Passion as enterprise: Mecum offers car-guy dreams at real-guy prices

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1957 Pontiac Bonneville fuelie
Something for everyone: '50s convertible, Corvette and 2004 Ferrari 575 Maranello | Larry Crane photos
Something for everyone: ’50s convertible, Corvette and 2004 Ferrari 575 Maranello | Larry Crane photos

Mecum Auctions’ Los Angeles 2017 sale last week was produced at the storied Pomona fairgrounds — now Fairplex — long-established epicenter of Southern California car enthusiast thought and action. True to the facilities’ welcome to all who play in the hobby, Mecum delivered on its promise as “every-man’s auction company” to present a broad selection of vehicles “from entry-level to museum-grade” with sale prices of cars from just a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand.

There in is the carefully groomed reason that Dana Mecum’s auction company, created in 1988, has become the volume leader in “collector car, vintage and antique motorcycle, and Road Art sales” throughout the United States.

Mecum Los Angeles filled every building in the complex with every-man/woman automotive temptation. Virtually every offering would fill one’s garage with pride of ownership and include a great ride to work on Monday morning after the weekend cars & coffee exhibitions — or, in a few cases, track-day lap records.

Security team available for your man cave
Security team available for your man cave

From a carefully restored MG TD with its “same-day-acceleration” to thousand-horsepower retro-mod muscle cars filled with leather once reserved for the best of Rolls Royce, Southern California’s traditional eclectic tastes were fed.

The entry ticket was access to a fantastic car show that offered every entry for sale.

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Traditional hot rods were everywhere and shared space with granddad’s favorite Oldsmobile Starfire, and gramma’s four-door mid-century Ford, now with the latest in sound and climate control.

It is curious to note how few well-restored prewar and early postwar cars — and trucks — retain their original 60-80-horsepower engines, even when period details remain authentic. Crate motors rule; think long-tour reliability powering twenty-first century comforts in a lovely old art piece for the price of a modern commuter car.

Take the plunge, check your heart monitor and motor off to your nearest Mecum Auction “event.” You might also consider bringing a trailer — as your shopping bag.

Photos by Larry Crane

Larry Crane has been an automotive literature aficionado from childhood. Car books and magazines represented most of his reading experience. He moved to Southern California in his early twenties to be close to his favorite cars. After a WestPac stint in the Navy, he was offered a position redesigning Motor Trend magazine. Then, for Steve Earle, he created America's first vintage road racing magazine as both editor and designer. FromVintage Racer he joined Road & Track and then David E. Davis Jr., asked him to help create a new kind of car magazine, Automobile. After 12 years, Crane took his family back to Los Angeles to create his dream magazine, AUTO Aficionado, which attracted an impressive cadre of the most influential members of the collector car hobby until the national economy made that one impossible to continue.

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