Market: 3000 classics go through the Mecum Kissimmee sale

Nine days of American muscle car heaven, with a few Ferraris thrown in, as Mecum blasts through a remarkable 3000 cars at its amazing Florida auction

Market: 3000 classics go through the Mecum Kissimmee sale

Each January, Mecum Auctions aims to steal a bit of the Scottsdale collector-car thunder, by hosting a massive event just before car collectors look to the desert. Volume is the word of order for the Mecum Kissimmee 'Muscle Cars and More' auction.  

During this nine-day extravaganza, 3000 machines crossed the auction block in a carnival-like setting. Screaming Hellcat Challengers filled the air with tire smoke and bellowing exhaust, as part of the Dodge SRT Thrill Rides.  

The auctioneer’s voice boomed constantly through the P/A system, keeping auction-goers updated on the latest sales. For this year’s event, the Mecum show even featured a rock band lamenting loudly about Jessie’s Girl. Mecum knows how to party, and they turn the volume up to eleven.  

With so many cars up for offer, the buyer’s choices abound. Fancy a Japanese- market Nissan Pao, Honda Beat, or Suzuki Cappuccino? Examples of each sold for under $7K.  Harboring sentimental feelings for a Fox-body Mustang? A claimed 25,000-mile 1986 Mustang SVO sold for just $11K, and many more Fox-bodies were on offer. With so many choices at hand, even those with modest budgets were bound to find what they were seeking.     

Mecum bids itself as 'Muscle Cars and More' and their Kissimmee auction certainly lived up to their claim. Massive big-top tents sheltered a staggering array of altered wheelbase, and factory lightweight, vintage drag race warriors. These machines demanded attention, with gleaming velocity stacks and surly attitudes. For the nostalgic drag race enthusiast, Mecum’s Kissimmee sale delivered in droves. Unfortunately, many of these beasts went unsold, filed under the 'Bid Goes On' category.  

True to Mecum’s motto, American muscle was abundant in Kissimmee, allowing the buyer to not only find the right car, but to pick the best example of that car amongst several available. 

The exquisite machines from Maranello were abundant in Kissimmee, but due to the nature of the American-centric crowd, most of these offerings went unsold. A notable exception was the 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari, which had an auction-high hammer price of $3,410,000.

The sheer size of Mecum’s Kissimmee sale meant that many of the offerings were late model used cars of casual interest. Within the hoards of standard-issue machines, a few notable standouts grabbed our attention. Here’s the hits and misses:

GMC Typhoon

A GMC Typhoon is a special trucklet by its own account. With a turbocharged 4.3-liter engine putting out 280bhp and 369 ft/lb of torque, the Typhoon and its pickup truck sibling the Syclone more or less invented the hot-pickup and suv segment. Limited to only 2200 examples in 1993, these trucks are fun, usable collectibles. This particular truck had genuine movie-star provenance, as it was the personal car of Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood.  Sold for just $25,300, this GMC was bound to Make your Day... 

Shelby GT500 Mustang

A few years ago much hoopla was made about the Shelby GT500 Mustang being able to reach the magic 200mph mark. While this figure may have been a bit optimistic, this macho Mustang’s 500bhp engine is sure to impress. For less than new Camry money, this low-mileage Shelby Mustang represents a whole lot of car for very little money. Even with more powerful Mustangs released seemingly every day, the Shelby name will help this pony retain value. It seemed to be a good, long-term deal at a hammer price of $27K.

Chevrolet Yenko Turbo

Late third-generation Camaros have always been the redheaded stepchildren of the pony car world. Overshadowed by the flashy Pontiac Trans Am, the mechanically similar Camaro has languished in the shadow of its cousin. Recently this trend has begun to shift, and very nice Z/ 28s are bringing respectable money – especially for the desirable cowl induction models.  This particular car had a real story behind it, as it was just one of three Stage II Yenko Turbo Zs known to exist. The last of the third generation Camaros, and also the last Chevrolet project legendary car builder and racer Don Yenko produced, this Camaro had real appeal.  Powered by a turbocharged 350cid V-8, this Yenko shows that even in the early '80s the hot-rodding spirit was alive and well. The $68K hammer price may seem steep, but try to find another Yenko-modified car for less. 

Buehrig Carriage-Roof

They say variety is the spice of life. They also say money can’t buy taste. The 1980 Buehrig Carriage-Roof neo-classic presented for sale at Mecum Kissimmee was a good example of each of these mantras. While the quality of construction was impressive, this stretched, mutilated, C3 Corvette-based special was a sight to behold. Guaranteed to inspire awe, or create nausea, this interesting creation is certain to gather a crowd. Financed by Richard Kughn of Lionel model train fame, and designed by Gordon Buehrig who worked with the Auburn-Duesenberg-Cord companies, this Buehrig had genuine provenance. It was also understandably rare, with only three produced. Considering the cost to build this oddity, we can understand why it was a 'Bid Goes On' refugee at $35K. We also have to stand in amazement at it’s designer’s vision, or lack thereof.     

Dodge Viper GTS

It may seem like old news today, but when the Viper GTS was launched in 1996, it created an international sensation. Like the Cobra Daytona Coupes they were inspired by, these Vipers took on the world and won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1998. Loud, brutish, and bodacious, the '96 Viper GTS was one of the most outrageous vehicles ever unleashed to the American public. With genuine Shelby and Le Mans heritage, it is hard to see how this 11,000-mile example wasn’t a great value. With only 1166 produced in the introductory year for the GTS, we’d call this well bought at just $59,400.

Missed Kissimmee? How about the Scottsdale sales?