December 12-13, 2014
Feature Car: 1969 Chevrolet Corvair Monza
Sold At $14,040
Glacier blue with blue vinyl interior. 110-hp, OHV 2.7-liter flat-six; four-speed manual. Unrestored with 15 original miles. Kept in a Georgia dealer’s inventory until 1980; formerly exhibited at the Central Texas Museum of Automotive History. Displayed at the sale in dusty shape, but totally original.
The Story Behind The Sale
The Chevrolet Corvair was an American original. A small unibody car with its all-aluminum engine in the rear, it was introduced in the fall of 1959 as an alternative to the Volkswagen Beetle, which was then making everyone more conscious of fuel efficiency. And yet as the Corvair evolved to its final year of production in 1969, it had become a kind of sports car.
There were Corvair models in two-door, four-door, and convertible configurations. Hard to believe now, but the 1960-1964 model years also included a Corvair station wagon, van, and even a ramp-sided pickup truck (just like a similar Volkswagen model). Corvair wasn’t just a car; it was a way of life. Yet when the second-generation Corvair was introduced in 1965 with its sleek styling and Corvette-style independent rear suspension, it became more like a Ford Mustang than a VW Beetle.
Sadly, scandal associated with the first-gen Corvair’s swing-axle rear suspension caused sales to plummet after Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed” was published in 1965. Though the government later exonerated it of charges of evil handling, the Corvair came to an end in 1969 along with the swinging ’60s.
Was this as good a deal as it sounds? Frankly, yes. The second-generation car is desirable and is getting some recognition at car shows as an important collectible. A professional detailer could have spent a 40-hour week on this Corvair and made it into a high-priced star again. Of course, that’s when the age-old dilemma of low miles versus driving enjoyment attacks.
1979 Porsche 911SC
Sold At $25,300
Light metallic blue over black sport interior. 172-hp, DOHC 3.0-liter, flat-six; five-speed manual. Sunroof, air-conditioning, Fuchs wheels. Optional chin spoiler, foglights, and Turbo-type rear spoiler. Good paint, trim, and detailing; nice interior. Signs of wear are visible on most surfaces. Overall, a used Porsche.
Some say the three scariest words in the English language are “Porsche at auction.” But with Porsche 911 prices dramatically on the rise over the last three years, can you pay too much? Yes, you can. Buy on condition, not price, as necessary improvements can be expensive. As a result, a car priced $10,000 higher can easily be the better buy. This example was a bit high for its present state, but a nicer one could demand much more.
2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Sold At $19,440
Rally red with silver stripes over black and gray leather interior. 325-hp, OHV 5.7-liter LS1 V-8; four-speed automatic. This 35th Anniversary Edition is said to have 16,000 miles. Very good paint; excellent trim. Some wear on the seats, but great console and dash. Cast-aluminum wheels.
The Anniversary Edition was based on the Z28 SS model, and it had a planned production run of 3,500 (including 252 for Canada). All were built in Rally Red with silver stripes. To order one of these, you had to pay an extra $3,625 for the SS performance/appearance package (WU8) and then another $2,500 for the Z4C option as well. These convertibles can be driven every day thanks to bulletproof engines, real brakes, and working air-conditioning. As a result, you don’t have to sniff hard here to pick up the scent of a future collector car.
1973 Ford F100 Ranger
Sold At $7,020
Blue and white over blue cloth and vinyl interior. 265-hp, 6.4-liter V-8; three-speed automatic. Believed to have only 19,500 miles. Factory A/C and spray-in bedliner. Good paint just might be mostly original; very good chrome. Little dings here and there, but no dents. Very good interior; the original Ford woven vinyl has held up well.
The F-Series pickup for 1973 features a longer cab with a storage area behind the seat, and the upscale Ranger package includes more exterior bright trim and color-key pleated vinyl upholstery along with full wheel covers. Thirty years ago pickups were all about work, so few trucks had this level of trim, notably air-conditioning. This is a very well-cared-for truck for cheap, and we expect it to survive a few decades or more if the next owner cares as well for it as the past
1989 Dodge Shelby Shadow CSX
Sold At $5,500
Exotic red over gray cloth interior. 174-hp, turbocharged SOHC 2.2-liter inline-four; Getrag five-speed manual. American Racing wheels. Some color mismatch on different body panels; some sun damage on the exterior trim. Original Shelby-branded Recaro seats and a custom steering wheel. Its 69,000 miles are believed to be original. This CSX is No. 62 of 500 Shadows reworked by Shelby.
Like almost everything Shelby, this car has an autographed dash. In the 1980s, Ol’ Shel had a falling out with the folks at Ford and took his playthings to Chrysler. The Pentastar gang brought out a series of Shelby branded products, some more memorable than others. The upside here is that you can tell your buddies you just bought a Shelby at auction. The downside: It’s no Cobra. We’ll see if the Shelby name improves the collectibility of these overlooked Pentastar products.
1994 Nissan 300ZX
Sold At $8,370
Maroon over gray cloth interior. 222-hp, DOHC 3.0-liter V-6; four-speed automatic. Very good paint, good trim except for a 2-inch missing piece by the driver’s door. Looks to have been lightly used and well taken care of. The owner states the miles are correct at a surpri- singly low 22,000 miles. Of course it has T-tops, as any proper sporting car from the 1985-1995 era should.
Nissan used a Cray-2 super-computer and CAD software to design the Z32-series 300ZX, which offered more high-tech stuff than its rivals from Detroit and Japan. While almost no one was looking, the 300ZX has become a collector car, especially since examples that are not all used up are hard to find. Nissan 300ZX freaks will tell you that 1994 was the first year for passenger-side airbags, so the clumsy automatic seat belts went away. They will also tell you to buy one now if you are so inclined.
1981 Chevrolet Corvette
Sold At $14,580
Burgundy two-tone over burgundy leather interior. 190-hp, OHV 5.7-liter V-8; four-speed automatic. T-tops, A/C, power steering, tilt steering wheel, and power windows, locks, and seats. A driver-quality car with good paint and brightwork. Clean interior.
After a low point of 150 hp in the mid-1970s, Corvette C3 power had become respectable again. The L81 350 V-8 was new for 1981, and it featured magnesium rocker covers and stainless-steel exhaust manifolds, cutting engine weight by 14 pounds. The most controversial change for ’81 was a lightweight-fiberglass rear spring, anticipating the rear suspension of the forthcoming Corvette C4. There was a brief period in the 1980s when you could find cars with both T-tops and two-tone paint, but both are now thought of as period pieces from the dying days of disco. Even so, the late Corvette C3s are now collectible.
1951 MG TD
Sold At $19,980
Red over tan leather interior. 55-hp, OHV 1.3-liter inline-four; four-speed manual transmission. A ground-up restoration in 1980, with 3,100 miles since. These miles have not been too kind, as some paint application after the restoration indicates. What was fresh in the Reagan years is tired now.
This is the English automobile that invented the sports car in America, as many examples found a home with former World War II servicemen on both coasts of the U.S. By the 1950s everyone had to have one, including Automobile’s David E. Davis Jr., who drove an MG TF 1500 with a 1.75-inch straight-pipe exhaust to California right after he got married in June 1955 and then raced it that October with disastrous consequences. Now T-series owners are passing away, and who will take over these cars, which are too slow to be usable? Market price.
1984 AMC Jeep CJ-7 Laredo
Sold At $17,280
Silver over tan vinyl interior. 102-hp, OHV 4.2-liter inline-six; three-speed automatic transmission. Excellent throughout. Great paint; trim and details are as-new or perhaps better. The interior looks as if it’s brand new; under hood is well-detailed. Someone loved this Jeep—an excellent restoration from front to back.
Factory air-conditioning makes this CJ-7 ready for the Texas summer, but the truth is this Jeep might be too nice to put back into regular service. Jeep made only 39,547 CJ-7s for 1984, and since the Laredo package was a hefty $2,129 option, this CJ is likely to be rare. Due to the popularity of the roomier CJ-7, the classic CJ-5 was eliminated from the Jeep lineup in 1984. At less than 20 grand, this CJ-7 Laredo is a great deal, another example of affordable American classics from Mecum.