This 1969 Chevrolet ZL-1 is an excellent example of conquering the auction environment.  A Blue Chip car, selling well under the money.


The possibility of getting a great collectible muscle car is the allure that draws thousands to the auction tent every year. When attending an auction for the first time, though, it can be difficult to see all the variables that can affect the outcome of the event—and your potential purchase. You walk into the bidding arena, VIP pass around your neck, the stage is set, the red carpets are laid down and the lights are dazzling. The energy of the circus tent and buzz from the bleachers brings up the goose bumps. The chrome is gleaming, her body waxed to a mirror finish, perhaps looking the best she ever has behind the velvet rope. These and other aspects, though, can determine whether you end up with an incredible car for a paltry price, or a tremendous case of heartburn at the end of the day. That’s why it’s critical to draw a battle strategy beforehand.

Weeks in advance of attending an auction, it’s really important to do your homework. As outlined in Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, a good General gets scouting reports and reviews his plan of attack. In advance of going into action at an auction, carefully consider what type of car you are trying to buy and the ultimate purpose of that car.

In addition, take a candid inventory of both what you know and don’t know about making an educated purchase. Your ability to prepare and your willingness to walk away from the wrong situation can determine success or failure. You’re on a conquest and everyone else with a bidder’s pass or a seller’s slip is the adversary. Even the auction house is a fortress of divided loyalty.

“As an auction house we are in an interesting position,” admits Dana Mecum, owner of Mecum Auction Inc. “We are there to get the seller the best price (for his car) and also want to the buyer to feel he got a fair deal.”


Next Time, Part 2 "The Calculations"


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