While Spring Training and many other events around the West Valley cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, the show went on at Mecum Auctions, where participants experienced over 100 years of car history and bid on stunning autos.
Mecum Auctions, the world’s largest collector-car auction company, returned to State Farm Stadium Wednesday, March 11, through Saturday, March 14, for its second annual event in Glendale. The family-owned company brings a diverse collection of cars and motorcycles for bidders and car aficionados.
David Morton, communications and event marketing manager, said the Glendale auction is one of 13 car auctions the company has this year. Last year, the inaugural event made roughly $39 million and exceeded the first-year sales by 80%.
Morton said the event allows men to channel their passion for automobiles at one location.
“Cars are one of the things that men are most passionate about,” Morton said. “Mecum realized the auction provided an opportunity to showcase a variety of cars in one setting.”
As of Thursday, March 12, Morton said the event had had roughly 2,000 bidders. The auction itself holds 1,300 cars and 15 motorcycles.
New this year was a Sunset Sessions Food and Music Festival following the auction on Friday and Saturday. The show featured unlimited food and beverages prepared by award-winning celebrity chefs. In addition, Lifehouse and Billy Ray Cyrus performed and thrill rides were being offered for guests at an adjacent racing track.
But the vehicles are the reason people make the trip to Mecum Auctions every year.
Spencer Hoover, of Litchfield Park, said he has attended numerous car auctions and decided to attend Mecum in 2019. He bought three motorcycles and a car and also was selling a 1955 Porsche Speedster.
Hoover said he is fond of the Mecum events because of the myriad of car types and styles.
“It has such a variety, which is nice, and I think that’s what attracts a lot of different people,” Hoover said. “You don’t just get very wealthy people. I do like the diversity.”
Hoover, who has been a Porsche-lover since he was 5, said that as a car collector, the atmosphere of an auction is important, as he likes to engage with other car-enthusiasts.
“The atmosphere is good,” Hoover said. “People seem to be out here walking around and having fun.”
Morton said this year some of the biggest attractions will be muscle cars. This includes a one-of-three remaining 2017 Ford GT Competition Series with just over 265 miles, which is owned by famed driver Sebastien Bourdais.
Dan Minor came to Arizona from Minnesota to attend the event. He is selling three types of cars, which include a Dodge, a Ford Bronco and a Chevrolet.
“I buy them to bring them to the auction and sell them,” Minor said. “My dad has six of them here.”
Minor said he likes the family-feel atmosphere the event has. Specifically, however, he likes that bidders have the option to put cars at a reserve. If they choose to do so, the seller can choose to not sell the car if they don’t get the amount of money desired.
Morton said roughly 95% of cars will be at reserve this year.
“Mecum does a good job,” Minor said. “They put a lot into it, they know how to get the crowd here.”
The family-feel aspect of the show is something owners Dana and Patti Mecum take pride in, Morton said. He said the heart of Mecum Auctions remains with the passion for cars.
“It’s the type of people being around something that they love,” Morton said. “That enthusiasm and that passion for their work is extended to our customers because we want them to have that fun we’re having.”
Despite the heavy rain the auction experienced, people remained at the event, with their feet wet, as they looked at the different types of cars available. From muscle cars to sports cars to American classics, Mecum Auctions had something for everyone that attended.
“This auction gives people an opportunity to watch a great car show and look at cars they have never seen before or wished they had as kids,” Morton said.
“I just spent time with two couples that were in town for Spring Training that attended the auction since the games were cancelled.”
Peoria Times photos by Chris Mortenson.