Shelby cars dominated in Indianapolis with two seven-figure examples at the top of the list

The History of Mecum Auctions goes back to 1988 at the Rockford Airport, where the first Mecum Auction was held. Over the last 28 years, Mecum has grown tremendously, now being ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for collector cars offered at auction, collector cars sold at auction, total dollar volume of sales, and the largest number of auction venues. On top of that, it has become the host of the world’s largest collector car auction that is hosted every year in Florida.

This last week, Mecum hosted an auction in Indianapolis, Indiana at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. This year there was a total of 1,859 lots that included plenty of collector cars, a few gas pumps, some neon signs, and even a few coin-operated kid rides. The big news from this auction, however, was the pair of Shelby Cobras that broke seven digits before the hammer dropped and a few other classics that are well worth taking an extra look at.

We’ve taken the time to cover the biggest sellers from the auction as well as a few of those that didn’t sell at all. There was even a 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Pro Stock that got as high as $750,000 but didn’t get quite high enough to cross that thin reserve line. That was just one of many that didn’t sell, and those two Shelby Cobras weren’t the only models that found new owners last week. So, let’s take a look at a few of the most notable vehicles that went under the hammer last week.

The Big Sellers

1967 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster (Lot No. F124)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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This time around, this 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra Roadster was the top seller, commanding $1,100,000 before the hammer finally dropped. This car came with full documentation of ownership history, original leather interior, and the original owner’s manual. At the time of the auction, it had just 20,195 miles and was still sporting the original 427 big block V-8 and the standard four-speed transmission. At one point the original wheels were replaced with Halibrand knock-off wheels, but aside from that, the car was found to be almost completely original. In 2008, the body paint was stripped, revealing all original body panels and the car was repainted in the original Wimbledon White finish by Ferrari expert Bob Smith of Bob Smith Coachworks.


1964 Shelby 289 Cobra Roadster (Lot No. F163)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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Originally estimated to go for as little as $800,000, this 1964 Shelby 289 Cobra Roadster was the second highest seller with a final bid of $1,000,000. It is number 271 of 453 street models built with the Hi-Po 289/271 V-8 and was originally purchased by Elmer Carl Kiekaefer – the founder of Mercury-Kiekhaefer Outboard Motor Company that later became Mercury Marine. It was purchased with “Class A” Accessories that include things like 5.5-inch wire wheels, a dash-mounted rearview mirror, radio, antenna, wind wings, and chrome bumperettes, among other things.

It was sold after being driven just 1,800 miles to a Michael Gallagher, who in turn, sold it in 1990 to NHRA World Champion Bruce Larson. By 2003, the car was once again sold to Barry Smith of Roaring Spring who asked Cobra restoration expert Dave Wagner from Detroit, Michigan to return the car to its original specification. It has been collector owned since 1990 and is listed in the Shelby Registry. Needless to say, it’s a small timeless piece of Shelby history that is obviously worth seven figures.


1965 Shelby GT350 Fastback (Lot No. F125)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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The Shelby GT350 you see here was Serial No. 41, which means it was one of the first built for the initial SCAA homologation run of nearly 100 cars and one of the first produced at Shelby’s facility at the Los Angeles International Airport. It’s been documented with full ownership history in the Shelby registry and was even featured in the February 1992 issue of Mustang Illustrated Magazine. It has a trunk-mounted battery, early production fiberglass hood, 16-inch wood-rimmed steering wheel, black interior, Wimbledon White exterior, and was restored to concours-quality by Sports Car Service Center out of Tempe, Arizona.

Custom paint was later applied by Squeeg’s Kustoms in Chandler, Arizona. As part of the sale, the car comes complete with two Shelby LAX invoices, two shipping invoices, warranty repair invoices, and an original owner’s manual signed by none other than Carroll Shelby. The two-digit serial number corresponds with the Shelby American factory records. Originally expected to sell for between $350,000 and $400,000, this baby got a new home for the price of $500,000.


1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda (Lot No. S129)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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Now that we’re past the show-stealing Shelby models, the fourth highest seller was this 1970 Hemi Cuda. It was expected to sell for $425,000 to $525,000 and just barely nailed the expectation, pulling in a decent $425,000. This car, however, is a little unique compared to the high-sellers we’ve discussed so far.

This baby is unrestored, which means it is exactly as it was when it left the factory back in 1970. To verify this type of “originality,” the car was even inspected personally by renowned Mopar and Hemi expert, Roger Gibson of Scott City, Missouri. Even the 426 Hemi Engine and Super Track Pak are 100-percent original, and it was purchased from the original owner in 2015, which makes this car a very rare gem. All told, the car came complete with two factory broadcast sheets, an original title, original paint, disc brakes, Original Deep Burnt Orange Metallic paint with black interior, an original trim tag, warranty book, owner’s manual, and just 10,945 original miles on the odometer. Just imagine owning a car like this and driving it an average of 243.22 miles per year. I don’t know which is the bigger crime – driving it that little or deciding to sell it.

1972 Ferrari Dino GT (Lot No. F243)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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It wouldn’t be a real auction if there wasn’t a Ferrari in there somewhere, right? Well, this one came in as the fifth priciest model to roll out of Mecum with a new owner. It’s a 1972 Ferrari Dino GT, but unlike the other high-priced sellers, there isn’t much of a huge back story on this one. It does have the 2.4-liter, six-cylinder engine that shows matching numbers, and did receive a Platinum Award in 2013.

Prior to being brought to Indianapolis for auction, the car went through an extensive mechanical service that included a full engine rebuild. It is listed in the registry and has the original color the car was sold in. Included with the sale were the books, tools, and emergency jack that came with the car. It also included Daytona seats, air conditioning, and power windows. It sold for $310,000. It might not have a cool back story, but at least the new owner knows that the car is mechanically sound and ready to live on another 40-plus years.

1967 Shelby GT350 Fastback (Lot No. F127)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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This beauty came from the Joe McMurrey Collection and is one of only 35 GT350s that were factory equipped with a Paxton supercharger. It was completed on May 11, 1967 and was shipped to Robie Ford Sales in Dorchester, Massachusetts. All told, this is a fine specimen that comes with a copy of the original Shelby invoice, order form, supercharger memo, and Marti Report. At one point it was restored professionally by Curt Vogt of Cobra Automotive and features factory correct Nightmist Blue with Black interior, rechromed front and rear bumpers, correct red oxide primer floors, correct shocks, springs, and sway bars, the original wood steering wheel, and Shelby 10-spoke wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich radial tires.

On top of all that, it has the center-mounted driving lights, power steering, front disc brakes, and the original owner’s manual. It was once owned by Shelby expert Tony Branda and is one of only three Paxton GT350s listed in the Shelby registry. It was estimated to sell in the neighborhood of $275,000 to $350,000, commandeered a cool $285,000 by the time bidding was done.


1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback (Lot No. F117)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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The 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback that you see here was part of a low-production special to homologate the 429 cubic-inch “Semi-Hemi” engine for NASCAR. It is Kar Kraft No. 1808 and is just one of 93 Boss 429 Fastbacks that came in Raven Black from the factory. Under the hood is a matching numbers 429 cubic-inch engine bolted up to a four-speed transmission, with a 3.91 Traction-lok rear end transmitting power from the driveshaft to the rear wheels.

It features the original interior (with the exception of the carpet,) original sheet metal for the front fenders, rear quarters, hood, roof, and trunk lid, front chin spoiler, and a Philco AM radio mounted in the dash. This multiple-award-winning Mustang was estimated to go for between $250,000 and $300,000 but eventually sold for $260,000 when the hammer dropped. Not bad for a pavement chewing machine like this huh?


Failed to Sell

1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Pro Stock (Lot No. F212)


This car was originally used by Sox & Martin racing team during the 1971 NHRA Pro Stock season and was expected to sell for anywhere between $850,000 and $1,100,000. There were plenty of high bidders at the auction, but the best bid this car got was a mere $750,000. It was offered complete with letters of authenticity signed by Ronnie Sox and David Christie, the latter being the fabricator for Sox & Martin’s racing team. That sounds pretty impressive, but there’s more.

The car was autographed by Ronnie Sox after being restored to its original 1971 red, white, and blue “The Boss” livery and was even featured in the book “Million Dollar Muscle Cars.” It has seen victory in Pomona, Gainsville, Dallas, Montreal, Indianapolis, and Ontario during the 1971 season. It features a 426 Hemi high-nickel content block, rare dual plug aluminum heads, and a New process A833 Hemi four-speed. Unfortunately, bidding never got to the estimated selling price, but I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of this Hemi Cuda.

1969 Chevy Camaro ZL1 (Lot No. S208)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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This beautiful ’69 Camaro ZL1 was originally expected to sell for anywhere between $550,000 and $750,000. It is No. 18 of only 69 produced, and one of just 10 that were finished in Code-51 Dusk blue. It was restored by muscle-car specialist Dave Tinnell and was most recently displayed as part of the Brett Torino Collection. It is one of the few that still have the original 427 cubic-inch ZL1 V-8 and has a fully documented ownership history from the time it was purchased from Tamson Chevrolet in Danville Virgina.

It was originally one of 50 ZL1 models ordered by Fred Gibb but was eventually sent back to GM unsold before being sent to Tamson Chevrolet. On top of all this, the car is recognized in the Camaro Community as the U.S. Camaro Club Raffle car for the Camaro’s 25th birthday. On the day of auction, the highest bid offered was $600,000, which was $50,000 higher than the low estimate, but the car went on unsold, unable to attain any other bidding during its short time under the hammer.

1969 Chevy Corvette L88 Convertible (Lot No. S149)

2016 Mecum Auction Indianapolis – Recap
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Anybody that knows Corvettes knows that you didn’t check the L88 engine option box unless you had the intent of taking a monster like this to the track. As one of only 116 L88s built in 1969, this car was also equipped with a factory heater – meaning the original owner planned to use it for more than just a track car. To go with the L88 430-horsepower engine, it also came equipped with the M22 Rock Crusher four-speed, a 4.56 rear end with Posi, J56 heavy duty brakes, K66 transistorized ignition system, and an auxiliary hardtop and a black soft top.

It was finished in Fathom Green with matching Dark Green interior. Under ownership of the original buyer, the car took a 6,000-mile trip around Alaska before returning to Michigan and being sold to a new owner that would turn it into a successful track car. It was eventually resold and restored by 1988, the same year it first participated in the Bloomington Gold Special Collection. Originally estimated to command $600,000 to $800,000 under the hammer, bidding topped out at just $500,000 and the car left Indianapolis with the same owner it had when it got there.

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