Contributed by Ed Sindoni
The “local” Mecum Auction is usually held the first two weeks of January (I attended on Tuesday, the eighth). Gates open at 8AM, spectator admission at the gate is $30 (on line prior to show it’s $20 + fees), and parking is $10 cash. Already you’re thinking that this is similar to another Orlando area theme park (let’s not even begin to discuss food and drink prices), but it truly is the absolute best car show in the state.
After stopping on (Route) 192 at Wawa for a mid-morning breakfast, I made my way across the highway to the Osceola Heritage Park. Having pre-purchased my ticket, I walked pass all of the free Mecum information literature (pick these up on the way out), except for that day’s bidding schedule. This lists the approximate times specific vehicles should be on stage. Next you are scanned (think mild TSA), ticket verified, wrist stamped, and finally, off to the cars.
The auction itself starts at 10AM, but your first overall observation is just the quantity and quality of vehicles present. Vehicles are stored in open fields, tents without hard floors, tents with asphalt floors, those with hard floors and climate control, and finally, buildings. Your choice depending on how much as a consignee you want to spend.
Preparing your vehicle for auction again is your choice: you yourself, detailer to come to you vehicle, or going to the professional detailer tent. All vehicles are wiped down by the Formula 303 team just prior to stage presence.
Back to my day, entering through Gate 2, the first lot to visit was the bid goes on lot (vehicles not sold while on stage). Provided that you are a registered bidder, you may place a higher bid on these vehicles. Moving on past several vendors, stopping occasionally, I came across PJ’s Auto Literature and glanced at brochures from many automobile manufacturers all organized by make, model, and year. Looking for an original dealer brochure for that 1991 Pontiac Firebird, they probably have it. There are other smaller tents along the way holding neon signs, gas station memorabilia, the Richard Petty collection of vehicles and memorabilia (autographed of course), and even one of his classic hats!
Moving onto the staging area, you have the opportunity to see and hear the cars run. Owners are often present to answer questions and many are doing final detail work themselves or wishing their so-to-be departed rides farewell. It’s somewhat sad to see an older person watching a part of his/her life being taken or driven away, but it will now become another’s treasure.
Watching the auction isn’t much fun when you’re not a player, but that being the case, it’s always enjoyable to fantasy bid. Spotted in staging was a 1965 Corvette Stingray convertible, green, tan interior, 327, 4 speed…..absolutely perfect! On the block, it wasn’t sold at $75,000. I guess I still have a chance!
The easiest way to summarize Mecum is as follows: You want a ‘57 Chevy – what color, model, engine, transmission? Chances are they probably have it as there are approximately 3,000 offered for sale. Enjoy your day(s)!
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