Harrisburg 2019 was the first Mecum Auction event the Guys With Rides team attended and our first impressions were pleasantly surprising.  To start, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg provides one million square feet of under-roof, air conditioning space that was welcomed on what turned out to be a very humid day.  Now in its sixth year, Mecum Harrisburg is now one of the Auction company’s most successful venues.  Hoping to grow the event even more, Mecum added Wednesday as a fourth day with the target of offering a number of affordable classic cars with a hammer price of $10,000, many of which were offered at No Reserve.

After finding a nice pair of seats just a few rows back from the auction block, I struck up a conversation with a friendly gentleman named Joe.  When I asked Joe what car he was interested in bidding on, he coyly replied, “Oh, I’m not sure yet.”  I made a mental note to never play poker with Joe as he gave me the impression he had his game face on.  Within the first 90 minutes of the auction, he confirmed my suspicion.

Joe successfully bridged the bargains of Mecum Harrisburg’s Day One early offerings with the continued value pricing of C4 Corvettes to become the winning bidder on not one, but three, 1986 examples!  Joe first scooped up a 1986 Maroon over Gray leather convertible with just under 40,000 miles for $7,000.  A short time later, Joe was the winning bidder on a 1986 Silver Coupe for $5,750.  Finally when Joe won a second 1986 Coupe for $7,500, he proudly stated with a laugh, “Okay, that’s enough. I’m done for the day!” So, for a total of $22,275 ($20,250 for the Corvettes plus $2,025 for Mecum’s Buyer’s Premium) Joe walked out of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex the proud owner of three nice 1986 Corvettes.  When I asked Joe what he planned to do with three 1986 Corvettes, he simply replied, “Flip Them.”  Not a dealer, Joe buys and sells cars as a hobby and plans to have all three consigned at the huge Classic Car Auto Mall located in Morgantown, Pennsylvania. The following is an analysis of the three 1986 Corvettes Joe purchased.

Despite being widely acclaimed for its increased performance and handling over the date 15 year old C3 it replaced, C4 Corvette (produced from 1984 through 1996) prices, particularly the ’84-’91 250 horsepower L98 versions, remain low enough to be considered the entry-level version.  The big news for 1986 was the availability of a Convertible Corvette for the first time since 1975.  The following table summarizes current values based on condition for the 1986 model year:

Source: Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool as of August 1, 2019

Here’s a summary of the three examples Joe purchased at Mecum Harrisburg:

1986 Corvette #1:  Lot #W20 – Offered at No Reserve: 1986 Corvette ConvertibleHammer Price: $7,000:  This bone stock maroon over gray leather automatic-equipped convertible has just under 40,000 miles and featured a new black cloth top, rubber seals, and a well-executed repaint of the car above the belt line to repair bad clear coat.  It was a nice color combination that looks like new.  This lot was an excellent example of how poor catalog pictures can hold a car back as this Corvette looked like new when viewed in person.

1986 Corvette #2:  Lot #W39 – Offered at No Reserve: 1986 Silver Corvette CoupeHammer Price: $5,750:  This silver coupe featured the rare standard cloth seats and an automatic transmission in addition to power steering and power brakes.  The lot description also stated this Corvette features an aftermarket stereo and new interior carpet.  The fresh silver paint looked well executed and we particularly like how the five-spoke wheels from a later C5 Corvette update the look of this car.  The L98 350 cubic inch engine was nicely detailed and we note there appears to be an aftermarket exhaust not mentioned in the car’s description that brightens the rear end of the car as well as sounding much throatier than stock.

1986 Corvette #3:  Lot #W61 – Offered at No Reserve: 1986 Yellow Corvette CoupeHammer Price: $7,500:  Personally, the only car I ever thought looked good in yellow are C3 Corvettes and yet this hue on this C4 also works, especially with the optional glass targa top this car features.  Other than the standard cloth seats, this car was a well-optioned example.  The aftermarket door sills and yellow center console cushion may not be for everyone, but those can be easily corrected.  

Joe landed three nice C4s that will be welcome at any local Corvette Club meet.  We plan to keep in touch with Joe to learn how he does selling his three Corvettes and will keep this post updated with the news.  Good luck with the purchases Joe!