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Late Model Domestic Performance Stars at Mecum Kissimmee 2019

Recently, classic vehicle insurer, Hagerty, shared their data indicates Gen Xers and millennials are seeking quotes more often than baby boomers and pre-boomers by a roughly 53-47 percent margin. OEM’s are cranking out limited production specialty vehicles. Consequently, collector car auctions aren’t limited to vintage automobiles anymore.

While this may not amount to news for some, it has been a visibly growing trend. January is quickly approaching and plays host to many large collector car auctions, including Mecum’s Kissimmee sale which is held in Florida, January 3-13.

The auction has over 3,500 vehicles slated to cross the block. Among them are many classic cars, late-model exotics, but a few domestic performance cars caught our eye.

2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Convertible

Corvette fans have benefitted from the tremendous performance renaissance seen in recent years. A focus has been placed on this combination of immense horsepower with athletic agility which is reflected in the 2019 Corvette ZR1.

With 755 horsepower, the ZR1 is regarded as the fastest and most capable production Corvette to date. It features radical aerodynamics and computer-controlled active suspension.

The LT5 engine resides under a carbon fiber cover, while the front fascia makes use of five gulping air  inlets into the radiators positioned to cool various systems. An extended front spoiler makes up for the resulting loss in downforce, and the large rear wing balances the effect at the rear.

The example offered at Mecum’s January sale is seen in a Sebring Orange Design package that includes orange brake calipers, accent stripes, seatbelts, and interior stitching, as well as other interior trim seen in exclusive bronze aluminum.

The ZTK Track Performance Package incorporates a stiffer chassis, unique suspension tuning and Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires on unique carbon flash-painted aluminum wheels.

Offered with the optional 8-speed automatic transmission, the deluxe interior trim of the 3ZR Premium Equipment Group and the performance data and video recorder with navigation, this C7 ZR1 is truly a unique car.

1985 Pontiac Trans AM Kammback Concept 

Wagons are timeless and Mecum is offering this Kammback Concept Experimental Prototype EX4796, a specially built 1985 Pontiac Trans Am at the Florida sale. The wagon is one of four made to study and promote a GM Design concept with roots going back to the original Nomad Motorama show car. EX4796 also served as a test mule and demonstrator.

The Trans Am Kammback Concept was featured at auto shows and received a cover feature in the August 1985 issue of “Motor Trend” magazine. Consequently, it was extensively optioned with the 5.0L H.O. V8 engine, 5-speed manual transmission, and came equipped with factory air conditioning, power steering, and power brakes, power windows and door locks, cruise control, padded Formula steering wheel on a tilt column, AM/FM stereo cassette, Trans Am painted spoked wheels and, of course, glass T-tops.

Like previous Kammback prototypes, the concept was dropped from consideration after 1985, and the car was retired to the Pontiac Engineering Collection where it sat for 13 years.

EX4796 was rescued from the crusher when Detroit-area Pontiac dealer and collector John McMullen was able to purchase it from Pontiac for his private collection. While in his care, McMullen turned the car over to Pontiac specialist Scott Tiemann’s Supercar Specialties for a meticulously detailed professional restoration. Upon completion, EX4796 was sold to the John O’Quinn Collection in 2007.

It remains in as-new condition, its white paint complemented with a Dove Grey leather-trimmed interior, the engine compartment, undercarriage, and custom rear cargo area all exhibiting the same careful attention to detail and finishing. Documented with a binder chronicling its history with additional information from Pontiac Historical Services, EX4796’s recent appearances include an invitation to the 2015 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s and in a unique lobby display at the November 2015 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals in Chicago.

2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 

While the Dodge Demon proved to be a one-time release with limited production, this particular example, Serial No. 43, offered at Mecum’s Kissimmee sale was built for Richard Petty. This car now shows just 372 miles since new.

Under the hood, this Demon features the factory’s supercharged and intercooled 6.2-liter Hemi V8 engine. This specialty powerplant has an iron block, aluminum heads and port fuel injection producing a staggering 808 horsepower.

The engine has a factory engine-oil cooler and is backed by the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with factory transbrake and the highway-friendly 3.09 mechanical limited-slip differential. This combination is docile yet it will push the speedometer high into the triple-digit range if the desire is there.

Riding on quality Bilstein shocks, the suspension has hollowed front and rear anti-roll bars, multi-link rear suspension with coil springs, speed-sensing power steering and the line lock, launch assist and Drag-Mode suspension when you decide to get serious. Lightweight 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and vented rotors are in place for the other end of that effort.

The outside is finished in Pitch Black, with the accompanying black interior featuring red seat belts and the Comfort Audio Group that includes heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, power tilt/telescopic column, bright pedals and the 18-speaker audio system. With black 18-inch aluminum wheels and Demon-branded Nitto performance tires, its image is complete.

1980 Mercury Cosworth Capri

This is the only 1980 Cosworth Capri produced. It came as the result of a joint effort between McLaren Engines, and the Mercury Marketing Corp. of America. This Capri was created shortly after the M-81 Mustang, an experiment in emissions-legal performance, however, the Mercury Cosworth Capri was never intended to be sold to the public.

As such, it was developed with an engine so close to Formula-Atlantic spec, and falls 30 hp short with its 186 horsepower dry-sump-lubricated 1.6-liter BDA Cosworth DOHC inline 4-cylinder engine. The engine wails like few others due to its 2-inch dual exhaust system and 45 DCOE Webers.

A ZF 5-speed manual transmission sends the power to a locking differential rear end, and when everything conspires at once, the car will sprint from 0-60 MPH in about 6 seconds flat. Not earth shattering, but remember two things: one, it was fed by dual Webers that, along with several internal modifications, made the car more of a puller at higher RPMs; and two, it’s a 4-cylinder pulling a 2,500-pound body around.

For 1980, it was a major accomplishment. Built by Ford Motor Company with custom, all-steel bodywork by Ron Fournier, the Capri is not for those seeking to blend in, but then again, it is a race car in street car clothing.

Having covered only 468 miles from new, it’s been held by the same collector since 1995, and it was featured in Ron Fournier’s “Metal Fabricator’s Handbook” and a 1981 issue of “AutoWeek” magazine (included with the sale). If the engine under the hood wasn’t enough, the Cosworth Capri was an exceptional study in handling with Koni F81 shocks, wide Firestone tires wrapping three-piece, gold-center BBS wheels, and bodywork that ensured the winds worked with the car to keep it glued to the ground.

The original tires and wheels are still on the car. Presented in bright red with a black leather interior, the Recaro seats are heated, and the vitals are delivered by way of Stewart Warner gauges. Complete with copies of previous titles, period photographs, Ford Motorsports postcards and an Elite Marti Report, this is indeed one of the most unique automotive experiments within the past 40 years.

2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS

This 2018 Camaro SS has been donated by Petty’s Garage with proceeds to benefit Victory Junction, an 84-acre camp that enriches the lives of children with serious illnesses by providing life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering at no cost to the children or their families.

Victory Junction was the dream of Adam Petty, a fourth-generation race-car driver from the Petty family. After Adam tragically lost his life in a racing accident, his friends and family came together to realize his vision of a camp to serve children with serious medical conditions.

Produced at Lansing Grand River Assembly, the current-generation Camaro is the first to be produced in the U.S. since the early 1990s. With only 54 miles on the odometer, this 2018 Chevrolet Camaro SS looks just as remarkable now as it did when it left Richard Petty’s Garage. Sporting Petty’s Garage window etchings, badges and a race-inspired spoiler, this Camaro debuted as a display car at the Westgate Technologies booth at SEMA in 2018.

The exterior, clad in blue/black accenting with Petty markings, boldly defines the Camaro brand’s racing legacy. A JLT true cold-air intake and a Magnaflow cat-back exhaust system work together to enable the LT1 V8 to turn out as much horsepower as it can.

Riding on Continental Extreme Contact sport tires, this Camaro is ready to hit the open road or track. The interior of this Camaro is just as impressive as the rest of the car. The Avery Dennison vinyl was professionally installed by APE wraps, a premier digital graphics and wraps company. This vinyl also incorporates designs printed by OKI’s Color Painter M-64, a precision high-quality graphics-design printer.

1993 Dodge Viper RT/10 Roadster

This is one of the 1,043 Dodge Vipers produced in 1993, part of the first body release of Chrysler’s sporty snake. The Viper was a raw exercise in horsepower that required respect from its driver. The odometer reads 10,635 original miles and the car was delivered new to Joliet Dodge, in Joliet, Illinois.

Power comes from a Lamborghini-engineered 8.0-liter V10 engine rated with 400 horsepower. The made use of some of Chrysler’s existent engine technology. Bright red paint adds to its attraction while side-exit exhaust pipes are blended into the rocker areas. Behind the engine is a 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive gearing capable of soaring the car to high MPH limits. This is aided by power steering and 4-wheel power disc brakes.

With a limited production window beginning in late 1992, this was the first full year for building Vipers, and as such, minimal options were offered. The exterior paint is in a rich Viper Red with a black soft top over the gray leather interior.

Inside are well-placed podded white-face gauges, an AM/FM stereo with cassette player and a race-derived steering wheel, all as standard equipment. The top and side curtains are removable for a true roadster feeling. The car rides on three-spoke 17-inch aluminum wheels, with Viper logo centers.

Sold here with its window sticker, books and a copy of its original MSO, this Viper is a machine whose appearance electrified the automotive marketplace. 

For more information, see Mecum Auctions. 

About the author

Nicole Ellan James

As an automotive journalist and avid car enthusiast, Nicole Ellan James has a passion for automotive that is reflected in every aspect of her lifestyle. Follow Nicole on Instagram and Facebook - @nicoleeellan
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