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Sealed with a Kissimmee: Mecum’s monster sale kicks off US Season

WORDS: NATHAN CHADWICK | PHOTOS: MECUM AUCTIONS

Those seeking to spend after the festive break didn’t have long to wait – Mecum’s 25th anniversary Kissimmee sale in Florida is already well under way, and will run until January 14, 2024. It has got around 4500 vehicles up for grabs, from muscle cars to European exotica, and everything – and we do mean everything – in between.

Whether you have got a yearning for a single-digit-production-number Ferrari, a mighty muscle car produced in minute quantities, a modern hypercar or a one-off custom creation, Mecum has it all and more. A good example of this diversity comes from one collection, that of Jim Walker. While Walker loved his Chevrolets, from Bel Airs to Corvettes, his 13-strong collection also features two custom Fords and a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster.

However, it is the Ferraris that will really raise an eye – and there are plenty of those up for grabs.

This 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/LM Competizione Speciale is one of just three produced. Chassis 06701 was assigned to SEFAC for testing, and remained in the factory’s care for development and homologation purposes until 1965. It was then sold to privateer racer Pietro Ferraro, who was only allowed to buy it if he agreed not to race it due to issues with homologation. In 1969 stewardship passed to Alessandro Gregori of Vicenza, Italy, who kept the car for just two months before selling to Colonel EB Wilson in London.

In 1971 it was sold to Michel Jacques Poberejsky, also known in racing circles as Mike Sparken. It would live with Poberejsky in Boulogne-Billancourt, France for the next 25 years. Brandon Wang acquired the Ferrari 1995, and set upon a three-year restoration, before selling the car in 1999 to John McCaw’s Cavallino Holdings in Seattle. In 2004 it was bought by Christopher Cox of North Carolina, and it’s had two further owners since. An estimate hadn’t been released at the time of writing.

This 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder is the ninth of just ten examples sold by Luigi Chinetti, and the last one imported. It was first sold to Dr Michael Serman of Rye, New York, and was photographed prior to a Can-Am race at Bridgehampton with Stirling Moss riding on the back of it during a parade lap. Serman and his son covered 47,000 miles in chassis 10749 over the next ten years, before selling it to Joe Namnoun of Connecticut in 1977. During the 1980s the car was in the stewardship of Robert Solomon, and then Bruno Bori, before it was restored by Bob Shanahan in 1989. It was photographed for the Road & Track Special Ferrari issue in 1991, and was later owned by San Diego Padres owner John Moores.

Moores restored the car with Junior Conway’s House of Color in California, after which it competed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1995 and Rodeo Drive in 1997. Moores donated the car to raise money for The Scripps Research Institute in 1998, with McCaw of Cavallino Holdings taking stewardship in 1998. By 2002 it was owned by Carlos Hank Rhon of Mexico, and four years later Clive Beecham of England acquired the car and displayed it at several UK and European concours. In 2014 ownership passed to The Rare Wheels Collection in Florida, and has since been a regular on the American concours circuit. No estimate had been released at the time of writing.

This 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder is chassis 4137GT, the last example of the breed built. It made its way to the US in March 1963 courtesy of Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York, before being shipped to US West Coast distributor Charles Rezzaghi Motors in San Francisco. Its first owner was Andre Aldeghi of Minnesota, who’d keep it until 1972. After a short spell in the stewardship of Colin Bach of Atherton, California, it was sold to Jerry Fiorito of Juanita, Washington, who’d maintain ownership for 25 years.

The car was acquired by Bill Foss of California in 1999 and restored by Patrick Ottis over the next two years. It subsequently passed to Bill Grimsley, who then sold it to the former president and CEO of Yahoo, Tim Koogle, in 2005. Robert Harris of Utah acquired the car in 2007, before selling it to Joe Lacob, the owner of the Golden State Warriors NBA basketball team, a year later. A spell in a private collection followed from 2010, and since 2013 the 250 GT has been in the care of the Rare Wheels Collection in Florida, and shown widely on the US concours circuit.

Other Ferraris of note in the Mecum sale include the sixth of 200 275 GTS models built, one of 22 long-wheelbase Series II 400 Superamerica Coupé Aerodinamicos, the first of just six 275 GTB/4s originally painted in black, a 1958 250 GT Tour de France with Italian hillclimb-winning history (chassis 0899 GT, pictured above), and one of four 212 Inter 2+2 Berlinas bodied by Ghia. Newer rare Ferraris include a 2005 575M Superamerica, three 512 BBis, one of six Enzos finished in Grigio Titanio and two US-specification F40s.

Fancy something distinctly un-Ferrari? How about a road-going version of the car that (eventually) broke Maranello’s stranglehold on Le Mans? This 1966 Ford GT40 Mk1 is one of 30 road cars produced, and was delivered to its first owner – Italian Antonio Allecce – with options such as a high-pressure oil pump, a race exhaust system in addition to the road set-up, and a spare wheel and tyre. Its next owner was Targa Florio, Carrera Panamericana and Sebring 12 Hours winner – and Ferrari driver – Umberto Maglioli.

After driving a GT40 alongside Bob Bondurant at the 1965 Le Mans 24 Hours, he fell in love with the car and just had to have a road-going version. He would, however, use the Ford very little, and he eventually sold it to Augusto Coli, near Como. Coli would keep the car for 15 years, before selling it to a German owner via a dealer in London; it would subsequently be shown at the Nürburgring Museum for several years. Another West German owner then took ownership, entrusting it to Ruf Automobiles of Porsche-fettling fame for a full restoration.

If you prefer your American muscle with a Chevrolet flavour, Mecum has paired the first and last Corvette L88s, offered from the 60-strong collection of muscle cars of Rick Treworgy. The 1967 drop-top is recognised as the first production L88, and the only L88 Convertible to be finished in Tuxedo Black. It was raced by Tony DeLorenzo and Jerry Thompson in 1967, with a second place in the 1967 Daytona Beach SCCA run-offs being a highlight of the year. The 1969 Coupe, meanwhile, is recognised as the last L88 built, rolling off the production line on December 4, 1969. It’s had a body-off restoration by L88 specialist Jim Thorpe, and it still has its matching-numbers 427ci/430bhp V8.

There are many rare Corvettes up for grabs including a 1972 ZR1 – the only Rally Red-on-Red 1967 L88 – a 756hp Pratt and Miller 2008 C6RS and the personal cars of GM styling bosses Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell. There are also no fewer than 28 split-window Corvettes on offer…

However, if you’re looking for a collectable Chevrolet that’s a little different, how about the only Baldwin Motion Camaro built with the LS7 454ci/525bhp V8 engine (pictured above)? It carries an estimate of between $850k and $950k.

For those of a Mopar disposition, there’s plenty to get stuck into, including an impressive 16 Plymouth Superbirds and eight Hemi Cudas, although our attention has been taken by the above 1968 Road Runner, which started life with a 383/335bhp V8. Three years ago, however, it was treated to the 17th of 100 426ci Hellephant crate engines produced, which means it’s packing 1000bhp and 950lb ft of torque. It’s also had plenty of upgrade work to the suspension, transmission and braking systems. It’s covered just 1373 miles since the conversion.

On the subject of customs, one of the more poignant builds to cross the block is this car – CadMad. It originally began life as the 85th of 99 Pininfarina-designed Cadillac Eldorado Broughams, and would be the subject of Steve Barton’s bid to win the Ridler Award, the custom car world’s leading competition. His idea was to convert the Eldorado into a two-door shooting brake, using a Chevrolet Nomad to provide the rear glasshouse. Prepared by Super Rides by Jordan, the body was shortened by 18in and narrowed by 4.5in. Two inches were removed from the lower part of the body to provide a streamlined profile, while the doors were custom built.

The engine, meanwhile, is a 632ci/1025bhp twin-turbocharged V8 that’s designed to run on race fuel, while the interior has custom electronics, leather and wood, with hand-painted hard surfaces. The centre console was also hand-built, and there’s a bespoke wooden cargo floor. The process took 15 years, 4000 hours and $2.3m, but sadly Barton passed away just before the project’s completion. His brother Craig finished the build, and CadMad went on to win the Ridler Award in 2019. It’s estimated at $450k to $500k.

To wrap up our preview, here’s a rare tuner special from Vittorio Strosek. One of 427 964 Speedsters built for the US, it was specified in special-order Maritime Blue. It was then delivered to Strosek to be turned into one of 15 Mega Speedsters, with a custom black-and-blue interior, an upgraded suspension system and OZ Racing wheels. It’s estimated at between $300k and $350k.

Other Porsche highlights include an ex-French market, Canepa-tuned Porsche 959, a Singer 911 with a 4.0-litre Ed Pink engine, and one of five 914-6s built by Brumos Racing in the 1990s.

Where to watch

If you can’t make it to the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, you can watch the auction action via MotorTrend TV and MotorTrend+ – more details are available here and here. For more details on the auction itself, head here.