MECUM, MPG &
Rick Lorenzen’s Price Automobilia collection
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Tue, Jul 25, 2017
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Words by Zoran J. Segina
Pictures by Albert J. Wong
Time travel requires finding worm holes in the space-time continuum, having a thorough understanding of the quantum physics, attaining the ability to move faster than the speed of light, mastering transportation of particles and a plethora of other technical achievements which heretofore have not even been discovered, much less attempted.
For those attending the June Motor Press Guild luncheon hosted by Mecum Auctions, the time travel required a short trip down the 710, and entering Rick Lorenzen’s Price Automobilia collection in Dominguez Hills.
In a non-descript industrial park with generic storage buildings surrounded by stacks of 40-foot shipping containers, few unobtrusive signs direct visitors to an ordinary blue door.
But stepping inside and the industrial storage turns into a magic trip to post-war Southern California in the decades after WWII. Lined up in front of the diner, as though the passengers just stopped for a burger and soda, are some of the hundred vehicles in the collection restored to their original glory. Behind the diner there are pool tables, jukeboxes and further down is an old-time movie house. Surf movie posters, and LP records adorn the walls. Another few steps will bring you to a Texaco gas station just like the one Rick’s father owned back in the day.
The Automobilia collection was a perfect setting for a presentation by John Kraman, Director of Consignment for Mecum Auctions, about the intricacies of buying and selling as the hammer is to go down. If you sell, is the reserve set too high? Are your expectations overly optimistic? If you buy, does the waxed body of that perfect 50s vintage convertible hide a replica – because back in the day when this beauty was originally manufactured they did not have electronically controlled fuel injection and progressive power-steering? The add-ons make it easier to drive, though. And the Mecum guys will let you know if some of the parts on the car come from different eras.
After the presentation we continued wandering from one exhibit room to another. Walking through the Automobilia is akin to unwrapping a gift box with carefully packaged toy set wrapped in a gift box. Every layer reveals another toy. The Batmobile. The original Knight Rider Two Helms trucks. Hot rods and tribute to drag racers of all sorts spanning the years (did they really strap themselves into these?)
Rick’s first acquisition was a Willys, so the collection prominently displays dozen and a half models from stock to custom.
The walk would not be complete without a visit to a full restoration shop where two guys seem to have fun restoring old cars. And then we are back on the parking lot half a century later. But we should return. Time travel requires frequent visits. Plus, who knows which bit of past Rick may acquire in the future.
All I can say is that it was a true mini-master class in the workings of the collector car auction business. John is one of the most knowledgeable as well as one of the most honest and respected men in the business. He’s passionate about the business and is in it not only as an officer of a high-visibility company that auctions off automobiles but as an ally of both sellers and buyers. His talk was particularly enlightening for me in his telling about how his company works with consigners to make sure that they understand the process, and are ultimately happy with the results (and interestingly enough, that’s whether a car is sold by them or not). And of course the car collection was simply amazing. – Doug Stokes