The Mecum auction has long been an integral part of the annual Bloomington Gold show--hardly surprising given that the Mecum family purchased the Illinois-based Corvette event in 1997. Although the Mecums sold Bloomington Gold last year, new owner Guy Larsen preserved the auction for 2012, albeit it in an abbreviated, one-day (as opposed to the traditional two-day) form.
A total of 143 Corvettes crossed the auction block this year, compared with 213 in 2011. Of those, 62 cars, or 43 percent, went to new owners. This compares favorably with 2011 sales of 87 cars, or 41 percent sold. Unlike last year's event, which featured 23 Corvettes from a single collection, only individual cars were offered this year.
The two biggest draws were an extremely low-mileage '53 and a '69 L88 coupe. The highest offer on the '53 was $200,000, while the L88 brought a high bid of $385,000. Both offers fell short of the car owners' respective reserve prices, however.
Mecum Bloomington Gold is an excellent place to inspect older-generation Corvettes and get an idea of their current market value. Certified cars always bring higher prices, but non-certified cars can be bought at lower prices and enjoyed as "drivers." As always, it's up to the individual buyers to choose how best to invest their money.
The biggest drop in available cars this year was in first-generation (C1) Corvettes. Only 22 were offered, compared with 72 at last year's sale. Eight sold, with the lowest price being $29,000 for a non-accurate '60 model, and the highest a tie between two '62s at $105,000 each. One was factory stock, while the other was a high-quality restomod convertible.
The second generation (C2) saw 36 cars offered to buyers, of which seven sold. This compares with 53 C2s offered at last year's auction. The lowest price was $27,500 for a '64 convertible, and the highest was $115,000 for a '67 Goodwood Green 427/435 drop-top.
The largest group of Corvettes offered for sale was of third-generation (C3) models. A total of 45 were available, and 18 of them sold. This is down from the 67 C3s that crossed the block in 2011. The lowest price was $8,000 for a '72 convertible that was found in a barn and in need of a total restoration. The highest was $49,000 for a one-owner LT-1 convertible with 18,000 original miles on its clock.
Moving on to the fourth generation (C4), a total of 26 cars were offered, and 12 were sold. This compares with the 41 C4s that were available last year. The lowest price was $5,750 for a Dark Red Metallic convertible, while the highest--$32,000--went to a beautiful '96 Grand Sport with 12,000 original miles.
Only 10 fifth-generations (C5) were available, and four of them sold. Last year 25 were offered for sale. The lowest price was $10,500 for an '00 coupe, and the highest was $26,500 for a very low-mileage, fully documented '01 convertible.
Finally, only four sixth-generation (C6) Corvettes were offered for sale; two sold. This is a precipitous drop from last year, when 22 C6s were available for purchase. The lowest price was a surprisingly strong $31,500 for a 13,000-mile '05 Machine Silver convertible. The highest, meanwhile, was $76,000 for a '10 Dark Red Metallic ZR1. This is quite a price drop in two years for this incredible supercar, which stickered for around $108,000 new.
One of the unique features of all Mecum auctions is "The Bid Goes On," which allows cars to be sold after the auction closes. With that in mind, we still might see the '53, the L88, or some of the other notable Bloomington offerings find new homes. In the meantime, we'll look forward to next year's Mecum Bloomington Gold event, which is scheduled for June 27-30 at the show's new site in Champaign, Illinois.