Ford GT40 and Other Star Cars at 25th Mecum Kissimmee Auction

January, 2024

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The Mecum Kissimmee auction has numerous rare and blue-chip cars on its docket that would be centerpieces of any serious collection. Cars such as 1966 Ford GT40, a 1970 Hemi Cuda Convertible, multiple L88 Corvettes, a 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra, a one-of-one 1969 Camaro Baldwin Motion LS7 (454), a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, and the seldom seen 1948 Tucker 48 were some of the examples in this star-studded event.

1966 Ford GT40

Despite its major success on the race track, only 30 GT40 MkI examples were specifically built for use on the road. These examples featured similar mechanical specifications of their race-winning counterparts but were outfitted with a few more luxuries for comfortable use, such as fully upholstered interiors. Mechanically, they utilized softer suspension settings, more compliant brakes, and a quieter exhaust. These GT40s were still very much racing cars, although they were meant for the open road. As a result, many of them wound up in the hands of privateers intending to either take them racing or get the closest possible experience to driving on a racetrack.

1970 Hemi Cuda Convertible

The impracticality of having the legendary big block Hemi motor in a convertible Pony Car arguably makes the Hemi Cuda Convertible one of the rarest muscle cars ever produced. The expensive monthly payment for this top-of-the-line model, together with the cost to insure it, made this car out of reach for most buyers, even BITD. Also, the limited demand for convertibles in the 1970s further reduced the production of these cars. As a result, Plymouth only sold 14 drop-top Hemi Cudas in 1970. Not surprisingly, these cars became one of the first muscle cars to break the 7-figure price bearer, and more than likely they will continue to appreciate in value.

Corvette 427 L88s

A total of five Corvettes with the L88 package crossed the auction block at the Kissimmee sale -two 1967s and three 1969s.  All five sold except one of the 1969s.  The L88 package, which has the high-performance 427 big-block, was created by Zora Arkus-Duntov in defiance of GMs ban on factory racing. These cars, which were only available for three years (1967 through 1969), are considered to be the pinnacle of Corvette performance.  Production numbers were very low, with only 20 being produced in 1967 and a total of 216 for all three years.

Although all years of the L88 are highly collectible, the super rare 1967 model is the most valuable. As one of the major attractions of the Kissimmee auction, Mecum offered the first L88 produced, a 1967 Corvette, and the last L88 produced, a 1969 Corvette, in a single lot.  Separately, Mecum offered another 1967 Corvette 427 L88 that is reported to be the only red exterior and interior factory car.  Not surprisingly, both sales resulted in price tags that were over a $1 million.

  1967 Corvette 427 L88 Sold for an Undisclosed Amount After Bidding Ended – High Bid was $2,700,000

1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra

This is not a clone/continuation/tribute Cobra, it is the real deal that started the Shellby Cobra legacy. It’s a 1965 427 Cobra, competition car, one of just 23 produced. Although this car was originally built strictly for the track, it was unsold at the end of Shelby’s production run. Being the entrepreneur that he was, he had the cars modified to make them more saleable as street legal cars – very fast street legal cars. All of Shelby’s Cobras were built to be fast, but the limited number of competition cars are the top “Snakes” on the road.

 

1969 Camaro Baldwin Motion LS7 (454)

This Camaro was ordered new from Baldwin Chevrolet and turned over to Motion Performance to have a 454 LS7 motor installed right out of the box. It might seem strange to have a 454-motor installed in a new ’69 Camaro, since the big-block power plant was not available until 1970. Based on information provided on this car, it was built in November of 1969 (very late in the calendar year). Furthermore, it’s reported that the engine swap at Motion Performance was not completed until mid-1970, when the LS7 engine would have been available. In any case, it makes for an interesting story and enables the car to be referred to as the only one of its kind, and therefore, a very unique piece of muscle car history..

 

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

This body design for the Gullwing coupe was developed to compete at the highest level of European racing. The iconic liftup doors were created out of necessity to strengthen the lower belt line of the car and resulted in a truly eye-catching sight. After winning the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1954, Mercedes-Benz began building a road-going version to satisfy America’s growing postwar appetite for sports cars. The result was the now famous 300SL Gullwing. The car is built on a tubular steel space frame, a detuned version of the Le Mans-winning, 3.0L overhead-cam straight-6 engine that featured Bosch mechanical fuel injection and produced 240 HP. All told, only 1,400 Gullwing coupes were ever built. This particular car, a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, featured color-matched Rudge wheels and period-correct red plaid seat inserts, as well as a new set of fitted red luggage.

 

1948 Tucker 48

With its trademark centrally-located rotating “Cyclops Eye,” its horizontally-opposed, rear-mounted engine, and other innovative design features, there’s little wonder that Tucker 48s were marketed as the “Cars of Tomorrow.” These extraordinary cars have been a fascination to many classic car enthusiasts, as well as today being one of the most coveted collectibles in the hobby.   With only 47 remaining examples of this rare car, it is a major event when one comes to market.  Our records indicate that the last one to be sold was in 2020.

This particular 1948 Tucker, which has had three owners since new, is 1 of only 4 ever produced in Black, the rarest production color for Tucker 48s. It also has the distinction of appearing in the movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.”

1963 Chevrolet Corvette – Harley Earl

This special one-off Styling Car was gifted by General Motors to legendary Styling Department Chief Harley Earl as a retirement present. Earl drove the car in the ’60s before selling it to an Army veteran from Maryland, whose cross-country travels in the car were documented. The car is fitted with many unique items like special side pipes and extra gauges, including an altimeter. This is a historical vehicle in the classic car in hobby.