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Mecum Kissimmee Auction • January 26-30, 2011

The Mecum auction returned to the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee on January 26-30, 2011. Due to overwhelming popularity, this year the annual event expanded to five full days of auctions featuring 1,500 collector cars up for sale. Going into it, President Dana Mecum stated, “The Kissimmee Auction is Mecum’s fastest growing event as witnessed by the huge success of last year’s event, which boasted a very high sell-through rate, move than 4,000 registered bidders and total sales over $25 million”. By the end of the 2011 event those numbers were eclipsed - but more on that later.

The Mecum Auction Company has been specializing in the sale of collector cars for 24 years, now offering an industry-leading 7,500 collector cars per year. As the collector car industry’s largest January auction, Mecum Kissimmee offered a variety of vehicles up for bid, including several no-reserve collections, historic race cars, and rare muscle cars. Because of recent growth, they moved the auction block to the Silver Spur Arena - a larger building next to the Exhibition Building where last year’s event took place.

In addition, Mecum Kissimmee was broadcast with four days of live national TV coverage on “Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars & More” on HD Theater - Discovery Communications’ first 24-hour high-definition cable network, offering compelling real-world and motorized content. Fans could also watch the auction via live Webcast at Of course the best way to experience it was first hand though, which we once again did. The Kissimmee Auction was open to the general public, with tickets available at the door for $15.

One of the most highly anticipated cars going into the auction was the 1963 Shelby Cobra named “DragonSnake”. It was the 93rd Cobra built, one of just 8 cars modified with the Shelby-developed DragonSnake package, and is history’s winningest competition Cobra. Originally owned by Jim Costilow and driven by drag racers Bruce Larson and Ed Hedrick, the DragonSnake won seven NHRA National events and the 1966 NHRA World Championship, among other victories. It was the NHRA record holder in retired classes AA, A, B, C/Sports, had received a show quality full and accurate restoration, and wound up selling for $875,000. Though it wasn’t the only cool race car on hand, as it joined more than a dozen factory-backed drag racing cars up for bid at Mecum Kissimmee, including the 1971 Sox & Martin Hemi Cuda Pro Stocker, which was restored to its race configuration and featuring the iconic red, white and blue Sox & Martin treatment. Also crossing the block was drag racing legend Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins’ 1970 Pro Stock Camaro known as Grumpy’s Toy VIII, and the Bob Glidden 1972 Pro Stock Ford Pinto. NASCAR fans could have placed their bid for the 2007 Chevrolet Budweiser #8 driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., which found a new home for $200,000.

After five days of high-energy crowds and eager bidding, Mecum Auctions announced total gross sales (excluding buyer’s premium) for its 2011 Kissimmee Auction reached an impressive $39.9 million. With sales that continued to take place after the weekend event via Mecum’s “The Bid Goes On” department, the total exceeded $40 million. That was thanks to a 73% sell-through rate, and some impressive sales, including the top item of “The Last Riva”, a 1996 Riva Aquarama Special Hull #774 that was the last Riva hand-built wooden boat sold to the public, which went for $975,000.

Of course, while the high profile and high grossing vehicles tend to make more news, there were plenty of vehicles that went for far more affordable prices. The neat thing about the auction also is, before the vehicles pass across the block, everyone can check them out up close. In addition to cars and trucks, the auction also offered motorcycles, and a large collection of automotive memorabilia.

Complete results form Mecum Kissimmee, and their other auctions, are available to Mecum InfoNet members, which is free to join at Mecum InfoNet members can log in to see car-by-car results by visiting the Results Page.

We once again had a good time attending the Mecum Kissimmee Auction. That included some really cool and rare vehicles that we’d never see first hand otherwise, feeling the excitement of the auction atmosphere, and coming across old friends in the crowd. We’ll certainly be back next year to take it all in again. And who knows, maybe even register to bid on some of the affordable cars and trucks that come across the block. CN

Top 10 Kissimmee Auction Sales
(all sales reflect hammer prices):
1. 1996 Riva Aquarama Special Hull #774 (Lot S182) at $975,000
2. 1963 Shelby Cobra DragonSnake (Lot S121.1) at $875,000
3. 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster (Lot F211.1) at $550,000
4. 1970 Riva Aquarama Series III Hull #416 (Lot S183) at $325,000
5. 1957 Ford Thunderbird DF Phase 1 (Lot F209) at $250,000
6. 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Convertible Ram Air III (Lot S233) at $225,000
7. 1940 Packard Darrin Convertible (Lot S97) at $205,000
8. 2007 Chevrolet Budweiser #8 NASCAR (Lot S201) at $200,000
9. 1932 Ford Hi Boy Roadster (Lot S228) at $180,000
10. 1964 Mercury A/FX Comet (Lot F163) at $175,000