If you think about it, Mecum’s 2021 Indy auction was already a miracle as it was at the trailing end of the Great Pause. It was a mystery just what numbers it would bring, but it achieved $107 million by the time the final gavel banged down. 2022’s Indy auction would have had a lot to live up to, especially since it marked a celebration of the 35 years Mecum has auctioned in Indianapolis and Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic.
Collectors brought out cars that were worthy of being raced on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway circuit at some point in its history. Ray Evernham brought a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster and several racing or race-able cars in his collection. Evernham’s collection was a huge success, with multiple vehicles sold for more than $800,000, with some topping the $1 million mark. The top earner for both Evernham and Mecum was the 1965 Brawner Hawk Ford Indy Car driven by racing legend Mario Andretti with the “Dean Van Lines Special” livery. It would end up crossing the block at $2.2 million and the highest seller of the day. In fact, Evernham took two of the Top 10 highest sellers, as the aforementioned 300 SL would cross the block as the second highest seller at $1.375 million.
Corvettes and Indy just go hand-in-hand thanks to several generations of Corvettes pacing the Indy 500 field since 1978. Dr. Richard Foster had built a collection of these factory made and Indianapolis Motor Speedway-approved replica cars that spanned from that very first Corvette pace car up until the 2022 C8. At 80 years old, Dr. Foster looked to retire this collection the right way at the 2022 Indy auction just before the 106th running of the Indy 500. His collection of true and faithful pace cars netted him $1.37 million.
One of the cars we took a look at in our coverage leading up to the Indy auction was a 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona from the Motor City Muscle Collection. It would end up being the most valuable Hemi Daytona ever sold at auction when it crossed the block for $1.32 million, while the grand total of the 11 cars would break $3.8 million.
Another we looked at was a more recent, but equally valuable vehicle: a 2019 Ford GT Carbon Series. This modern take on the Ford GT was already spectacular, but the Carbon Series took it further with 39 pounds worth of lightening. It was also unique for its stripe job, in which the two main stripes that raced from the front of the hood to the rear of the car were exposed carbon fiber. Weight reduction came from using titanium lugnuts, titanium exhaust tips, and a lighter glass used for the car’s hatch. Originally sold for around $500,000, depending on options, this Carbon GT crossed the block for $1.21 million or about 142 percent over the potential original asking price. That owner made a really good investment.
Finally, we look at a Corvette of which only two were made, a 1971 Chevrolet Corvette ZR2 Convertible. The ZR2 package was only offered for 1971 and only 12 were ever sold. With just 8,702 miles on the odometer, not only is this the rarest of the rare Corvette ZR2s, it’s also the lowest-mileage ZR2 known to exist, and it’s also the only ZR2 that hasn’t been restored. With all of this knowledge, you’d expect this ‘vertible ‘Vette would cross the block in a big way, and it did—coming in at $962,500.
Overall, however, the nine-day Mecum Indy auction was a resounding, pulling in a total of $126.5 million, an 18 percent increase over 2021. Over 90 percent of all offerings were sold, with over 80 percent of the 2,504 vehicles crossing the auction block with winning bids. It was also a show of just how much has changed since Dana Mecum hosted his first Original Spring Classic auction at the Indiana State Fair Grounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, 35 years ago. From his first start to now hosting multi-million dollar auctions that people from all over the world attend, it’s been an incredible journey for Mecum and his company. It’s also an appropriate celebration of their 35th anniversary at Indy—and its 40th is only a short five years away. How many more records will Mecum set in that time? We don’t know for sure, but that auction is going to have even more to live up to thanks to the big results at 2022 Mecum at Indy.
All images provided by Mecum Auctions