Dana Mecum’s 31st Original Spring Classic collector car auction ends sometime Sunday when the final hammer drops at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
By that time, more than 2,000 vehicles will have crossed the block at what annually is one of the largest collector car sales on the planet. The auction originally was scheduled only through Saturday, when the star cars will be up for bidding, but with so many vehicles on the docket, the auction was extended with a Sunday session.
I spent parts of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the auction, notebook and camera in hand. It’s become one of my favorites, in part because of the venue. The Indiana fairgrounds comprises a group of historic show buildings that seem to put classic cars in their rightful element, time-capsule vehicles within time-capsule architecture.
One of those buildings, the West Pavilion, looks like an old factory structure and has high-mounted windows so that in the early morning and late afternoon sunlight make everything inside seem to glow.
Some of the buildings, such as the South Pavilion, are made up of several separate show areas connected by big garage-style doors, and you can wander around inside and through every doorway and around every corner to discover yet another trove of cars or neon signs or, this year, hundreds of vintage boat engines.
For locals, I wonder if the auction’s annual visit is sort of like a circus coming to town, albeit in 13 equipment-carrying semi-trucks instead of one circus train — and that truck count is just the auction equipment; it doesn’t include all the transport trucks and trailers that haul in the 2,000 cars on the docket.
Like a circus, there’s the “big top” — the actual bidding in the sports arena with the auctioneer as ring master, and this year Dana Mecum’s Original Spring Classic was a two-ring circus because there was so much “Road Art” that a second bidding room was set up over in the South Pavilion.
And there’s even what might be termed a sideshow — step right up and be amazed and frightened by a tire-smoking thrill ride in some of Dodge’s hottest new Demon machines.