Mecum Auctions revs up excitement
There are all different kinds of cars and all different kinds of car people, too. You don’t have to be a collector or a connoisseur, a fanatic or a specialist, a speed demon or a grease monkey. It’s a totally inclusive culture. You can just be a car guy.
For example: Dave Magers worked in insurance for 35 years and was CFO for a $16 billion company, but he’s also a car guy—one with three mechanic uncles, and a dad who was always tinkering on four or five cars at a time despite the family’s one-car garage.
“When I was 14, we restored a 1927 Chevrolet pickup and it was probably the worst restoration in history,” he laughs.
Clearly, being a car guy is something that’s in the blood, which is why Magers left the insurance world five years ago to take a post as CEO of Mecum Auctions, the world’s largest collector-car auction company.
This month Mecum expands its offering with its first Las Vegas car auction at the Las Vegas Convention Center, featuring more than 1,000 American muscle cars, classics, Corvettes, hot rods and restomods from 20 different states and Canada.
Mecum has been holding successful motorcycle auctions in Las Vegas for years and was just ready to do more in Sin City, Magers says. “This year in January we did over $12 million in sales, and our second Las Vegas (motorcycle) auction we just added in June did an additional $4 million,” he says. “To be able to grow that business that much gives us a lot of confidence to go ahead and do what we’ve done in so many cities across the country, and we’ve seen there’s just a strong car culture in this area. It allows us to tap into (western) markets.”
It’s also helpful that Vegas is the perfect place to host the sort of loud, supercharged entertainment event that Mecum Auctions have evolved into. One of the most unique vehicles in the world goes flying across the block every few minutes for nine hours a day, and that’s just the auction. Associated sponsor events like the Dodge Thrill Ride drift course add even more excitement and interactivity.
“It’s loud, fast and exciting, and it’s live-streamed so it has that live TV feeling that adds another element of excitement, but at its core Mecum is a family-owned company,” Magers says. “We pride ourselves on creating a family-friendly environment and events where you can bring your family, spend a day and be a part of all the spectacle. It’s kind of like Disneyland, only centered around cars.”
And what cars there are. Among the main attractions for the inaugural Vegas event is a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra Roadster with its original aluminum body and 6-inch chrome wire wheels; it’s one of the most original automatic-equipped Cobras in existence. There’s also a 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster and a rare 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird. Well-known collector Les Quam is bringing 11 cars to the auction, including a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, five Dodge Vipers and a 1968 Yenko Camaro.
Las Vegas Convention Center, 8 a.m. Nov. 16-18, $100-$200 bidder registration, $20 advance, $30 at the door, 12 and under free. mecum.com