CONCORD, N.C. — A few dozen of the 200 cars to be auctioned by Dealer Auctions Inc. were huddled together at the Charlotte Speedway in the expansive sheltered areas for restrooms and food stands. It was April 4, the scheduled preview day of the spring Food Lion AutoFest at the famous race track.
Several vehicles were still under wraps at mid-day; others were nowhere in sight. Onlookers were few and hardy. The early spring weather was serving up wind and rain, with temperatures on the wrong side of 40 degrees.
Aisles leading out to the grandstands had become wind tunnels, high-speed entrances for the bone-chilling air.
“It’s always cold for the spring AutoFest,” the woman behind the ticket booth window commented.
Bidding over the weekend — and the return of the sun — heated things up.
Greg Sullins’ three Hertz Shelby Mustangs had headlined the Dealer Auctions sale at the 2013 spring AutoFest.
The collector and classics dealer’s 1966 Shelby Mustang Hertz rent-a-racer sold (including dealer commission) for $167,400. It was one of 1,000 Shelby Mustangs built that year for the Hertz rental car operation, said Sullins, who owns Classic Auto Rides in Monroe, N.C.
“This particular car is one that was used in New York in its rental fleet back in the day,” Sullins said in a Dealer Auctions release. “I’ve got the history of the car. It has had seven owners since 1966. It is an all-original car, no rust in it and no damage to it. It is iconic in terms of when you think of performance cars.”
Forty years later Ford re-visited the rent-a-racer idea, producing just 500 Shelby Mustang 350s for 2006. The following year Ford built 500 Shelby Mustang 350 convertibles. Sullins collected one of each. They were auctioned as a pair and brought $135,000, he said.
Mike Calmeri wasn’t as lucky in his efforts to sell his modified 1968 Mustang. While its window information said the 600-inch engine was rated at 1,100 horsepower, Calmeri said added two-stage equipment could boost horsepower to 2,000.
The Charlotte-area resident said he had owned the ’68 Mustang for 25 years and over time had done some work on it. He put a $40,000 reserve on the car.
“I would have accepted a little less, but the best bid was only $25,000 and that wasn’t enough,” Calmeri said.
Dealer Auctions, based in Denver, N.C., did not release sales information.
Prior to the long weekend, the company touted several special vehicles including a 1956 Ford Thunderbird. The national show winner, with frame-off restoration “to concours standards,” had the original owner’s manual and brochure.
Other classics set to cross the auction block: a 2004 Dodge SRT Viper truck with 1,200 miles, original paperwork and perfect interior; a 1990 Ferrari Testarossa with 8,000 miles on it, and a 2005 American Tradition Motor Home, which is known as Vinnie’s Blue Bus and owned by Dealer Auctions Inc. President Vincent Maffucci.