The 2015 Mecum Auctions in Denver

Including a 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente sold at $17,280.

Mecum AuctionsphotographerDave Kinneywriter

Denver, Colorado
June 26-27, 2015

Feature Car: 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente
Sold at $17,280

S/N 4H25F518078
White over red vinyl interior with white vinyl top. 164-hp, OHV 4.3-liter V-8; three-speed automatic transmission. Great equipment list for 1964, including power steering, power brakes, automatic transmission, and wire wheel covers. The Caliente—an upscale version of the Comet model—was advertised in period by Mercury as "Every bit as hot as it looks." The MSRP before options for this Caliente was $2,636; Mercury built 9,039 Caliente convertibles in 1964.

The Story Behind the Sale

As World War II was winding down, Ford formed the Lincoln-Mercury division, formalizing a ladder of brand status much like General Motors. While Mercury hasn't been with us since 2011, it's also fair to say that the brand had a great run and made some quite memorable cars. Just as the Mercury Cougar was an upscale Ford Mustang for much of its early life, the Comet was a more expensive version of the cool second-generation Ford Falcon.

The 1960s were an especially busy time for Mercury as it went further upmarket to fill the gap left by the Edsel brand's failure. As with this Comet, Mercury didn't just make one or two versions of a particular model; it made a handful. The Comet 202, Comet 404, Caliente, and Cyclone were the four models of this platform that you could choose for 1964. This Caliente convertible was almost as expensive (just $19 less) as the high-performance Cyclone coupe, which featured a 4.7-liter V-8 as standard equipment.

This Caliente was a very well-presented driver. And with a V-8, automatic transmission, bucket seats, and a power top, it has to be easy to keep pace with modern traffic on the road. Think of it as more like a Mustang and less like a Falcon, and then you'll understand the personalized statement it makes. Nice car, nice price.

1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Sold at $22,680

S/N 9F02M164514
Red with black-accented hood over black vinyl interior. 290-hp, OHV 5.8-liter V-8; three-speed automatic transmission. Older paint and trim with good chrome. The hood with racing-type locating pins and nonfunctional air scoop, rear-window louvers, rear wing, and Magnum wheels complete the Mach 1 look. A decent presentation but not a show car.

The Mustang underwent its first complete makeover in 1969, and this attractive fastback shape led to 299,824 sales. Some 72,458 of them had the Mach 1 treatment, partly as a homologation package for Trans-Am racing, and it was a big hit. It still looks exceptionally attractive today. This car is not for originality freaks, but it presents well and even has tires that look like the original Goodyear Polyglas items. A fair and very affordable price for a decent example of an important car.

1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88
Sold at $27,000

S/N 607M53785
White over two-tone blue interior with white vinyl top. 240-hp, OHV 6.1-liter V-8; three-speed automatic transmission. No fins here, thank you. Very good paint and chrome. Original engine detailed but not fresh. The interior shows original door panels and dash; the seats have been reupholstered in a non-matching pattern. Equipped with power steering, power brakes, and power-operated softtop.

A big American convertible with a big American V-8 is tough to resist and even tougher not to love. One of 12,271 made, this Dynamic 88 convertible is poised and ready to take up two parking spaces wherever you drive it since it is just as big as a modern full-size SUV. It is the value-edition Olds 88 with a Rocket V-8 meant to run on cheaper, regular-grade gas. (In 1960, a gallon of gas was 31 cents.) This auction price is spot on with the market.

Best Buy: 1978 Triumph Spitfire
Sold at $7,560

S/N FM96958U0C
Blue over beige interior with a tan vinyl top. 57-hp, OHV 1.5-liter inline-four; four-speed manual transmission. Rebuilt engine; the underhood is show-detailed. Excellent paint; good brightwork. Nice interior redone to a mostly original style. Very nice wood dash and wood-rim steering wheel.

It's all about the quality of the restoration here. Although the Triumph Spitfire is the least valuable Triumph model you can collect thanks to the model's travails of indifferent assembly when new and the depredations of rust since then, this example is as nice as they come. It's as well done as any British roadster you'd see at any car show, and the Michelotti-styled bodywork looks more attractive with every passing year. The buyer bought this car for the price of a quality repaint and got the rest of the car for free.

Big Money: 1969 Pontiac Trans Am Ram Air IV
Sold at $194,400

S/N Not available
Cameo White with blue stripes over blue custom-trim vinyl interior. 345-hp, OHV 6.6-liter V-8; three-speed automatic transmission. Excellent paint and chrome. All the trim and details are well done. Said to be one of just 55 examples of the 1969 Trans Ams produced with the Ram Air IV, a slightly detuned racing engine. One of just two built with the column-shift three-speed automatic transmission.

Pontiac factory documents confirm that this car was built for internal company use, perhaps as a test car for car magazines. Restored in the 1990s and freshened in 2010 by a top-tier shop, this Trans Am just could be a keeper. Yes, it's big money, but it's the best quality with the most exclusive provenance. With cars at this level, it's all about the restoration and the selection of options.

1991 Ford Bronco Eddie Bauer Edition
Sold at $12,420

S/N 1FMEU15N4MLA45060
Black and tan over tan cloth interior. 185-hp, OHV 4.9-liter V-8; five-speed manual transmission. The tan hardtop is removable. Excellent paint; the trim is all in very good to excellent condition. Equipped with a tilt steering wheel, power windows, power door locks, cruise control, and air-conditioning. The Eddie Bauer Edition interior is good but shows some wear. Cosmetically, this Bronco is a standout.

We've recently seen a fair share of early Broncos at auction, but once you move into the generations post-1986, you get a much nicer experience. This one-owner example with four-wheel drive, rare five-speed manual transmission, and Eddie Bauer trim was a bargain. But keep in mind that this later Bronco (based on 1986 F-series pickup) is good for creature comforts, bad for the complexity and cost of repairs.

1987 Buick Grand National
Sold at $20,520

S/N 1G4GJ1178HP447476
Black over black-and-gray cloth interior. 245-hp, turbocharged 3.8-liter V-6; three-speed automatic transmission. The paint is showing some wear and a few small intrusions. Good brightwork; good glass and trim. The interior shows wear, but it is still nice. Options include tilt wheel, black GNX wheels, and an aftermarket audio system with AM/FM and a CD player. From the last year of production; 32,000 miles on the odometer.

When new, this Grand National had an MSRP of $15,136, plus options. Many Grand Nationals show up at collector-car auctions still new and in the wrapper, so it is refreshing to see one that was used and enjoyed. This is a good price for a Grand National in this condition, and it makes it easier to appreciate such a car when you don't have to fret about putting miles on it.

1966 Chevrolet Biscayne
Sold at $32,400

S/N 153116L214481
Beige over two-tone tan vinyl-and-cloth interior. 425-hp, OHV 7.0-liter V-8; four-speed manual transmission. Very nice paint; great chrome. The interior is all original style and could be original all the way through with the exception of the Sun tachometer mounted to the column of the tilt steering wheel.

Pretty much your definition of a "sleeper" for street racing. Did we mention it's beige? Back in the day, this looked just like hundreds of Chevys, and only the initiated would know that the lack of exterior trim, blackwall tires, dog-dish hubcaps, dual exhaust, and 427 badges meant that a big-block Turbo Jet V-8 was in the engine bay. Serious as pink slips at midnight, this is a well-bought car in great shape cosmetically. Worth every penny of this price, especially with the manual transmission. This is a tough, fast car from the glory days of Detroit. It's as cool as
a Shinola wristwatch.

1974 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
Sold at $19,440

S/N 1Q87T4N110161
Orange over black vinyl interior. 245-hp, OHV 5.7-liter V-8; three-speed automatic transmission. Very good paint as well as graphics. The brightwork is good; correct style blacked-out grille. Wood grain on the instrument cluster. Options include tilt wheel, power brakes, dual exhaust, and A/C. Very nice interior. Overall, driver-plus quality.

This very nice Z28 might even be good enough to win its class at a regional show. This year marked the introduction of a restyled nose and 5-mph bumpers to the Camaro and the last year before exhaust catalysts. Lack of documentation had to have hurt the sale price of this vehicle. With bulletproof documentation presented in an informative way, you increase your audience at sale time. Values of the beautifully styled Camaro from the 1970s are headed upward.

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