Friday, November 22, 2013

Recent Classic Car Auction Yields Disappointing Results - Is it a sign of trouble?

I've always been a fan of the classic Corvette Stingray. There's just something about the lines of the car that are so artistic. So, when I heard of an upcoming auction that was featuring a well-known 1963 Corvette, I was ready to follow it. Of course, it didn't hurt that there were also a collection of world-famous funny cars that were part of the same auction.
Harley Earl's Personal
1963 Corvette Stingray Convertible
 Last month Velocity TV covered Mecum's Windy City auction. One of the main draws was to see one of the crown jewels of Corvettes come across the auction block. Mecum offered up almost a thousand cars. Only 64% of the cars were sold.  Some blame the weather as having an effect on both the crowd and the bidding, which was very low.

High sale of the auction was Harley Earl's, known as the father of the Corvette, personal, one-of-a-kind, 1963 Corvette Stingray convertible which experts say should clearly have sold for more than the $1.5 million. Another sign that the bidding just was not as aggressive as in years past. This has some worried over why one of the most sought-after Corvettes in history (noted as one of the five "Crown Jewels") did so poorly in comparison to other recent auctions, such as the 1967 L88 Corvette which sold for $3.2 million at  Mecum’s Dallas auction. 
1967 Corvette sold for $3.2M

Another surprise of the auction was when the “Hemi Under Glass” Mopar funny cars, famous for their “wheelies”,  failed to meet the reserve. In fact,  the seller's expectations were so shattered that the four car collection will be broken up and sold individually in Kissimmee, Florida, in January. Guy Algar remarked, "It was a big surprise when a set of true collector cars with such an incredible, documented history did not meet reserve. And this with an auction company that usually sets all sorts of records." Does this mark a slow-down in the industry? 
While some insiders show signs of worry, others simply pass this off as one of those things that can happen at an auction when the attendees just don't get hyped up and excited. Some note the fact that most of the bidding occurred from phone-in bidders, and the lack of enthusiasm from the crowd, probably had a lot to do with the surprisingly poor results. There are many more auctions to come, and it'll be interesting to see whether this was indeed a "fluke" or if this is a new and disturbing trend in classic car and muscle car collecting.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 
Andrea L. Algar is co-owner of a classic car performance and restoration design shop in Leesville, Texas. Motorheads Performance specializes in repairs, maintenance, performance upgrades and restorative work on cars and trucks from the 1920’s through 1970’s. Her husband Guy L. Algar is a Mechanical Engineer with over 25 years experience. He holds 5 ASE Certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and has been working on old cars and trucks for over 37 years. Together they share their passion for old cars and trucks with other enthusiasts from around the country.
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