Glenn Pinkerton / Las Vegas News Bureau
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 | 2 a.m.
As competition between bidders heats up and prices escalate, watching a Mecum Auctions sale on TV can be dramatic.
But just like a sports event, being there in person offers an array of sights, sounds and interactions that can’t be experienced on TV.
“I tell people that if they’re watching the broadcast, they’re seeing the pitcher and the catcher but not the rest of the field,” said Sam Murtaugh, the company’s vice president of marketing and presentation.
Local residents who’d like to get beyond their TV screen and into the immersive experience can do so this week when Mecum holds its second car sale in Las Vegas.
With about 1,000 cars scheduled to go on the block, the company is expecting a strong crowd of car collectors to turn out beginning Thursday for the three-day event at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
But unlike some auction companies that cater to elite buyers, Mecum structures its events to appeal to both car lovers and people who don’t know a camshaft from a driveshaft and really don’t care.
David Magers, the company’s CEO, says that when he’s asked whether Mecum is a car company or an auction company, “our answer is that we’re in the entertainment industry.”
Here are five things to know about the Mecum auction, including what it offers for people who aren’t gearheads.
1. It’s a chance for families to relive memories and make new ones. Cars tend to trigger stories — long car trips with annoying siblings, first dates, first time driving, etc. Magers said the Mecum staff frequently hears from attendees who have a family connection to a car on the sales floor.
2. It’s a museum experience. The cars on the auction list range from the early 1900s to recent model exotics and virtually every era in-between. Highly modified hot rods, mint condition vintage cars and restored classics will all be part of the mix.
3. For prospective buyers, there’s a car for virtually every budget. Yes, there will be cars that would give the average wage earner a bad case of sticker shock, like the sleek red 2012 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport that is among the sale’s feature cars, but there will also be cars that will likely sell for four figures.
4. It’s a spectacle. Last year’s sale greatly exceeded the company’s expectations in terms of crowd size and the number of cars, and this year there will be about 130 more cars on the block than in 2017. Hundreds of cars will roll across the stage each day, meaning bidding will be fast and furious.
5. There’s more to do than watch bidding and look at cars. Dodge will be on hand to give thrill rides in its factory high-performance cars outside the convention center. If you’ve never experienced drift racing — in which the driver controls the car while the rear wheels spin at high revs — this will give you a taste.
The auction is open to buyers, sellers and spectators, with general admission tickets available for $20 online through today and $30 at the door. Children 12 and younger get in free, and bidder registration is $100 through today and $200 afterward.
Doors open daily at 8 a.m., with sales beginning at 10 a.m. NBC Sports Network is broadcasting the event, and a live stream of the entire auction will be available at mecum.com.