When Mecum Auctions arrived in Arizona final 12 months for its second March sale, the timing couldn’t have been worse. On March 11, 2020, the public sale was all set to rock ‘n roll with greater than a thousand collector automobiles on website prepared for 4 days of bidding, when every little thing got here to a grinding halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We began on a Wednesday, and Wednesday evening is when the world type of melted down, when all of the sports activities groups closed down, the nation closed down, so we had three days of public sale left there that have been a bit problematic,” stated Dave Magers, chief govt for Mecum Auctions.
Mecum returns for its third annual Arizona public sale opening at the moment at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, now with a seasoned sport plan for coping with the virus. Mecum resumed stay onsite auctions in June, utilizing a set of security protocols it developed, which not solely has allowed it to carry occasions, with some limitations, however to have a remarkably profitable 12 months within the course of.
“The 12 months that we had, 2020 turned out to be an outstanding 12 months for us,” Magers stated. “We set information at roughly half our occasions, together with our greatest occasions.
“The market’s simply going gangbusters proper now. We’ve seen nothing to trigger us to suppose it’s slowing down, and that leads us proper into Glendale.”
A number of components have brought about Mecum’s boon in collector automotive gross sales, Magers believes, together with pent-up demand and an enhancement of on-line bidding.
“There’s some validity to pent-up demand,” he famous. “Folks sat house for thus lengthy, and so they didn’t have anyplace to go, they didn’t have anyplace to spend cash. Consequently, they may have had just a little pile of money and there’s been a automotive they’ve being wanting for a very long time, in order that they determined that this was the time.”
On-line bidding with stay streaming has introduced an unexpectedly massive variety of new bidders into the fold, Magers added.
“We knew that in a pandemic there could be plenty of on-line bidding, and there was,” he stated. “What stunned us is that 80 % of these bidders are individuals we now have by no means performed enterprise with earlier than. So, the place we thought the net bidding could be people who find themselves usually sitting on the seats and determined to not come, that’s not the case in any respect.
“The individuals who usually sit on the seats got here, and we had massive crowds in any respect of our auctions. However we added this different element. In fact, the extra bidders you might have, the higher the pricing is for the vendor.”
The stay public sale motion made all of the distinction, he added.
“It was once you’d have a look at a static display screen and a button would gentle up once you have been outbid and also you’d hit the button once more to bid. It wasn’t very dynamic.
“We re-created that in order that once you’re bidding on-line, it really appears to be like such as you’re sitting in entrance of the auctioneer. You may see the auctioneer, you’ll be able to hear the mantra, you’ll be able to see the automotive, you’ll be able to see the bids go up, and the auctioneer really is aware of the names of the people who find themselves bidding on-line.
“For all sensible functions, it’s as shut as you will get and nonetheless be sitting at house in your lounge couch.”
The pandemic mitigations have been strongly evident after I arrived Wednesday for a have a look at the public sale choices, and was instantly approached by a Mecum staffer, who checked my temperature and made certain I had a facemask. There’s plenty of fencing and social-distancing directions, and the spectator setup in entrance of the stage is extra unfold out. Hand-sanitizing stations are in every single place.
Spectator tickets are bought solely on-line – there is no such thing as a field workplace for getting onsite. Magers famous that Mecum staffers will probably be out there to assist individuals buy tickets with their telephones.
However regardless of the COVID precautions, the same old festive environment didn’t appear affected within the least. Many gleaming automobiles and vehicles have been nonetheless lined as much as be registered for the Thursday via Saturday sale, however most have been in place contained in the stadium or in adjoining tons.
From the automobiles that I noticed lined up or in place for the public sale, listed below are those that caught my eye:
1939 Cadillac Sequence 75 convertible
I noticed this excellent magnificence proper off the bat because it stood ready to be registered. The complete basic is one in every of 5 recognized to nonetheless exist, and appears to be in completely immaculate restored situation; it received first at school on the 2015 La Jolla Concours d’Magnificence. I simply thought it was completely beautiful in each manner.
1968 Shelby GT350 convertible
Right here’s one other droptop from a really totally different period, a Shelby-enhanced Mustang powered by a 302cid V8 boosted with a period-correct Paxton supercharger, plus automated transmission and energy steering and brakes. These are such great-driving automobiles, and the compelled induction ought to put the whip to the small block.
1947 Delahaye 135MS Figoni et Falaschi Narval cabriolet
Since I appear to be dreaming massive, here’s a magnificent murals from the Mecum Gallery Exposition Sale of high-end automobiles that may be bought outright quite than via bidding. The group of seven automobiles, displayed on the concours degree of the stadium, vary from a basic prewar Cadillac to a 1967 Shelby Cobra 427.
This piece of automotive fantasy, which debuted on the 1947 Paris Auto Salon, is named the Narval due to the jutting hood remedy that resembles the marine mammal with a single protruding tusk.
With its flamboyant coachwork from the famed French designers, this one belongs in a museum for all to admire. The value tag? You don’t need to know.
2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast coupe
The Steve Todhunter assortment of unique and basic automobiles is among the main options of the Glendale public sale, and they’re certainly an awe-inspiring bunch. Of the late-model sports activities automobiles, which embody a uncommon and ultra-exotic 2006 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo and a lot of terrific Ferraris, that is the one which does it for me.
With its 789-horsepower V12 engine up entrance, this Superfast (a reputation I really like) has been pushed simply 2,254 miles and is basically a brand-new automotive. It appears to be like splendid in Rossa Corsa and reportedly was bought from the Scottsdale vendor with $48,500 price of choices. Should be good.
1959 Chrysler 300E hardtop
The Chrysler “letter automobiles” have been performance-enhanced variations of the massive 300-series automobiles, and there are 5 of them from a single assortment on the public sale docket. This one is my favourite, primarily as a result of I discover the red-hued remedy of its gaping grille to be interesting, and a pleasant distinction with its engaging light-blue paint job.
This big automotive with the towering tailfins is motivated by a 412cid wedge-head V8 that generates 380 horsepower and a mountain vary of torque. What a thundering beast it should be.
1973 Alfa Romeo 1600 Junior Zagato
This can be a uncommon and engaging piece of Italian artistry, a cool little Alfa coupe with a handcrafted physique by Carrozzeria Zagato of Milan. Solely about 400 of those have been constructed, and this one has simply 35,000 miles on its odometer. It’s powered by a scorching little S model of the 1,570cc aluminum DOHC inline-4, fed by a pair of Weber carbs and linked with a 5-speed handbook transmission.
I discover the plexiglass grille remedy with the customary Alfa Romeo defend offered as open area to be intriguing. And I wager its high-revving engine sounds unbelievable whereas operating via the gears on a winding street.
1978 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 416
For anybody who needs to get critical about off-roading underneath essentially the most excessive situations, right here’s the car that may get you thru. This beast of burden is powered by an inline-6 diesel engine and a handbook transmission with – get this – 20 ahead gears and eight reverse gears. Sounds loopy, however that’s what the information says.
Using on gigantic go-anywhere tires, the Unimog is provided with two winches, 15,000-pound up entrance and a 9,000-pound within the rear.
Trying it over, I seen that what you may name the roll bar appears to be like extra like a bridge abutment.
1935 Ford Brewster limousine
I put this one in right here as a result of I’m at all times impressed by the audacious Brewster remedy of Ford entrance ends. This simply appears to be like so cool, and it speaks to the Artwork Deco sense of favor that also dominated throughout that period.
1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS 427
This muscular Chevy was restored to copy a Dana Tremendous Camaro RS/SS, and I feel they did a reasonably nice job. There’s a laundry listing of efficiency options that’s been added to this coupe, not the least of which is the pro-built LT1 427cid V8. Including to the enjoyable is a 4-speed handbook transmission. It is available in Matador Crimson with period-appropriate houndstooth-pattern inside.
1964 Porsche 356 SC coupe
You didn’t suppose I’d go away off my favourite taste of outdated sports activities automotive, did you? This can be a very engaging instance painted blue with a tan inside, and it appears to be like nice.
This was close to the tip of the road for the 356, and this was the hot-ticket mannequin with the 90-horsepower flat-4 engine, which doesn’t sound like a lot besides that the coupe weighs just below 2,000 kilos. Plus, this closing iteration got here outfitted with 4-wheel disc brakes. They’re a ton of enjoyable.
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive author and editor, specializing in new automobiles, collector automobiles, automotive tradition and the automotive life-style. He’s the previous automotive author and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the web site for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a lot of publications, together with Autoweek, The New York Occasions and Barrett-Jackson public sale catalogs. A collector automotive fanatic with a variety of information in regards to the outdated automobiles that all of us love and need, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic equipment. His present obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Tremendous coupe.