INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re an auto enthusiast, it’s a safe bet you’ve spent too many weekend hours watching classic car auctions. It’s exciting watching high-dollar icons roll across the block – cars you’ve never seen in the real world. If you want to experience an auction in person, you do not have to travel to Scottsdale, Amelia Island, or Monterey. You can attend Dana Mecum’s 35th Spring Classic auction at the Indiana State Fairgrounds May 13-21.
Humble beginnings, escalating results
The Spring Classic registered an all-time record of $107.8M in vehicles sold during 2021. Given COVID-19, people realize owning the car of their dreams – often a lifelong goal – should not wait any longer. Auto sales of all vintages are red hot, so this year should set another record.
During the nine-day event, about 3,000 vehicles will be offered for sale. As Mecum focuses on American muscle, expect long lines of Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros, and Challengers of virtually every age. Of course, there will be a mix of eclectic classic and exotic cars that you’ll only see together inside vast barns at the fairgrounds.
“We have over 20 collections with many selling at no reserve,” said John Kraman, director company relations, Mecum Auctions. “Chevrolet Corvettes are about 10% of vehicles – still the strongest make and model. But, the Ray Evernham collection is the one that’s got me cranked up. He was crew chief for Jeff Gordon and also a team owner. His Indy race car driven by Mario Andretti was restored using the original bodywork and decals. It’s an A-List car and could bring a couple of million dollars.”
From Evernham’s collection will be 32 race cars including the 1965 Brawner Hawk Ford Dean Van Lines Special Indy Car driven by Mario Andretti when he earned Rookie-of-the-Year honors at that year’s Indianapolis 500. Evernham will also sell his 1969 Eagle Weslake Ford “Santa Ana” Indy Car, driven by Dan Gurney to second place in the 1969 Indy 500.
Several others from the collection will also be coveted. There’s the 1969 Dodge Hemi Daytona that was the first to top 200 MPH on a closed course by Buddy Baker at Talladega in 1970, and the 2001 Dodge Intrepid NASCAR that was driven to the pole position by Bill Elliott for the 2001 Daytona 500. Evernham’s passion extends to Indy cars like the 1984 March 84C Cosworth Gilmore/Foyt racer that was driven by George Snider to an 11th place finish.
Other collectors will offer their prized possessions. The Dr. J. Christian and Jennifer McCarter Collection includes 20 roadsters, muscle cars, and contemporary supercars – mostly Fords – offered at no reserve. Look for their 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra with rare automatic transmission and 1965 Shelby 427 Competition Cobra Roadster that was class winner at the 1966 12 Hours of Sebring race. Also consider the 1965 Shelby GT350R Fastback and 2019 Ford GT Carbon Series powered by a 647 horsepower twin-turbo V6.
If exotics are your vice, don’t miss The Asi and Lisa Sheikh Collection with 34 low-mileage Corvettes, Shelbys, Mercedes-Benzes, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches – all at no reserve. The Gary Thomas Collection will offer 26 cars that includes a Shelby GT500, Boss Mustangs, unrestored 1970 Ford Mustang Grande, and 1968 Shelby GT350H. The Al Berman Collection consists of nine vehicles, mostly rare Corvettes.
Get your dream car
If you’re going to partake in the action and get your dream car, take a breath…and take a seat.
“It can be overwhelming when buying and having to make a quick decision,” Kraman said. “Get there plenty early, before the auction starts, so you can remain focused on vehicles of interest. Watch and pay attention to the rhythm and cadence. Make sure you are in your seat an hour or two before and practice mock bidding. We auction 30 cars per hour, so you can get disoriented. But, it’s very addicting!”
What you do not see on television are building after building full of cars. Looking for a 1960s Corvette? There will be more than you’ve ever seen. Want a Chevelle? Which model and year? Mustangs? Put on your walking shoes. The auction is a place where enthusiasts can spend a day just looking at cars with their families and serious collectors can buy the best. Many cars will go for well under $20,000, so there’s something for almost everybody.
What those buyers want and who’s buying are changing rapidly.
“We have a whole new demographic, younger than Baby Boomers, 40-50 years old,” Kraman said. “Cars from the ‘50s and ‘70s are still popular, but so are vintage pickups and SUVs. For younger buyers, they’re giving credibility to the genesis of their vehicles and will continue to escalate in price. Having a vintage truck is very, very in. Our No. 2 best seller last year was a ’69 Bronco at $1.87 million, a record for an SUV at auction.”
Bidder registration is available online at Mecum.com or on-site for $200 and includes admission for two to all nine days. General admission tickets cost $20 per person in advance online or $30 at the door per day. Children 12 and younger are free. Gates open at 8 a.m. each day with the auction beginning daily at 10 a.m. May 13-19 and at 9 a.m. May 20-21. If you can’t make it in person, watch at home on MotorTrend.