Mecum announced “Big Oly”, Parnelli Jones’ 1969 Ford Bronco Baja 1000 Racer, for its Indianapolis sale in May 2021.
The private car collection of racing driver and team owner Parnelli Jones is on offer at the Mecum Original Spring Collection collector car auction in Indianapolis, USA, in mid-May 2021. The sale will be led by the famed 1969 Ford Bronco Baja 1000 Racer, known as “Big Oly” that won amongst others the famous race twice — it is expected to set a new Bronco auction record. Further cars from the Parnelli Jones Collection in the sale include a 1994 Ford Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Car and the 1974 Parnelli VPJ-4 Chassis 4/002 Formula One car driven by Mario Andretti.
Mecum Indianapolis Sale in May 2021
Mecum scheduled the 34th annual Original Spring Classic auction for May 14-22, 2021, at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
The entire Parnelli Jones Collection will join approximately 2,000 other vehicles and a large assemblage of Road Art offerings at this Mecum flagship event. The format is a live auction with onsite bidding, in addition to telephone and internet bidding.
1969 Ford Bronco Baja 1000 Racer — “Big Oly”
The most recognizable Ford Bronco in the world and the first “supercar” of off-road racing—piloted by one of the most diverse and successful drivers in motorsports history—will be offered for sale to the public for the very first time at the Mecum Indianapolis auction in May 2021. The famed 1969 Ford Bronco Baja 1000 Racer known as “Big Oly”—still owned by its even more famous pilot Parnelli Jones—is likely to set a new auction record for the model. Mecum has not given any price guidance but Hagerty expects a result above a million dollars.
Big Oly is best known for conquering the Baja 1000 course twice in back-to-back victories, and its offering at auction will be another historic moment for the winning Bronco as it crosses the block from Jones’ private collection, along with a handful of other impressive vehicles—including a Formula One Race Car—and a selection of cherished memorabilia items from Jones’ personal office.
Recently honored by the American tuner company Saleen with a tribute version following Ford’s 2021 reintroduction of the Bronco model, Big Oly has a legacy unparalleled by any other off-road racer to come before or after its 1971 and 1972 wins in the world-famous Baja 1000 race held annually on the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico. The Baja 1000 is known to be one of the most prestigious, and most grueling, off-road races in the world, founded in 1967 and consistently attracting competitors and spectators from countries around the globe.
Constructed by Dick Russell and piloted by renowned racers Parnelli Jones and Bill Stroppe in both of its Baja 1000 wins, Big Oly also went on to dominate the Baja 500 and the Mint 400 in 1973, cementing its legacy as the single most significant Bronco-inspired vehicle ever built and the one likely most responsible for the model line’s ultimate commercial sales success.
Parnelli Jones Private Collection at the 2021 Mecum Indianapolis Sale
Jones’ history as a professional race car driver and team owner is extensive; he’s best known for winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1963, and his other most notable career moments include being the first Indianapolis 500 driver to qualify at over 150 MPH in 1962 and winning the race as a team owner in 1970 and 1971 with driver Al Unser Sr. Jones’ race record extends far beyond the brickyard with a roster that also includes sports cars, sprint cars, midget cars, off-road vehicles, and stock cars.
Among other offerings from Jones’ private collection slated to cross the Mecum auction block are two Saleen Mustangs—No. 001 and No. 003 of the Parnelli Jones’ 1970 SCCA Trans Am Championship tribute editions—as well as a 1994 Ford Mustang Indianapolis 500 Pace Car, the 1974 Parnelli VPJ-4 Chassis 4/002 Formula One car driven by Mario Andretti, and an exacting replica of the 1963 Indianapolis 500-winning car known as “Ol’ Calhoun.”
Mecum has of course form with selling seemingly basic nameplates for record prices — a fairly standard 1968 Ford Mustang GT “Bullitt” set a new model record when it sold for $3,740,000 at the Mecum Kissimmee 2020 collector car auction. This result, around $3.7 million higher than Hagerty lists for a similar car in concourse condition, was all due to this car being driven by Steve McQueen in the 1968 movie “Bullitt”.