Mecum auction runs very high -- and a bit low

MONTEREY, Calif.– Sprawling, informal yet thick with vehicles numbered, shining and ready for sale, the Mecum annual August auction here appears to have something for everyone.

With over 700 motor vehicles plus plenty of automobilia, Wisconsin-based Mecum reported a hammer total of $32,148,873 following the three-day sale on the grounds of the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa. Visitors parked far and wide in fields outside the hotel and lucky ones caught golf cart rides to the sales area.

There was “road art” including neon and other signage which was snapped up for from $100 to $1,200. There were affordable cars like a 1978 Mercury Cougar that sold for  $4,500 or the 1959 Riley Saloon that brought $5,500.

And there were many vehicles selling well into the six-figure range.

The top seller appeared to be a 1961 Ferrari 250 Series II Cabriolet. Its buyer paid $2,250,000 for the exotic sportscar. A 1972 McLaren M20 Can-Am brought $2 million.

A 1956 DeSoto Fireflite convertible sold for $140,000; a 1969 Corvette L88 Coupe brought $450,000 and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda had a sale price of $235,000.

One of the disappointments — and probably the most striking of all the cars for sale — was a special-finish 1938 Delage with LeTourneur body. Its spokesman, Kevin Caulfield, said the sleek Delage was one of only eight remaining from a build of 12. It featured a 4.7-liter inline eight and French lacquer technique paint.

Bidding for the Delage climbed to $2.3 million but was rejected. Prior to its turn at the block, Caulfield suggested the owner hoped for $3 million.