2010 Corvette Buyer's Market - Hammering Forward

Strong Market For High-End And "Driver" Vettes

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What word sums up the market for Corvettes, judging by some of the auction results this year?

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How about "strong." That's what we're seeing, judging by the collector-car auction results in the first half of 2010.

"Vettes are doing very well," says Tom Christmann, marketing manager for the Mecum Auction Company. "At our most recent auction [the Spring Classic in Indianapolis] we sold 64 percent of the Corvettes offered. Our total auction average was 66 percent."

And it wasn't just the high-dollar Corvettes that were selling. "It was the whole range-that was the interesting thing," Tom adds. "We had more than 200 Corvettes offered [at Indianapolis], and it was a little bit of everything, from the AAT conversion to late-model stuff, Midyears, a '67 400 air car and a '56 restomod. It was a little bit of everything, and all of them were selling well." That's especially true of driver-quality Corvettes, ones that have spent more time being appreciated on the road than in the show field. A quick look at the results of Mecum's 2010 auctions shows that they've been selling when they cross the block, just as the big-money cars have.

Speaking of the quality-and big-money-cars, Tom says the market for them hasn't changed. "If you've got a high-end car that's Bloomington Gold certified, or an NCRS Duntov Award winner, those cars still command all the money and do extremely well. The '67 400 air car that sold for $155,000, that's strong money in anybody's book for that kind of car. It shows that good quality cars will still bring the money, and the regular cars will bring the regular money."

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Tom says the strength in the Corvette market is likely to continue through the rest of this year and beyond. "There's no reason to think it won't," he says. "Last year, at the beginning of the year, the market was just a tick soft, and what we saw was that Corvettes were the very last to be hit by the recession. They seem to be the last ones hit, and the first to rebound."

Does that mean if you're looking to buy your first Corvette that now is a good time to do it? Tom says without hesitation, "It's a very good time to be buying. The market would still be on the rebound, so all of the prices are going to go up as a rule. So, yes, it's a great time to try out your first Corvette."

Tom's comments echo what we heard from Mecum Auctions President Dana Mecum earlier this year, at its Kissimmee, Florida, auction. "We hosted a packed house at Kissimmee, which grew immensely in both bidder registration and sales this year. Compared to our 2008 Kissimmee event, our gross sales increased more than 60 percent." He also said that, despite the heavy coverage of the Arizona auctions each year, they aren't the be-all and end-all of winter collector car events. "There are collector cars east of the Mississippi in January," he said. "It's a natural thing. For 40 years, people west of the Mississippi have gone to the Southwest for the winter, and people east of the Mississippi go to Florida for the winter."

Checking the results from Indy, Misterl's Midyear, the '63 specially built for Harley Earl that we brought you in our July '09 issue, was the top seller at Mecum's Spring Classic, selling for $925,000. Other Corvettes reached that Indianapolis event's top-sellers list, with the ex-Doug Bergen/Bob Johnson 8-Ball '66 L72 coupe (with an extensive-and successful-SCCA race history) bringing a $305,000 hammer price, the '67 427/400hp air-conditioned convertible that Tom mentioned finding a new home for $155,000, a '67 Sting Ray two-top convertible (a COPO car with a rare Sunfire Yellow paint/tan interior color combo) going for $130,000, and a restored '68 L88 coupe selling for $150,000.

For updated Mecum auction results, plus info on what will be crossing the block at its upcoming events, log on to www.mecum.com.

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