TMCP #575: Life on the Auction Block with John Kraman – LIVE INTERVIEW From The MECUM Auction Sales Floor!


John Kraman – MECUM Auctions:


This week we have a special interview that was recorded LIVE from the auction floor interview at MECUM in Houston Texas. Our intrepid producer Bernie McPartland caught up with TV personality and voice of MECUM Auctions on The MotorTrend Network, John Kraman. To say John has been in the car business a long time does little to explain just how long. This was an insight into what has become the biggest collector car auction company in the world, all told from the catbird seat!

As a little boy, he would hang around the Pontiac dealership and learn from his dad about the business of selling cars. John started so young that he even talked his fourth grade teacher into ordering a new Pontiac. He told her how to spec it all out including colors, engine and even drive ratios. John is still very interested in the auto industry and can sit down and talk cars all day, and he does it very well. John worked his way through various careers and he found himself selling airplanes while working on them as a mechanic and flight instructor.

In 2008 he was referred to Dana Mecum by his boss David Burrough to be one of the commentators during the auctions. The first time he was on air, they told him just go out there and talk about the car on stage and we will let you know when your time is almost up. During his commentary a voice popped into his headset saying, “it is almost time for commercial, you have five seconds start to wrap it up”. In any normal conversation when the person you are talking to speaks you as a polite conversationalist stop to hear what they are saying and John did the same thing, he stopped talking, in a job where he is paid to talk. The listening audience could not hear the voice in his ear so all the heard and saw was a guy on TV not doing anything. He felt a little embarrassed and asked the crew if anyone ever gets used to this, and they did not know. John found out soon and he does not even remember the day when he quit hearing the voices but admits he could now sit next to an explosion and still keep talking about cars with zero hesitation.

The sales of collectors vehicle is growing all the time and the demand to transfer these great vehicles to new owners gets bigger every year. John said the discussion at MECUM is always about how they can add more cars to the auction. The topic is not about how to “maximize profits” or “increase the bottom line” like most large businesses, it is always directed at the customer and the product. The focus is on making the best event ever and serve more people. John says the trend towards auctions is about a life style change and it is fun to be in the atmosphere and excitement of a collector car auction. The mindset of a current day auction participant has changed and the high prices of cool collector cars is no big issue as compared to the some of us who bought these cars when they were a couple hundred dollars. Cars that used to be under a thousand dollars in the 1980s are now over $50,000 on a regular basis at an auction.

MECUM offers numerous ways to buy and sell classic collector cars on the internet and on TV. John said that the online format of auctions it booming and they have really upgraded the electronic infrastructure to meet the demand of many bidders accessing the servers all at once. The site and hardware just went through a massive revamp and is ready for the future on of online auctions.

MECUM auctions stands ready to help with all of the services a buyer and seller need to make the experience as seemless as possible. They offer many services from appraisal to title transfers and everything in between so that they are the one stop location for all of a shopper and sellers needs.1

Thanks for the interview, John!

-Rob Kibbe


This interview sponsored by our friends at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!



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