In the last decade, a cornucopia of collectible Corvettes has sailed past the auction block. Among these Cars, there have been plenty of excellent examples to choose from that any connoisseur would be proud to call his or her own. From nicely restored '53-'62 First Generation roadsters to '63-'67 classic midyears, '68-'74 big-block Stingrays, and even Fourth-, Fifth-, and Sixth-Gen ZR-1s, ZR1s, Z06s, and Grand Sports, the Corvette hobby is filled to its fiberglass brim with collectible-and sometimes very expensive-Cars.
Dollar figures aside, the 2000-2010 Corvette auction (and private sale) marketplace saw an argosy of top-tier Cars go on sale. It's easy to determine which ones were the most expensive, but the question of which ones were the most significant to the Corvette community as a whole is a much more subjective matter.
To learn that answer, we contacted three Corvette-industry experts and asked them to look at Corvette sales since the turn of the millennium (2010 included). We wanted to know which 10 Cars they each felt constituted the most significant sales in the last decade, without regard for seller, sales price, or any personal affiliation they might have with the vehicle.
Terry L. Michaelis is the...
Terry L. Michaelis is the owner of ProTeam Corvette Sales, Inc. and has bought and sold more than 10,000 Corvettes in his storied Career. He began his Corvette love affair almost 40 years ago on a local Car lot, and by the mid-'70s, he was known as the "King" of Corvette aftermarket parts. With collectors hungry for quality Corvettes, Terry and his brother, Fred, formed ProTeam Classic Corvette in 1987, where they have since assembled the world's largest, most dynamic collection of classic Corvettes in the world.
Michaelis is one of the world's leading authorities on classic Corvettes, and his knowledge has been the focus of hundreds of radio interviews and newspaper articles, as well as a long list of industry publications. He continues to lobby for the collector Corvette community with the same passion and affection for over-the-top marketing he had when he bought his first Corvette-a '64 Daytona Blue convertible-in 1971.
Dana Mecum has been involved...
Dana Mecum has been involved in the Car industry his entire life, starting his early automotive Career by selling new Pontiacs and Buicks at his father's business, Mecum Pontiac-Buick in Marengo, Illinois. He established Mecum Auctions in 1988, and as president, his love affair with selling collector Cars and rare vehicles surpasses any new Car sale he's ever made. He started his personal collection in the mid-'90s, focusing on American high-performance, vintage race Cars, and Corvettes. Today, Mecum specializes in the sale of classic, muscle, and exotic Cars, offering an industry-leading 5,000 collector Cars per year.
Ian Kelleher is the president...
Ian Kelleher is the president and chief operating officer of RM Auctions, Inc. Over the years, he has managed the majority of RM's estate and private-collection auctions, including Carail, The Gene Ponder Collection, The John McMullen Collection, The Art Astor Collection, Joe's Garage, the Nick Alexander Woodie Collection, and the Icons of Speed & Style. He's an active participant in the collector-Car hobby, acting as a judge at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, as well as entering Car rallies and collecting cars.
Category 1: Unanimous Decision
(Listed in order of sales price.)
Requirement: In this category are the Cars all three of our experts picked as "a most significant sale in the last decade." (Note: The experts were not allowed to see each other's lists and had to formulate their Top 10 based solely upon their own criteria, excluding price.)
Car: '62 Gulf Oil Race Car
Price: $1.485 million
Sold By: Gooding & Company (August 2008)
Terry L. Michaelis: It's a great historical Car for me personally because I sold it in the '70s for a few hundred dollars as a "thought to be" old drag Car out of my boneyard. Oh my! What a few decades and doing one's research means to significant Corvettes.
Dana Mecum: This is a very significant Car because it is a Dr. Dick Thompson Car that holds a lot of credibility. Thompson, who was known as "The Flying Dentist," drove the Car in the 1962 SCCA-A Production Class, where it finished First in its class a dozen times. It's also got a number of cool options, including an original Motorola two-way radio that let the driver communicate with his pit crew while on the track.
Ian Kelleher: When it comes to important Corvette sales of the last decade, this example nearly tops the list in terms of value, thanks to a wonderful provenance and race history, which saw it surpass its pre-sale estimate when sold in 2008. Delivered to Yenko's dealership for the Gulf Oil racing team, this example was successfully campaigned by Dr. Dick Thompson in the '62 SCCA-A production class, recording 12 first-in-class victories from 14 races-including at both Daytona and Sebring-to claim the season A-Production Championship. At the end of the 1963 season, it was dismantled and sold as a street Car, ultimately becoming the daily driver of a college student, before being discovered, reunited with its racing parts, and returned to race-ready condition. Its winning pedigree, combined with a fully-documented history and a string of awards, including induction into the Bloomington Gold Hall of Fame, all contributed to its strong sales results and make it deserving of its place on this significant sales list.