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Hyatt Regency Hotel & Spa, Monterey, 14-16 August 2014

Mecum auctions are “user friendly” and always fun places to be for the car enthusiast, not only is there a wide variety of machinery of almost every form of motoring genre imaginable, in all price ranges, but there is the relaxed atmosphere of the outdoor display areas, where one can wander and inspect cars at leisure, which is a complete contrast to the frantic banter in the brightly lit auction arena as the cars go across the block. Even for those not in the market for a purchase, the sheer variety of offerings, and the fact that it is a daytime auction, makes for a good day out at a “Car Show” at a very reasonable $20 per person entry fee, whilst parking is close by and free. When one considers the entry fee to some of the car shows during the Monterey week, this is a real bargain. Being sited at the Hyatt Regency Hotel & Spa at the Del Monte Golf Course, it is a little higher in elevation and further inland, so isn’t as prone to suffering from the coastal mist for so long each day, so the outside viewing could be enjoyed in warm sunshine.

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This was Mecum’s sixth Monterey auction, and comprised of 645 cars, vans and trucks, together with a selection of vintage and antique motorcycles, plus a wide variety of motoring ephemera, which Mecum very aptly and beautifully label as “Road Art”. Amongst the vehicles on offer were some real rarities and oddballs, like a 1952 Lazzarino Sports Prototype, a 1958 La Dawri Conquest and a Golden State Radiator Special, no, I hadn’t a clue what they were either! However, they weren’t all that obscure, and apart from a wide range of what one might describe as “more affordable” collector cars, there were a number of desirable Porsche variants in a wide price bracket, together with a selection of more what one could describe as “high end” collectables on offer. These included a Ferrari 375 MM Spider, chassis # 0362 AM, which had recently been united with a correct type engine for the model, but this didn’t achieve its reserve, although another Ferrari, a 250 GT S2 PF Cabriolet, chassis # 2441 GT, with only 5100 recorded kilometres, which had been in storage for 33 years until bought by the vendor in 2009, sold for $2,250,000, the highest figure at the auction. Running it close was a completely different beast, a thundering 1972 McLaren M20 Can-Am car, resplendent in its bright orange works livery as raced by Peter Revson during the 1972 season, which was hammered at $2 million. It wasn’t only post-war cars that achieved high figures, as the 3rd highest hammer price went to a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Berline Convertible, once owned by actor Tyrone Power, at $1,425,000.

This was Mecum’s highest-grossing Monterey auction to date, with total sales reaching $34,651,635 throughout the three-day event, and six of the cars in Saturday’s auction exceeded the $1 million figure. Motorcycles also achieved impressive results with a 1930 Indian Chief, the former property of Steve McQueen, hammered at $100,000, and a 1915 Indian 8 Valve Board Track Racer going for $70,000.

Top 10 Sales (Hammer Price)

1. Lot S181 - 1961 Ferrari 250 Series II Cabriolet $2,250,000
2. Lot S170 - 1972 McLaren M20 Can-Am  $2,000,000
3. Lot S206 - 1930 Duesenberg Model J Torpedo Berline Convertible $1,425,000
4. Lot S188 - 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing  $1,350,000 5. Lot S152 - 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing $1,075,000
6. Lot S173 - 1966 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster $1,000,000
7. Lot S146 - 1995 Porsche 962 K8 Spyder  $930,000
8. Lot S147 - 1968 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Convertible  $785,000 9. Lot S155 - 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Touring  $650,000 10. Lot S120 - 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition  $510,000

Keith Bluemel