Since 2012, I’ve never missed the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction in Scottsdale each January. A couple of years back, I learned that Mecum also comes to the Phoenix area for their auction, but I’ve either been traveling or otherwise occupied and missed attending Mecum’s live auction. This year, our last year as winter residents in Buckeye, I vowed to take in the sale, if for no other reason than I could say I’ve attended.
At first glance, it’s clearly a lot smaller than Barrett-Jackson. That’s not a put-down, it’s simply stating a fact. We have trouble getting through all of the tents and commercial exhibits at Barrett-Jackson in one day. At Mecum, we walked the tents and the show floor and saw everything we wanted to see by mid-afternoon.
Forgive the comparisons to Barrett-Jackson, it is, after all, my only experience with the genre. With that, I’ll try to refrain from further comparisons. We arrived mid-morning knowing that the biggest crowds and traffic would likely be nearer opening hours. We had no trouble entering the correct parking area and the Mecum website and signage led us directly to the closest parking.
We did end up walking further than necessary to find the entry gates that were well hidden by the hundreds of cars in the parking lot. No matter, I can use the exercise. Once we found the admission gate, they scanned the printed tickets I’d purchased online, and in we went.
I am often drawn to the unusual and this fancy truck seemed to need a spare car, just in case. This Ford F-650 pickup has a bed that is capable of being lowered to the ground so that the Smart Car can be driven onto a special ramp in the pickup bed. Both vehicles are from the 2008 model year and are sold as a set. I see from the Glendale Docket that as this is being written in early April, they are available for sale, asking for $50,000.
Another mode of transportation that is still available at this writing is this beautiful dual-engined boat and trailer set. The dual Keith Black marine motors develop 1,600 horsepower each. If you can afford the gas to operate the two 540 CI engines, you can afford the $90K asking price.
Of course, I came to look at cars. One of the first to attract my wife was this beautiful Viper finished in a shade of blue that is Lynn’s favorite color. It turns out that if she wants a 2017 Viper in this color called Heritage Blue, this would have to be the car. It’s the only 2017 produced that was finished in this color. She’s got another problem… it sold at the auction for a mere $264,000. Well, it’s practically new with only 1,253 miles on the odometer.
For me, though, the treat was inside the stadium. There was a small collection of 1959 Chevrolets on display. Those “cat’s eye” taillights were one of my favorite features of this model year, along with that wide, flat pair of tail fins. As a young man, I once owned a 1959 Chevrolet Impala, so this small collection was especially interesting to me.
This particular Impala’s interior brought back many memories. The seat pattern and dash are what I remembered from my own vehicle. Mine wasn’t equipped like this one, however. This vehicle is powered by a 350 CI engine. Mine was the 283 CI V8 if I recall correctly. This model also has factory air conditioning, something that I only dreamt about on those hot summer days.
This car also has an add-on that wasn’t available in my days of ownership, a bagged suspension system. Normally found on trucks, a large air bladder suspension allows for adjusting to compensate for varying loads, or for just raising or lowering the suspension. It turns out that I could still buy this car. The asking price is $110,000.
I put together a small Flickr album featuring a collection of 1959 Chevrolets on display at the auction. Click on the image above to visit the gallery.
Parked right next to that blue and white 1959 Impala was probably my favorite car of the entire show, a 1958 Cadillac Series 62. This beautiful example of Detroit chrome and steel went through a complete frame on restoration. The chrome was removed and replaced, and the car was finished in Dark Green Metallic.
Those distinctive fins hid a necessary component for the vehicle operation underneath the tail and backup light assemblies. Those of a certain age already know the secret of many mid-1950s General Motors cars. Some manufacturers hid the gas filler behind the rear license plate.
Press on the taillight assembly in the right spot and the taillight assembly pops open revealing the fuel filler cap in a well underneath the left backup light. OK, so that was a gimmick for a while. Back in the day, it was fun to watch the gas station attendant try to find the filler tube.
The 1958 Cadillac had some massive tail fins, but it was the 1959 models that had the most distinctive. Still and all, this 1958 Series 62 is a fine example of a luxury car in the late 1950s. This car is still available as of April 7, listing at $75,000 on the Mecum website. I have a small gallery of images featuring this beautiful car. Just click here to visit my Flickr album.
As you can see by the image above, there were quite a few cars on display for sale on the stadium floor. This is where I found those Chevrolets and that beautiful green Cadillac. Of course, there were many other interesting cars sold over the four days of the sale, but alas, as usual, I was a spectator, not a buyer. Maybe someday.
If you haven’t seen enough of these classic cars, I invite you to check out my Flickr album by clicking on the image below. It features many more vehicles than I have room to post here. There are a few other surprises as well. Check it out.