Legendary drag racers come to Florida auction

For vintage drag racing fans, the week-long Mecum Auction that has just started in Florida is going to be a slice of heaven.

For anyone who grew up in the 1960s, the cars represented some of the coolest ever created. They were the stuff of legend.

A collection of drag racers is going up on the block in Kissimmee, most of them next weekend. The collection includes record holders, what comes billed as the first racing Hemi sold to the public in 1964 and a quartet of racing Chevrolet Impala Z11s and Pontiacs before General Motors shut down the program.

"For a lot of high-performance fans, it represented a turning point," says John Kraman, Mecum's consignment director.

Many of the drag racers and other performance cars, 43 in total, were part of a collection owned by grocery executive and former racer himself Don Fezell.

"He has put together the world’s best collection of drag race cars. He is only keeping a handful of cars," Kraman says.

A 1964 Dodge 330 Lightweight dubbed the "Hemi-Honker" set a National Hot Rod Association quarter-mile record of 11.04 seconds at 125.52 miles per hour with its 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8, the first sold in 1964, according to Mecum.

It's expected to fetch $275,000 to $350,000 when it comes up for auction next Saturday.

Then there are cars like the 1963 Chevy Impala Z11 dubbed "Old Reliable IV," which Mecum says is one of 57 produced. It was delivered to a Pennsylvania team, Bill Jenkins and Dave Strickler, who turned it into an awesome racer, with more Z11 wins than any other, according to Mecum. It is expected to bring in $750,000 to $850,000 in next Saturday's auction.

Beyond some the drag racers, among the cars coming up for auction are a lot of famous names in 1960s and early 1970s muscle, including a Plymouth Superbird and Cuda, Dodge Super Bee and several Ford Mustangs.


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