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HomeCar CulturePutting 2020 into the rear-view mirror (where it belongs)

Putting 2020 into the rear-view mirror (where it belongs)

For the next few days, we’ll look back and hopefully even find some bright spots in an otherwise dismal year for the collector car hobby

Editor’s note: As each year ends, the ClassicCars.com Journal takes a look back at the previous 12 months, usually sharing the highlights from concours and car shows, auctions and adventures. But there has been little that might be described as typical during covid-ruined 2020. Nonetheless, with this introduction, we launch our annual 11-day recap of the top stories of the year. 

Year in Review: Intro

Well, that year sucked!

Or did it? Sure, overall 2020 was a year most of us would be eager to forget, a year when the coronavirus pandemic not only brought the collector car to all but a full stop, but claimed the health and even the lives of some of us and of our friends and relatives. 

In the next few days, the staff of the CollectorCars.com Journal will share what we consider to be the top-10 stories of 2020 from the perspective of the hobby. 

In retrospect, it’s interesting to look back and recognize how optimistic everyone was when the year began, especially after the big sales in January at Kissimmee and in Arizona. But then people started getting sick and as the Amelia Island concours concluded, things were being shut down from coast to coast and around the world. 

And even though things seem to be improving, the impact continues into 2021, what with Arizona Auction Week already falling apart. 

Our series will review the year the was, and even will point out some highlights that happened. But before we launch into the top-10 list tomorrow, we need to note today some of the stories that didn’t make the cut, yet still deserve mention. Those stories include:

  • The so-called Elkhart auction. RM Sotheby’s announced back in January that it would stage in May what it was calling the “Elkhart” auction, around 230 cars from a single collection based in Elkhart, Indiana. The bad news was that car collector Najeeb Khan and his Interlogic Outsourcing Inc. had been accused of fraud and his cars would be sold to pay his debts. Although the auction was delayed until October, the quality of the cars and pent-up demand for a live auction resulted in $44 million in sales, making it one of the largest single-consignor auctions in collector car history.
  • Mecum plows ahead. While sidelined by covid-mandated health restrictions, the crew at Mecum Auctions plotted its comeback, which began in mid-June with the company’s Gone Farmin’ division back in business and posting a 95 percent sell-through rate in Davenport, Iowa. A succession of masked and socially distanced — and successful — collector car sales followed with collector car sales in North Carolina, Indianapolis, Dallas, Florida, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Iowa and Houston. 
  • Barrett-Jackson’s fall festival. After canceling scheduled sales in Connecticut, Florida and Nevada, Barrett-Jackson returned to action with an autumn auction in its hometown. Though admission was limited and only a few hundred vehicles were on the docket, the sale posted nearly $25 million in transactions.

It appeared momentum was building toward the new year and Arizona Auction Week 2021. But then the virus raised its ugly head and Arizona Auction Week has been sidelined, with some auction companies opting to hold their January auctions online, two planning  smaller sales, one cancelling altogether and the main event, Barrett-Jackson, postponing its Scottsdale auction to March.

Year in Review Series

Looking back at the most influential automotive stories and events of 2020.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I don’t expect anything to change much until maybe the end of 2021 as state governments as well as a new President administration that seems intent on keeping us all locked up like prisoners.

  2. Wake up and smell the coffee. As long as you continue to try to live normal pre-Covid lives, the illness will thrive.
    I used to love travelling in USA but l don’t think it’ll ever be history there until.your population takes in seriously.

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