Pomona, Calif. The Mecum Auctions (surely you’ve seen one on television … right … way cool cars, trucks, motorcycles, even man cave memorabilia all being paraded across an open stage in front of a raucous crowd, each barely slowing down as they cross from left to right, only to pause for what seems split seconds with an auctioneer shouting, cajoling, challenging, and quite unsubtly suggesting prices that ratchet show on a gargantuan overheard scoreboard that flashes the current bid in bucks, euros, and two or three other basic world currencies). Get ready. They are coming to the Fairplex in Pomona on Friday and Saturday, February 16th and 17th.
The Mecum people are taking over a baker’s half dozen of buildings on the sprawling LA County Fairgrounds property and bringing something like 600(!) vehicles to market in a march which seems as inexorable as it is rapid. Expect no two alike (for the most part), each with its own back story, and each with some sort of a siren call to (surely more than) someone out there.
SOLD! will be the second most used word at the 2018 Los Angeles edition of Mecum’s cross country car show ,er, auction that will also visit 16 other locations throughout the nation. Excuse me, you were wondering what will be the first-most used word was, right? Judging by last year’s event, it will be something like “wowlookitthat”! Once one is inside the giant bubble that the Mecum people pump up right on site, one can say it in any direction and be very correct.
There will be some 600 vehicles scampered across the auction block in two days at the Fairplex. If last year is any indication, a good 70 percent of them will be sold on the spot for at least what the owners wanted (or more, and some a bunch more!).
One of our best LA Car snappers, Albert Wong, was on assignment at Pomona last year, and got a nice selection of shots of some of the more interesting auction offerings. Whatever the breed: whether hot rods, resto-mods, unrestored barn-finds, off-road machines, out-and-out classics, racing cars, and even a few, er, question marks. None escaped his lens. Take a look.
Of course AJKW’s shots are all stills, silent reminders of this delicious cast of characters, all at rest. What can’t be photographed, nor even understood/felt while watching any auction (even a Mecum one) on television is the sound and, better still, the animation.
Each machine from a rusty, un-restored VW bus; to a gilded, hemi-powered, high-boy hot rod, a blood-red Ferrari Maranello or a cute-as-a-bug BMW Isetta, every darn one of those (supposedly) inanimate devices seemed to sense that it was “on” and the effect was understood directly by the appreciative crowd, many of whom were all trying to buy that particular machine all at the same time. You love that car, you want it? Then fight for it! What fun!
Oh, and about the idea of a “classic” … expect to see variations on that theme enough for all at every one of these events. Yeah, prices are hard to predict and there will be bargains to be had, but the deal here is, if you’ve looked at the car and you want it, and you’re wearing a bidder’s credential, and the price stalls where you’re still comfortable (and the kids won’t go hungry, or the power won’t be cut off) … well … you know, they’re not making any more of those.
There’s a term you sometimes hear: “Beer Goggles”, meaning that the use of alcohol can, at times, have the effect of “helping” us to think, act, and react somewhat differently than we would sober.
Even though you couldn’t see them, it seemed everyone last year donned a pair of invisible “Car Goggles” as they came though the front door at Mecum. No, they weren’t drunk, intoxicated with the show yes. Mine worked quite well as you may have noted.
Mecum is a family-run company with headquarters in Walworth, Wisconsin. They show (and SELL) some 20,000 cars, trucks, motorcycles, and tractors, annually in auctions that take place across the country on average about one a month.
They’re very aggressive in looking for great machines to put up for auction at their events and invite people with such vehicles that they’d like to sell to contact them in Walworth at (262) 275-5050. That same number may be used to find out how to become a bidder (and hopefully a BUYER) at an upcoming auction.
One more thing, Mecum publishes a full-color monthly magazine (eponymously named the “Mecum Monthly”) that not only deals with their auctions, but that contains features on significant cars and motorcycles written by some of the top people in the business. Honestly it’s the next best thing to being at the auction and (I’m sure) helps to keep the juices flowing between auctions for many fans. It’s the same number above (262) 275-5050, to sign up for an annual subscription. –DS
02.22.18: AND HERE’S THE UPDATE ON THE SALE DIRECT FROM WALWORTH:
Walworth, WI — Mecum’s Feb. 16-17 Los Angeles auction achieved $9 million in overall sales, with the top 10 highest sellers heavily populated by modern supercars and a handful of classic beauties.
In Road Art offerings, the neon sign that hung over the Harley-Davidson visitor/employee entrance at the Milwaukee factory was on the docket, and strong bids brought the final sale price to a healthy $88,500.
The top 10:
• 2006 Ford GT (Lot S89.1): $327,250
• 2016 Lamborghini Huracan (Lot F123): $236,500
• 1958 Facel Vega FV4 Typhoon (Lot S92.1): $214,500
• 1959 Porsche 356 (Lot S215): $200,200
• 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish (Lot S64.1): $140,250
• 1959 Volkswagen 23-Window Samba Bus (Lot S187): $137,500
• 2010 Ferrari California Spyder (Lot S180.1): $115,500
• 2012 Ferrari California Spyder (Lot S150.1): $112,750
• 1968 Shelby GT350 Fastback (Lot S130): $99,000
• 2006 Lamborghini Gallardo SE (Lot S211): $99,000
Stokes (again): Those are all good prices for some very special machines, I can once again stretch or scratch my head without worrying about what I’d have to tell my wife about what I bought at the Fair.
Want to see a whole gallery of Mecum auction photos by Albert Wong? Got something to say? Point your cursor right here.
For more information about Mecum auctions and how to go to the show, er, auction, go to mecum.com.