The phone conversation:
Danya: “What are you up to?”
Me: “Leaving an appointment downtown. What’s up?”
Danya: “Can you get to my studio by 2:30?”
Me: Sure, “I guess…”
Danya: “Good, ’cause we’re goin’ to Mecum!”
With those words, less than an hour later, four gear heads (Rick, Jerome, Danya and myself) were trekking to Indianapolis, Indiana for the Mecum Auto Auction. Yep, it’s just that simple. You say the name “Mecum” to a car guy and all bets are off for the rest of the day. The 2014 Mecum Auto Auction came to Indianapolis Indiana this past month. The Indiana State Fairgrounds were awash with cars – old and new, pre- and post-war, exotic and eccentric, people carriers and race cars. It was a veritable museum of automotive history and all of it was for sale. In my humble opinion, the Mecum Auctions have all the girth of a Barrett-Jackson show, but are far more accessible. It seems more down-to-earth. When we visit B-J next year, then I can make a fair comparison, but for now, the people-friendly environment award goes to Mecum.
We were privileged to arrive while the auction was well under way and enter through a door that led us to the corridor where the cars left the auction floor. A beautiful white Mustang 500KR went for $135,000 and rolled right past us after the hammer dropped. I thought to myself, “If this is how our visit starts, this is gonna’ be good!”
Three tents (each the size of a football field) and two pavilions housed all the cars for sale. I enjoyed a trip down memory lane and saw the cars that I grew up ogling at: Novas, Cobras, Panteras, ‘Cudas and Astons. Along with the vast number of cars, buyers were more than happy to show off their new acquisitions by revving engines for us.
We also got to witness a pristine 1966 GT350 being started and moved to the auction floor. It was a moment in time when every man in a 3500-square foot span suddenly stopped and pledged their allegiance to octane. I will never forget that.
One car in particular caught the eye of my three musician friends who accompanied me. It was a 1970 Volkswagen 21-window Van done up in the loveliest black and silver paint you’d ever seen. We dubbed it as the ultimate car to pull up to a gig with. My personal favorite was a brilliant red ’57 Chevy Convertible. It was hands-down the finest example I had ever seen of a Tri-Five Chevy. Eleanor wasn’t there, but her understudy was. The car that Nick Cage practiced in to drive her in the movie, “Tested Terror” sat in menacing black. My friend Danya (Don -yay) was all too happy to point this car out to us (mainly because it is a Ford). He spotted it from hundreds of yards away.
As you would suspect the Ford vs. Chevy debate ensued as my friend, Danya refused to acknowledge the exhaust burble of a ’59 Corvette, but demanded that we stand at attention when a 429 Mustang cleared its raspy throat. Good debate, good cars, good times. The lights dimmed shortly after the last car passed the block and we took one final trip around to see the cars. One notices that Mecum is a sales spot for more than cars. EVERYTHING automotive is for sale here from vintage gas pumps to neon signs for the collector’s garage. On our way out, we walked across the block. As my friend Rick reminisced with an old buddy, I looked around the arena and could still sense excitement in the air. Petrol and passion seemed to be mixed with oxygen and the vacant reserved seats signified the fact that big money had been shelled out for precious metal. I wish I had the space to talk about every single car I saw, but alas, I don’t. I will encourage you to enjoy our photo gallery, check out the Mecum website to see which cars went for the most at the auction and to find out when the Auction is coming to a city near you. It is a trip well worth the price of admission and a perfect gift to any aficionado of the hobby. I am now a Mecum Man for life!
Special thanks to Danya, who invited me as his special guest because he knew I was a car guy, to Rick, who provided the passes for us and was grateful to have someone who appreciated the cars along and to Jerome, who drove both to and from Indy, providing us with top-shelf wit and side-splitting humor for the entire trip.