and it’s claimed to have its original paint and interior, but that’s still a high price for a late Squarebody Blazer that’s about to roll that last digit of the odometer.
Trouble is, it’s not as much of an outlier as you might think. Part of this is the high price of new rigs clouding up the values of earlier versions, but while this is a high price, it’s likely repeatable, and I’ll let you decide for yourself if that’s a good thing or not.
This is a good reflection of the greater market here for these rigs, but don’t discount the impact that a high-profile event with televised coverage had on this deal.
389-ci V8, 4-bbl, auto. PHS docs, complete resto.
Sold price: $107,250
Last year in Kissimmee, Mecum sold a Tri-Power 4-speed GTO hardtop for $93,500. This one sold for more — but while it IS a convertible, it’s neither a 4-speed nor a Tri-Power car. What it does have is a great restoration and AACA Grand Champion status, as well as a relatively light 38k miles showing on the odometer, which may or may not be correct.
I get it — first-year GTOs aren’t that common, and there aren’t that many convertibles, either. But this is a good example of the current excitement in the market, and particularly in the muscle car market. If you didn’t already know, just about any legit muscle car with the right colors and with the right condition is worth more this year than it was last year — but while other examples of ’64 GTO convertibles sell for closer to $50k or $60k, here comes a great example at Mecum that doubles the number.
Great car, greater price.
LS3 V8, 4L60E auto, coilover suspension.
Sold price: $330,000
Of all the sales out of Mecum’s first sale of 2022, this is the one that I’ve heard about the most over the past week. Yes, that includes the Hirohata Merc, the F40, the McLaren and all the other seven-figure headliners. Why? Because it’s a truck, and trucks aren’t supposed to be this expensive. Right?
Well, before you go discounting this as “just a truck,” you’d better take a close look at the listing photos. This was a full custom job, done to the highest level, and it was done with the right parts. It was a 2019 Goodguys Truck of the Year finalist and it won the Builder’s Choice Award at the Goodguys Nationals that same year. It was also done up in a mild color scheme, which I think worked in its favor here.
It’s also a desirable shortbed from the most desirable era of classic GM trucks — and the market for classic trucks just doesn’t seem to want to slow down.
Could you build one for less? Probably. But you’d have to wait, and some people just don’t want to do that. All in all, this was a cross between the right look, the right parts, the right quality and the right model — along with the power of instant gratification. All that powered a serious payday.