Ray Ho – 02/28/2017

Going once! Going twice! Sold! The hammer came down and a lucky person is the proud owner of a beautifully restored red 1960 Porsche 356B T5 Roadster for a cool $125,000. The Porsche is just one example of several hundred collector cars going through the Mecum Auctions on Friday (2/17/17) and Saturday (2/18/17) in Pomona, California.

Mecum holds year round auctions in many cities across the country. It costs bidders $100 to register online prior to the event which includes two admission tickets. Bidders registering on-site will have to shell out $200. For $500, you can bid for the entire season in all locations along with other perks such as preferred seating and complimentary snacks and beverages. Spectators are welcome with a $20 advance online ticket purchase or pay $30 at the door.

Prior to the 10am auction, potential bidder or looky-loos alike have opportunities to browse the impressive collection of cars housed in several buildings. You are not allowed to test drive the cars but registered bidders are permitted to start the engine with the assistant of the Mecum representatives.

There is some basic info on the cars online and in the packets at the event entrance. More information is posted on the car windshield, which often contains contact info of the car owners. Some owners may also be at the auction. It is not uncommon to see cars with folders containing more detailed vehicle history.

In the main building, besides the exclusive parked cars waiting for the auction, there is a dedicated area for memorabilia items (Mecum calls them “Road Arts”) that would also be auctioned at 9:30am. There are a few booths for T-shirts and other merchandises. You can even visit the Pinks Hot Dog stand if you don’t mind paying $12 for French fries. Dodge/Chrysler was literally steps away from the live auction showcasing their Pacifica minivan. Seriously? A minivan? Fortunately, they redeemed themselves by giving rides in a Dodge Viper doing donuts right outside the buildings.

The bidding action is fast-paced. It is fascinating to observe the different styles of the auctioneers: Some auctioneers seemed hurried to drop the hammer while others masterfully worked the crowd for more money. Despite the auctioneer’s best effort, there are still more than a few cars that did not sell due to the bid did not meet the (seller’s) reserve. If you are planning to bid, come equip with a bidding strategy.  Always have a budget ceiling to avoid overbid because it is very easy to be caught up in the moment. Bidders should take into consideration the buyer’s premium (fee varies depending on event). It is worth noting that the sellers commission rate starts at 5%. Also note that some cars are only sold to out-of-state residents or licensed dealers only.

Mecum is not without competitions.  There are other well-known automotive auction companies such as Barrett Jackson and popular online auctions such as eBay Motors and Bring A Trailer.  That said, below are some of my favorites from the Mecum Pomona auction: Click here for more auction results.

2006 Ford GT $305K

2013 Ferrari 458 Italia $230K

1960 Porsche 356B T5 Roadster $125K

1968 Shebly GT350 Fastback $75K

1957 BMW Isetta $32K

1990 Nissan Skyline GTR $23K

1989 Nissan Pao $12.5K

With the uncertainty in the current Administration, before the Wall Street party inevitably comes to an end, it may be wise to diversify your investments by purchasing a collector car. It is almost certain that the red Porsche 356B will prove to be a great investment. Don’t be surprised to see it in a future Mecum auction.  Even if you are not planning to collect cars, car auctions are entertaining events for any car enthusiast. As for me, I am completely sold on the Mecum Auctions. It is definitely worth going once, likewise for going twice.

Photo courtesy of Paul (corvettstories.com)