Contributed by Russ Muller Photography
Have you ever watched a big collector car auction on TV, or visited one in person? If you’re like me, you’ve likely done both. You may have watched one of your dream cars go across the block and sell for an amount that you know you could not afford, and thought to yourself “why are all these cars unobtainable?” or “how can I find a car that’s closer to my budget?” Well, I found one possible answer in an unlikely place: Lakeland, FL
When Tara from FlaCarShows.com asked me if I’d like to attend the Carlisle Collector Car Auction in Lakeland with her, my initial response was “I don’t know.” I had just watched a batch of Ram Air IV GTO’s go across the auction block on TV for some crazy dollar amounts that left me feeling like I’d never be able to afford another classic (not that I’m looking, I love my old Pontiac…). But I looked at the cars listed on their website, saw some interesting ones and some oddball cars as well so I decided to take her up on the offer. Heading to Lakeland from the North side of Orlando requires braving I-4 traffic, but we made it there in time to kick off the event at 10:30 AM on Friday, February 10th. Carlisle had approximately 400 cars to run over the course of Friday and Saturday. Michael Garland, the marketing director of Carlisle, met us and gave us a walking tour of the layout and some background information on the event.
For a relatively small (by comparison) auction, I was immediately struck by two things: First, there were some interesting and unique cars that I did not expect to see. How unique? How about a Chevy Monza, a righthand drive Mitsubishi Galant A, and an ASC McLaren Mercury Capri convertible, just to name a few. Second, many of the cars were what I would call “nice driver quality” that someone could buy and drive down to their local cruise-in to enjoy. Some were 10-footers, some were flawless, some were lower-cost later model cars. All were cars that were attainable. For example: A nice 1970 Torino, green with laser stripe, black interior and 302 under the black GT-style hood sold for $18,000. A clean 63 Chevy Bel Air sold for $20,500, and a 2015 Chevy Camaro RS went for $8,500. There seemed to be some great value buys for car enthusiasts.
Carlisle does a dedicated “all truck hour” at their auction. This year, 25 trucks went across the block, and 20 of them went home to new owners. Of the 400 total cars, 50% sold. Their top dollar seller of the auction was a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda that sold for $86,400. Overall, the auction generated $4 million in sales, and they even raised $2,600 for Wheels from the Heart by selling a 1992 Jaguar. Doing good is never a bad thing.
Overall, this was a different auction than I was expecting. It was nice to see cars that a regular working guy like me could afford to buy. They have other auctions coming up, and their next one is in April in Carlisle, PA. Check it out, you might be surprised. I was…