This past weekend I had the chance to attend two great events that all muscle car fans would enjoy – a Mecum Auction in Des Moines, IA and the Car Craft Nationals in St. Paul, MN.

While the two events were worlds apart in the structure and purpose of their event, they were connected by the same thread – both events had great muscle cars for sale, cars to see, and (better yet) tons of great muscle car people.

Mecum Auction:

Until attending Mecum I had never been to a collector car auction before.  I had seen several auctions on TV, but in all honesty, that was about it.  I arrived a little after the auction had started – and it was already broadcasting live on HD Theatre.  (I DVR’d it to see if I was ever on TV….I wasn’t.)   I was instantly impressed.  Mecum puts on a great auction.  There were a lot of things that had been logistically worked out to keep things moving smoothly – they definitely had their bases covered.  The entire building had been transformed to make the cars the stars.  At one end of the building was the actual auction block (the part you see on TV), and the remainder of the building was dedicated to car parking.  All ‘TV Star’ cars had their own special little place…..and the cars there were creme-de-le-creme (see pictures below).

An interesting thing about the auction itself: if the car being sold was not bid up to it’s reserve the owner had the choice of lifting the reserve (to sell it for whatever it would bring on the spot and hope that the crowd would go crazy), cancel the sale, or put it in the ‘Bid Goes On’ section where people could continue to bid on it, but not as aggressively as they would on the auction block.   From my observation, I would say that a good chunk of the reserve cars (maybe 50-60%) ended up in the ‘Bid Goes On’ section.  Of those that gambled and lifted the reserve, sometimes they doubled the price of the car, and sometimes it did nothing.  The crowd seemed hard to read.

The big money car was a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang – it sold at $195,000.  As far as most other muscle cars that went though, the average range was $20,000 to $60,000 depending on the model, rarity, etc.  The market has cooled a bit, and if you have the cash now is a terrific time to get a deal on an investment car!

The big money car - a 1969 Boss 429 Mustang
A GTO awaits it turn to go across the block.
Another big money car - a 1971 Hemi Cuda Convertible 'Tribute' Car.

Car Craft Nationals:

Roughly 12 hours after leaving the Mecum auction, the Chevelle, my brother-in-law and I were on our way to St Paul to attend the Car Craft Nationals.  (Interesting side note – they say that women always marry someone like their father, but in my wife’s case she married someone like her brother…..a lot like her brother.)  We arrived around 11AM and did a slow loop through the Minnesota State Fair Grounds (where the event was held).  There were cars and people everywhere.  Similar to the GoodGuys show we attended a few weeks ago, this was a lot like going to a State Fair, but one dedicated to cars instead of agriculture.  I never did get my cup of chocolate chip cookies though (my favorite food at the fair) – the cars distracted me.

The show was so large it took us roughly four hours to make a full walking “lap” and see everything once.  We also went to the event section and took some video of the Autocross, “Launch Box”, and the Burnout Contest (a crowd favorite).  See videos below!

Some trip highlights:

Ford XB Falcon Hardtop

Car Craft Nats – Video!

2 Responses

  1. Great post, thanks for the info on the Car Craft Nationals. We’ll definitely have to schedule a trip out to the midwest for that show!

    Attended the first muscle car auction this year, too. Went to the Mecum held in Kissimmee FL and had the same happy experience that you did. A seamlessly prepared event, so many excellent (and reasonably priced) muscle cars for sale!

    Love your blog. Will visit again.

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