Somewhere on the spectrum between the Concours d’LeMons and Concours d’Elegance, the three-day Mecum Auctions during Monterey Auto Week is perfectly positioned. Attainable daily drivers to rarities, it’s an automotive whirlwind of buying and selling.
The country’s largest automotive auction, Mecum annually progresses to 13 stops around the country, January through December and Kissimmee, Fla. to Louisville, Ky., to Monterey. Its offerings include seven-figure works of art on wheels, family heirlooms, celebrity-owned cars, oddities and cars of infamous pedigree.
“I call it a car show with a pulse,” said John Kraman, Mecum’s long-time director of consignments and a television commentator’s during the auction’s extensive television broadcasts on NBCSN. “I think that’s accurate.”
Kraman is our guest on episode #95 of The Weekly Driver Podcast.
Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia discuss with Kraman, the mix of cars and motorcycles included in this year’s event.
The Mecum Auction in Monterey, scheduled Aug. 14-16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency and Old Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey, California, has some of both extremes and everything between.
“We all go to car shows, and it’s great,” said Kraman. “But there’s something a little bit extra, a little magic about the cars moving on the runway, the grumbling and the auction environment itself.”
Mecum’s Auction, the only daytime auction during Monterey Auto Week, is expected to sell about 600 vehicles during its three-day run. Thursday, as Kraman relates, is an open day. A 1968 Oldsmobile worth $15,000 is more than welcome.
“We like entry-level, normal traditional Mecum customers, seeking affordable cars,” Kraman said.
Friday and Saturday auctions are “catalog days” featuring vehicles are with reserve pricing set at least $50,000. The catalog days are closed for sellers; the Thursday auction remains open for sellers.
“Come out, buy or sell a car or spectate; it doesn’t matter,” said Kraman. “We invite everybody and then give them time to do other things in the evening.”
In recent years, Mecum Auctions’ selling trends in Monterey have included vintage pickups, muscle cars and certain varieties of Volkswagen vans. This year, the emphasis will be on individuals’ collections.
“We are dependent on what consigners want to bring to our auction,” said Kraman. “It’s not like we pick and choose what we want to come to our auction. This year, it’s collections.
“We have nine separate collections from some of the top collectors. We’re talking, pre-war classics to modern exotics. An eclectic mix of collections is going to be the headline news.”
Dana Mecum, the company founder, and his wife Patti are selling vehicles from their private collection including a 1954/1959 Ferrari 0432 and a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra CSX2588. The latter was the last of its kind sold to the public.
Mecum Auctions also has a second-chance auction. It’s called “bid goes on.” It comprises about 10 percent of vehicle sales.
“Your best opportunity to get it sold is still while the vehicle is up on the red carpet,” Kraman said. “That’s our business model. But four full-timers are working in the bid-goes-on process. We will try to get a deal that way for about 50-60 cars.”
Mecum Auctions’ haul of cars and motorcycles in this year’s event and well as schedule details and television broadcast times are available on www.mecum.com. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 at the auction.