Across The Block: Mecum Auctions, Anaheim

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
across the block mecum auctions anaheim

It seems that I have much to learn about the classic car auction scene. A yearly January couch session with beer and remote in hand is clearly not enough to understand how cars go under the gavel. Depending on how I feel like keeping score, I’ve slipped well below the Mendoza line in my two short weeks handicapping vintage auto sales.

Fortunately, I have another chance for redemption this weekend. Once again, Mecum is doing the selling, this time in sunny Anaheim, California. I’m now seriously regretting not flying west to cover this week’s Los Angeles Auto Show.

2000 Corbin Sparrow

Sorry. It’s ugly, I know. But how many other companies best known for making motorcycle saddles start building cars? This is such an interesting little vehicle.

Moviegoers of a certain age might recognize it from Austin Powers in Goldmember:

Otherwise, it’s a pretty basic three-wheel electric commuter.

My guess: $5,000.

1963 Jaguar E-Type Roadster

Always a hit, the early Series 1 E-Types are beloved for the purity of the design — later cars lost the glass-covered headlamps, grew larger bumpers, and had the dashboard toggle switches replaced with plastic rocker switches. In classic British Racing Green, this is sure to be a hit.

I should have one of these in my garage. My dad very nearly bought one in the early 1970s when he lived in New Jersey. But for an unfortunate under-bonnet fire on his test drive, he would have bought it instead of an MGB.

Mercifully, this car has a fire extinguisher in the passenger footwell.

The market for a well-restored (or well preserved original) E-Type is always strong, with early cars consistently bringing well into six figures.

My guess: $145,000.

1959 Volkswagen Samba

I’m likely one of the very few auto enthusiasts who has little desire to drive a VW Microbus. It’s an icon, certainly, as symbol for the free love Sixties, and a supporting cast member in dozens of movies, but I can’t imagine driving one of these for any significant time can be anything but terrifying. Minimal horsepower and a tall, wind-catching profile have to make this slow and scary on the road.

Still, people love them. This one seems to be perfectly restored, and looks possibly better than new. They can bring some serious money if they are right.

My guess: $85,000.

2001 Qvale Mangusta

It sounds so simple – a powerful Ford V8 in a lightweight European roadster. It’s been done plenty of times before, but the ‘90s brought us something completely different. It’s not the prettiest of cars out there, even though De Tomaso designed it, but it’s certainly eye catching. It should be plenty of fun to drive, with a then-current Ford Cobra powertrain. The convertible top is interesting, too — the center section can be removed to reveal a targa-like cockpit, and the rear section can rotate into the trunk.

My guess: $45,000.

Last Week’s Results

Carlisle doesn’t list the top bid price if the car doesn’t sell — which was the case for three of the five cars I looked at last week. The MG TC appears to have been withdrawn from the sale — no results are listed for it.

The only sale of my five picks was the bargain — the 1988 Buick Reatta. I guessed, apparently assuming there was either a gold brick or plenty of fine white powder in the trunk, a whopping $5,000.

It sold for $1,500.

So, please, rip apart my guesses again, and make some picks of your own. We’ll see how things turn out next week.

[Images: Mecum Auction, Inc.]

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4 of 34 comments
  • Ronnie Schreiber Ronnie Schreiber on Nov 18, 2016

    E Types have gotten very expensive, particularly the early cars but it better be very, very nice for $145K. That's a 23 window Samba and they've gotten some silly prices so $85K might be low. Split Window VW Buses are slow and a handful in the wind, but they are fun to drive in their own way. Not very safe, though. Your knees are the front crush zone. My two older kids grew up in them but I wouldn't want them to drive my grandkids in one.

    • See 1 previous
    • -Nate -Nate on Nov 18, 2016

      @Jagboi "Not very safe, though. Your knees are the front crush zone. My two older kids grew up in them but I wouldn’t want them to drive my grandkids in one." . Just so ~ a guy I knew had me resurrect a '57 # 211 3/4 ton Panel Truck and is was rusty at the pinchweld across the front ~ I waned him this was very unsafe in even a minor crash, he ignored me and was traveling about 45 MPH when a stupid woman turned left in front of him, now he only has one leg . . Most older vehicles are serious death traps regarless of condition . . The woman was not only unrepentant, she yelled at him . . -Nate

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Nov 18, 2016

    You need to consult me before you go yellin about $5k

  • Art_Vandelay “Fain also invited President Joe Biden to join the striking workers on the picket line”Yes. Please go on strike Joe. One of this Cosmo Kramer Bagel making strikes that lasts for a decade or so
  • SCE to AUX No sitting President should visit a picket line.
  • Scott So a sled manufacturer makes a sled on wheels. Where is the surprise?
  • Add Lightness I had one of these for a company truck. It was also 2WD thankfully as part-by-part the truck got everything replaced over the course of a year. If it was 4WD, that would have just hurt the company more fixing the extra drivetrain.
  • KOKing I like 2dr SUVs (I'm glad the new Bronco is available w 2 doors; it's MUCH better looking, and I'm finally seeing more of them on the road), but I've seen the Mexico-only 90s Ramcharger a couple of times and it has that same too-big rear window look that these old ones had.