The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion are the gathering of the automotive clan, a family reunion that is peerless. And you might find a Peerless touring car on the fairway at Pebble Beach. One of the highlight events of the weekend — and undoubtedly the best value — is the Mecum Auction Monterey at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course. Last year 328 vehicles were sold at the Mecum Auction with a combined value of $34 million.
High-dollar exotics mingle with American classics
The auction is a little different than the typical Mecum Auction in that it features some especially high-dollar import supercars. This year the auction will offer a 2015 Ferrari LaFerrari, 2012 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport 16.4 and 1958 Porsche 550A Spyder among dozens of other notable cars. But the auction will also feature a wide variety of more affordable, more accessible American cars that we remember fondly.
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible was part of a groundbreaking year for Corvette. Among other things it features Corvette’s first independent rear suspension. While the split-window coupe has always drawn attention, there is a lot to like about the roadster version. This little red Corvette has a 300-horsepower 327-cubic inch small block V-8 and four-speed transmission, a desirable combination. It was cared for by the same owner for 24 years.
One example of American cardom at its best is this midnight blue 1969 Mustang Mach 1 with a powerful 351 cubic inch V-8 engine fed by a four-barrel carburetor. Like many vehicles in the Mecum Auction Monterey the car has been modified to offer modern driving amenities. It has modern heating and air conditioning and an aluminum electronic thermostatically cooled radiator, among other modifications.
The 1965 Buick Riviera, one of the first-generation of “personal luxury cars,” continues to draw envious stares 50 years after its introduction. This still-attractive design features hidden headlights, three-speed automatic transmission and a V-8 engine whose ID numbers match the car. Finished in Willow Mist paint, it sports whitewall tires. The black interior has woodgrain trim, power windows and a Pioneer audio player.
Out of sight in a barn for nearly half a century, this 1941 Plymouth Special Deluxe Woody Wagon sports its original woodwork to complement a nut-and-bolt restoration. It’s one of only 5,594 built in 1941 and features a third-row bench seat, chrome driver’s mirror, chrome hubcaps and trim rings trimmed in red decorating body-color-matched steel wheels. Power comes from a 201-cubic inch inline six-cylinder engine mated to a three-speed manual transmission.
Is it a truck or is it a car? The Chevrolet El Camino — and the similar Ford Ranchero — always begged that question. The answer: it is a truck based on a car platform. This 1968 El Camino was number 549 of 5,100 produced, and it has been the object of a frame up nut-and bolt-restoration. Painted gold with a black interior, it features a 325-horsepower version of the 396-cubic inch “big-block” Chevrolet V-8 backed by a rebuilt Turbo 400 automatic transmission. It is equipped with four-wheel disc brakes and stainless steel brake lines in a bow to modern driving realities.
The two-seat Ford Thunderbird ushered in the personal-luxury car segment with its introduction in 1955. This ’56 T-Bird has a 5-liter V-8 engine mated to an automatic transmission, perfect for the boulevard cruising that was its forte. The exterior is Fiesta Red complemented by a red-and-white interior that reminds you of the booths in a malt shoppe.
Another “Grease”-era nostalgiamobile is the 1958 Chevrolet Impala two-door that is similar to a car that appeared in “American Graffiti.” Many experts prefer the 1955-57 full-size Chevys, but the ’58 Impala, with its scoops and chrome, is a commanding presence. This example has the 348-cubic inch “big-block” engine fitted with “Tri-Power” — three two-barrel carburetors. The sturdy engine is backed up by a three-speed automatic. The pristine body features fender skirts to highlight its curvaceous shape.
From where we sit Chevrolet Corvairs are supercool, but this 1964 Rampside pickup truck takes Corvair Cool to the next level. As the truck’s name suggests, one side of the vehicle contains a fold-down ramp to enable easy loading of the bed. In the commercial for the Rampside, a baby elephant was led up the ramp into the cargo area. This example sports the 164-cubic inch flat-six air-cooled Corvair engine mated to a four-speed manual transmission. It is one of 8,147 ’64 Rampsides built in what was the last year of production for the sub-model of the most unfairly maligned car in auto history.
These and hundreds of other amazing cars and trucks from previous eras will go on the auction block at Mecum Auction’s Monterey event on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 23-25 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa – Del Monte Golf Course, 1 Old Golf Course Road Monterey, CA 93940. Gates for the auction open daily at 8 am. Advance ticket price is $20 per person, per day and advanced ticket sales are offered until 11:59 pm CDT, August 22. Children 12 years and younger get in free.
More information is available at https://mecum.com/auctions/monterey-2018/.