The Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in downtown Dallas, Texas, re-opens this week and the first event will be a Mecum Auctions collector car sale, albeit one with some changes made in to accommodate both buyers and sellers and coronavirus health concerns.
“What Mecum has done is a plan that seems to be a really nice blend of being able to conduct business with people but to conduct it safely,” said John Kraman, longtime Mecum consignment staffer and television commentator for NBCSN’s coverage of the sales.
That plan includes reduced spectator ticket sales, temperature check of everyone who enters the auction, mandatory face masks and the use of social distancing guidelines.
The new formula was developed as Mecum returned to staging live auctions recently at Indianapolis and in Florida. Kraman noted that the company plans 5 live auctions in the next 2 months, each of them 3-day sales featuring dockets of about 1,000 cars.
Dallas is scheduled for October 15-17; followed by Indianapolis, October 29-31; Las Vegas, November 12-14; Kansas City (though with slightly fewer cars), November 19-21; and Houston, December 3-5.
There also is a “Tractors ’N’ Trucks” agriculture-oriented sale planned by Mecum’s Gone Farmin’ division, November 19-21 at Danveport, Iowa.
“The collector car world in general is very strong, including online auctions and dealers and aftermarket suppliers,” Kraman said, noting that people are spending more time at home and with their hobbies.
He also pointed out that people not only are working on their collector cars but driving them as a way to escape from home while remaining in a safe bubble.
“People are focusing on fun things,” he said, “and things that are very safe, including cruising.”
While local safety regulations at auction sites remain in flux and sometimes force last-minute adjustments to the formula, “our customers know we’re doing everything we can to put the auctions on,” Kraman said.
One change has been an update of Mecum’s online and telephone bidding systems for those who cannot attend the sales in person.
“It used to be that 2 or 3 percent of winning bidders were bidding online,” Kraman said. “Now it’s more than 20 percent.”
Kraman noted that registered absentee bidders can get personalized vehicle previews that have a Mecum staffer such as Kraman doing detailed, 15- to 20-minute vehicle walkarounds, and Mecum staffers also have been doing Zoom-style online auction previews with a variety of Dallas area car clubs.
There has been a last-minute, and stronger than usual surge in consignments for the Dallas auction, Kraman said, which will offer “the typical A-to-Z range from multi-million-dollar exotics to entry-level cars, and cars from collections.”
He pointed out that the docket includes 3 of the new mid-engine C8-generation of Chevrolet Corvettes, and that two are being offered with no reserve.
Featured lots for the auction include the new Corvettes, a 2019 McLaren Senna, 2017 Pagani Huayra roadster and 2009 Ferari 430 Scuderia Spider 16M. Also, a 1931 LaSalle Phaeton, 1955 Jaguar XK140 SE roadster and 1975 Stroppe Baja Edition Ford Bronco.
There are 1960s Shelby GT350 and GT500 Mustangs, a 1955 Mercury Montclair Sun Valley coupe, 1960 Lincoln Continental Mark V convertible and 1966 Chevrolet Malibu resto-mod convertible, among other highlighted vehicles.
“We’re really happy with the lineup,” Kraman said.
And of the upcoming calendar of 5 sales in 2 months, he added, “It really looks like business as usual. We’ve adapted. We’re moving forward, with confidence and optimism.”
For more information, visit the Mecum Auctions website.