Rare GM Classics offered at Mecum Spring Classic

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Meecum HeaderIt is auction time again and the spring event for Dana Mecum Auctions lists some very interesting, rare, and valuable collector cars among its many consignees. The week-long event, which officially opened Tuesday, May 13 will run until Sunday, May 18 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2014 Original Spring Classic marks the event’s 27th anniversary. It is consistently a well attended event; drawing lots of cars and tons of cash, as well as enthusiasts and collectors from all over the globe. Here are a few of the highlights expected to cross the auction block during this week’s event.


1968 Chevrolet Yenko Camaro SS

Estimated Value: $375,000 to $450,000

68Yenko-CamaroThis Camaro has a unique pedigree in that it was one of sixty-four cars modified by Don Yenko in 1968 but one of only twenty cars that was modified by Yenko minus the heavy-duty engine cooling, heavy-duty braking, and sport tuned suspension system of the 9737 COPO package.

camaro engineThe car was purchased in Mulvane, Kansas at the Branine Chevrolet dealership by Miles Pleasant who sold it to a drag-racer named A.J. Lancaster in 1970. Lancaster immediately prepped the car for racing in the new Pro Stock class of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA). Though the car saw extensive modification, the sheet metal was left intact and Lancaster had the good sense to carefully store all factory components removed during the modification, for restoration at a later date. This included the engine which was replaced by a 7.0-liter with a specially designed dual-tunnel ram intake for competition use. Intentionally deceptive “396” badges were placed on the fenders, which left many competitors wondering why they could not outrun this particular Camaro. Turning the odometer only a quarter of a mile at a time, the Camaro has only 1,304-original-miles on the clock.

1968-Chevrolet-Yenko-Camaro-SSIt has been owned since 1991 by Dr. Vance Shappley. Dr. Shappley worked extensively with noted Yenko historian Vince Emme to restore the car back to original condition, including the Sequoia Green paint and plain black interior. The original 7.0-liter Yenko engine and Muncie M-21 four-speed manual transmission were rebuilt to factory specifications and reinstalled, as was the original 3.73:1 posi-track rear differential. The interior components were removed from storage and replaced, right down to the dash-mounted Stewart-Warner tachometer and AM push-button radio. It even has replica redline tires to further authenticate the car’s appearance. This car’s documented drag-racing pedigree combined with a world-class restoration, and extremely-low mileage makes it one of the truly outstanding Yenko Camaros in existence.


1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS LS6 Convertible

Estimated Value: $350,000 to $400,000

chevelle top downAs a long time Chevelle owner and aficionado, it is obvious that this is one of my favorite cars, ever. It has an aesthetic appeal that is unlike any other automobile, as well as a spacious interior and a history of powerful engine options.


Chevelle engineThe 1970 Chevelle is the most powerful of the lot — if you made the right decision that is — the SS package with the 7.4-liter LS6 engine and M-22 “Rock-Crusher” four-speed manual transmission. If God made a more perfect muscle car, then He kept it for Himself. The LS6 engine, which was grossly underrated at 450-horsepower, featured enormous intake and exhaust valves, a high-lift, high-duration solid lifter racing camshaft, a forged steel crankshaft with strapping four-bolt main-caps, forged steel connecting rods, aluminum pistons, a dual-plane aluminum intake manifold with an 800-cfm Holley 4-barrel carburetor on top,  and specially designed hi-flow cylinder heads.

Chevelle rThe pedigree of this particular car has been tested by experts, as well as modern forensic technology. Noted Chevelle experts Buddy Herin and Mark Meekins of the National Chevelle Owner’s Association have both verified its authenticity and the original build-sheet was examined by a multi-spectral digital imaging camera then sent to a document conservator who has also verified the car’s validity.

chevelle sideIt was professionally restored, by Car Connection in Waco, Texas, where it was painted in beautiful Fathom Blue with White SS stripes, with an Ivory interior and soft convertible top. A cowl-induction hood with chrome hood-pins seems to give the powerful beast a much needed set of flaring nostrils. Soft-ray tinted glass and super-sport wheels with rally-style trim rings and center caps with Goodyear Polyglass raised white letter tires complete the package fit only for the King of Muscle Cars.

The SS package features the 3.31:1 posi-traction rear differential, power steering, F41 sport tuned suspension, and front disc brakes.

The interior is beautifully redone in Ivory with bucket seats, center console, and a power operated convertible top. A tilt-steering column and AM/FM stereo were added with the restoration.


1963 Pontiac Catalina Swiss-Cheese

Estimated Value: $600,000 to $800,000

cataslina rFirst things first: the name “Swiss-Cheese” is taken from the multiple (approximately 120) holes that were drilled through the already lightened frame sections of the car for weight reduction. In 1962,prior to General Motors issuance of a “Racing Ban”, 14 of these ultra-rare cars were created when certain competitive engineers felt that Ford and Chrysler were gaining on Pontiac’s position at the top of the Super-Stock food chain. In addition to the drilled holes, the inside section of the boxed frame rails was cut away, leaving “U” shaped frame rail sections.

catalina engineFurther weight reduction efforts included removal of the front anti-sway bar, an aluminum bell-housing for the transmission, insulation and noise reduction materials were deleted, aluminum body panels were used fir front fenders, inner fenders, splash pans, radiator, hood, bulkhead, bumpers, and brackets. Lightweight plexi-glass windows were also available. Cast iron exhaust systems were replaced with lighter aluminum systems with strategically placed cutouts for increased flow and engine performance. The aluminum exhaust systems proved unreliable due to their tendency to melt under extended usage.

Catalina frThe Swiss-Cheese Catalina was equipped with a state-of-the-art 6.9-liter V8 engine upgraded with Mickey Thompson 13.0:1 pistons, a racing camshaft, lightweight valves in ported and polished cylinder heads, a heavy-duty rotating assembly with a lightweight flywheel, and twin Carter AFB carbs atop a specially designed aluminum high-rise intake manifold. All totaled, the engine produced 410-horsepower and rounded the Catalina’s gross vehicle weight (GVW) out at 3,308-pounds. Shifting was handled via a Borg-Warner three-speed manual transmission with an aluminum tail shaft housing and a posi-traction rear-differential with a final drive gear of 4.30:1 and an aluminum housing were used.

catalina fr 1This particular Catalina gained the most recognition of the 14 that were built. It was sponsored by Packer Pontiac of Detroit and driven by Packer employee Howard Maselles, who set the NHRA C/Stock class record of a 12.27 quarter-mile at 114.64-mph.the car was rediscovered in 1970 by famed Pontiac collector Randy Williams, who restored the car with his good friend Scott Tiemann of Supercar Specialties, completing the project in 2000.

S.M. Darby

S.M. Darby

I am a freelance author with over 25 years of experience as a professional, ASE certified automotive technician and shop owner, muscle car enthusiast, avid street racer, and classic car restoration specialist.