While the two events were worlds apart in the structure and purpose of their event, they were connected by the same thread – both events had great muscle cars for sale, cars to see, and (better yet) tons of great muscle car people.
Until attending Mecum I had never been to a collector car auction before. I had seen several auctions on TV, but in all honesty, that was about it. I arrived a little after the auction had started – and it was already broadcasting live on HD Theatre. (I DVR’d it to see if I was ever on TV….I wasn’t.) I was instantly impressed. Mecum puts on a great auction. There were a lot of things that had been logistically worked out to keep things moving smoothly – they definitely had their bases covered. The entire building had been transformed to make the cars the stars. At one end of the building was the actual auction block (the part you see on TV), and the remainder of the building was dedicated to car parking. All ‘TV Star’ cars had their own special little place…..and the cars there were creme-de-le-creme (see pictures below).
An interesting thing about the auction itself: if the car being sold was not bid up to it’s reserve the owner had the choice of lifting the reserve (to sell it for whatever it would bring on the spot and hope that the crowd would go crazy), cancel the sale, or put it in the ‘Bid Goes On’ section where people could continue to bid on it, but not as aggressively as they would on the auction block. From my observation, I would say that a good chunk of the reserve cars (maybe 50-60%) ended up in the ‘Bid Goes On’ section. Of those that gambled and lifted the reserve, sometimes they doubled the price of the car, and sometimes it did nothing. The crowd seemed hard to read.
The big money car was a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang – it sold at $195,000. As far as most other muscle cars that went though, the average range was $20,000 to $60,000 depending on the model, rarity, etc. The market has cooled a bit, and if you have the cash now is a terrific time to get a deal on an investment car!
Car Craft Nationals:
Roughly 12 hours after leaving the Mecum auction, the Chevelle, my brother-in-law and I were on our way to St Paul to attend the Car Craft Nationals. (Interesting side note – they say that women always marry someone like their father, but in my wife’s case she married someone like her brother…..a lot like her brother.) We arrived around 11AM and did a slow loop through the Minnesota State Fair Grounds (where the event was held). There were cars and people everywhere. Similar to the GoodGuys show we attended a few weeks ago, this was a lot like going to a State Fair, but one dedicated to cars instead of agriculture. I never did get my cup of chocolate chip cookies though (my favorite food at the fair) – the cars distracted me.
The show was so large it took us roughly four hours to make a full walking “lap” and see everything once. We also went to the event section and took some video of the Autocross, “Launch Box”, and the Burnout Contest (a crowd favorite). See videos below!
Some trip highlights:
- This is the second time I’ve been able to see Randy Johnson of D&Z Customs run his 1966 Chevelle through the autocross. (See video below.) Great car!
- I was finally able to see the Swartz Performance ’65 LeMans in action on the autocross – check it on in the video below!
- We found a real General Lee Charger that was used in the 2005 and 2007 Dukes of Hazzard movies, and it’s the only manual transmission car used in the filming. It’s also the car that did the big drift around Lee circle (click here to see the video). I have spoken with the owner and he has agreed to be a guest on a future podcast!
- There was an Australian Ford XB Falcon Hardtop at the show (see picture below) and is the only one I’ve ever seen in person. It was right-hand-drive and everything! This is the model of car used in the Max max movies with Mel Gibson).
- We met John Barlow of Muscle Car Restorations in Chippewa Falls, WI. They do incredible restoration work and have about 40 cars in process at any one time! We got a chance to see some of their customer cars…..very impressive.
- On the trip home I had to slalom some traffic cones at about 50 mph to avoid taking an off ramp. There was construction being done on the road and it wasn’t completely marked as to which lane was which. I was in the lane that would point me to the west, not the south. By the time I realized that I was in the wrong lane there were only a few seconds to decide what to do. I had traffic behind me, so instead of safely taking the off ramp and turning around later I chose to slalom the Chevelle. It was worth it. My brother-in-law fell off of his seat, but never spilled his Mountain Dew.
Car Craft Nats – Video!
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