When Mecum Auctions arrived in Arizona final yr 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 all the things got here to a grinding halt due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We began on a Wednesday, and Wednesday night time 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 government 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 yr within the course of.
“The yr that we had, 2020 turned out to be an outstanding yr for us,” Magers stated. “We set information at roughly half our occasions, together with our largest 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 on Mecum’s boon in collector automobile gross sales, Magers believes, together with pent-up demand and an enhancement of on-line bidding.
“There may be some validity to pent-up demand,” he famous. “Individuals sat residence for therefore lengthy, and so they didn’t have anywhere to go, they didn’t have anywhere to spend cash. Consequently, they could have had slightly pile of money and there’s been a automobile 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 giant variety of new bidders into the fold, Magers added.
“We knew that in a pandemic there can be numerous on-line bidding, and there was,” he stated. “What shocked us is that 80 p.c of these bidders are individuals now we have by no means finished enterprise with earlier than. So, the place we thought the web bidding can 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 part. After all, the extra bidders you will have, the higher the pricing is for the vendor.”
The stay public sale motion made all of the distinction, he added.
“It was 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 truly appears such as you’re sitting in entrance of the auctioneer. You may see the auctioneer, you possibly can hear the mantra, you possibly can see the automobile, you possibly can see the bids go up, and the auctioneer truly is aware of the names of the people who find themselves bidding on-line.
“For all sensible functions, it’s as shut as you may get and nonetheless be sitting at residence in your front room couch.”
The pandemic mitigations have been strongly evident once 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 positive I had a facemask. There’s numerous fencing and social-distancing directions, and the spectator setup in entrance of the stage is extra unfold out. Hand-sanitizing stations are everywhere.
Spectator tickets are offered solely on-line – there isn’t a field workplace for getting onsite. Magers famous that Mecum staffers shall be accessible to assist individuals buy tickets with their telephones.
However regardless of the COVID precautions, the same old festive ambiance 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 heaps.
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 Collection 75 convertible
I noticed this excellent magnificence proper off the bat because it stood ready to be registered. The complete traditional is certainly one of 5 identified to nonetheless exist, and appears to be in completely immaculate restored situation; it gained first in school on the 2015 La Jolla Concours d’Class. I simply thought it was completely gorgeous in each means.
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 computerized transmission and energy steering and brakes. These are such great-driving automobiles, and the pressured 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 reasonably than via bidding. The group of seven automobiles, displayed on the concours stage of the stadium, vary from a traditional 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 therapy 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 worth tag? You don’t need to know.
2018 Ferrari 812 Superfast coupe
The Steve Todhunter assortment of unique and traditional automobiles is likely one of the main options of the Glendale public sale, and they’re certainly an awe-inspiring bunch. Of the late-model sports activities automobiles, which embrace a uncommon and ultra-exotic 2006 Saleen S7 Twin Turbo and quite 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 actually a brand-new automobile. It appears splendid in Rossa Corsa and reportedly was bought from the Scottsdale vendor with $48,500 value 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 therapy of its gaping grille to be interesting, and a pleasant distinction with its engaging light-blue paint job.
This big automobile 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
It is 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 sizzling little S model of the 1,570cc aluminum DOHC inline-4, fed by a pair of Weber carbs and linked with a 5-speed guide transmission.
I discover the plexiglass grille therapy with the customary Alfa Romeo defend introduced as open area to be intriguing. And I wager its high-revving engine sounds implausible whereas operating via the gears on a winding highway.
1978 Mercedes-Benz Unimog 416
For anybody who desires to get severe about off-roading below probably 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 guide transmission with – get this – 20 ahead gears and eight reverse gears. Sounds loopy, however that’s what the data says.
Driving on gigantic go-anywhere tires, the Unimog is supplied with two winches, 15,000-pound up entrance and a 9,000-pound within the rear.
Trying it over, I seen that what you would possibly name the roll bar appears extra like a bridge abutment.
1935 Ford Brewster limousine
I put this one in right here as a result of I’m all the time impressed by the audacious Brewster therapy of Ford entrance ends. This simply appears 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 believe they did a fairly nice job. There’s a laundry record 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 guide transmission. It is available in Matador Pink with period-appropriate houndstooth-pattern inside.
1964 Porsche 356 SC coupe
You didn’t suppose I’d go away off my favourite taste of previous sports activities automobile, did you? It is a very engaging instance painted blue with a tan inside, and it appears nice.
This was close to the top 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, automobile 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 quite a lot of publications, together with Autoweek, The New York Occasions and Barrett-Jackson public sale catalogs. A collector automobile fanatic with a variety of data concerning the previous automobiles that all of us love and need, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic equipment. His present obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Tremendous coupe.