The 2014 Mecum Indianapolis Auctions

Dave Kinney
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Indianapolis, Indiana
May 13–18, 2014

1972 De Tomaso Pantera
Sold At $86,400

SN THPNMB02424. Red over black vinyl interior. 310-hp, 351-cubic-inch V-8; five-speed manual transmission. 1561 miles. Good paint, looks to be original. Some light scratches in the bumper chrome. Gaskets are beginning to show some wear. Very good all-original interior, although carpeting is faded.

The story behind the sale

Born in Argentina in 1928, Alejandro de Tomaso had a hand in building many cars and a few motorcycles that you have seen, heard of, and perhaps even owned. His life reads like some sort of topsy-turvy adventure novel. At one time de Tomaso, or his company De Tomaso Automobili, even owned Maserati (1976–1993) and the motorcycle company Moto Guzzi (1973–1996).

Before the Pantera hit U.S. shores, De Tomaso had multiple production cars under its belt, most notably the tiny Ford Cortina–powered Vallelunga and the slightly better-known Mangusta (about 400 were built). The Ford-powered Pantera, which was designed by American Tom Tjaarda at Ghia, was sold in the United States by Lincoln-Mercury dealers, and Ford had a financial stake in the product. It was the Pantera that put the small auto company on the map, and it is an automobile that continues to resonate with exotic-car shoppers.

Panteras have become a hot commodity in today’s marketplace, and it is difficult to find an unmolested example. This car, with its extremely low miles, is a real find. You might think that this sounds like a lot of money for a Pantera, but the market suggests that this will soon seem cheap.

1995 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1
Sold at $64,800

SN 1G1YZ22J1S5800427. Torch red over red leather. 405-hp, 350-cubic-inch V-8; six-speed manual. Fewer than 60 miles. Among the rarest of the fourth-generation Corvettes. Excellent factory paint and trim. Windshield has a weird film between its layers. Interior looks brand-new, as it should—this car has been in storage since the year the DVD (remember that?) was invented.

The 1990s Corvette ZR-1 is finally coming into its own, and many serious Corvette collectors are acquiring one or more. The ZR-1 option, with its Lotus-designed DOHC cylinder heads on top of an engine assembled by Mercury Marine, cost $31,258, nearly doubling the $36,785 base price of a new 1995 Corvette -- and these cars often sold for more than list. Nineteen years on, it looks like nobody but GM has made any money on this car so far.

1968 Ford Torino Gt Indy 500 Pace Car Convertible
Sold At $49,680

SN 8H43S143668. Wimbledon white with white top over two-tone blue vinyl. 325-hp, 390-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Very good paint, good chrome and graphics. Very good seats. Added triple-carb intake manifold, upgraded wiring harness and front suspension. Converted from an automatic to a manual transmission.

Let’s get over the fact that this car has some minor to moderate modifications. Details that made this Torino a seriously good buy: It left the factory as one of just 159 built to support the Indy 500 in 1968; of those, it’s reportedly one of twelve with a 390-cubic-inch engine. It’s a convertible. It will be the only one at almost any car show you attend. And it’s in great cosmetic shape.

1957 Dodge power wagon
Sold at $29,160

SN 82901207. Red and white over brown vinyl. 204-hp, 315-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Side-mounted spare tire. Excellent paint, great trim. Bed has highly polished wood slats. Restored to better than new.

The Power Wagon is a pickup on steroids; it is more brute than cute. Well-restored pickups are becoming regular features at auctions. With little or no chrome, they tend to be cheaper to restore than cars of the same era. This Power Wagon looks ready to get back to work, even if the heaviest thing it might haul in the future is a trophy.

1975 Cadillac Eldorado Coupe
Sold At $9720

SN 6L47S5Q264847. Jennifer blue with white vinyl top over white leather. 190-hp, 500-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Miles are said to be original at 48,000. A former best-in-class winner in the Cadillac & LaSalle Club. Great paint, excellent chrome and trim. Vinyl top shows well, as does the interior. This Eldorado has the look of an always-garaged, well-cared-for car.

Cheap money for a car that has no major visual issues. When a car looks this good on both the outside and the inside, it’s usually nice mechanically, as well. Ready for its next show or a Sunday drive, this bright blue Eldorado is deserving of the same level of care from its next owner.

1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM
Sold at $46,440

SN 228870N125743. Polar white with blue stripes over blue vinyl. 335-hp, 400-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. 90,000 miles. Excellent paint, great chrome and brightwork. Very clean, well-detailed interior. A very appealing presentation overall but not a perfect example.

Pontiac built 3196 Trans Ams in 1970; more of them had four-speed manuals (1828) than automatics (1368). Base price when new was $4305. A handful of extracost options were ordered on this car, including air-conditioning, power locks, AM/FM radio, and Ram Air III. This Pontiac sold for much less than expected.

1972 Avanti Ii Coupe
Sold At $15,660

SN RQB1861. Nutmeg metallic over matching suede leather. 245-hp, 400-cubic-inch V-8; automatic. Nice quality repaint, good chrome and trim. Nardi wood steering wheel and Dayton wire wheels are a nice touch. Factory-original suede interior reminds you that Avanti wasn’t kidding when it said it would build anything the customer wanted.

When Studebaker quit building cars in South Bend, Indiana, in 1963, two of the brand’s dealers got together and bought the rights to keep making the Avanti. It was a wild idea, and their formula worked. As the years went by, like many cars, the Avanti became more luxury oriented. This Avanti sold just a little shy of where one might have expected, so let’s call it well bought.

1964 Pontiac grand prix
Sold at $99,900

SN 894K6782. Nocturne blue over white vinyl. 370-hp, 421-cubic-inch V-8; four-speed manual. Just over 36,000 actual miles. Excellent paint and chrome. Original interior shows very well. This car has a total of thirty-two factory options, including Tri-Power; power steering, brakes, and windows; AM/FM radio with reverberator; tilt steering; dual antennas; and dual exhaust.

Pontiac built a total of 63,810 Grand Prix cars in 1964; just 3124 had a manual transmission. The seller had great documentation to show that this car had all of the options since new. That -- and some very devoted bidders -- made all the difference for this $100,000 Grand Prix.

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