Classic Car Auctions

Whether you want to attend the world famous Barrett Jackson Classic Auto Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona or just Lou and Larry’s Classics auction down a a dirt alley in the industrial district of your home town, I have some words of advice that can help you along the way whether you are going to buy or just going for fun to see the sights.
If you are not going to buy, do not bring your wallet, your bank information and you must also conveniently remember to forget your Social Security Number for the day.  It is ever so easy to get caught up in the excitement and get lured into bidding on something you can’t afford, don’t need and deep down, don’t even really want.  At my first auction when I was a boy, I went with my sisters for some reason – not sure why we were even there – but anyhow, my sisters got caught up in the excitement and ended up bidding  several week’s allowance on a tin can of rusty nails.  Luckily some other fool got the auction bug too and outbid them so they got to spend some of their allowance on candy instead as we spawn of dentists normally did on Fridays.
But you get the idea – that was a stupid can of rusty nails – imagine how it feels when you see something you actually want and like and you see the bidding starting just low enough that you think you may have a shot.  Don’t bid on the rusty nails and don’t bid at all if you can’t absolutely afford it, have your wife or husband’s approval and actually have a need for whatever it is you are bidding on.
On the contrary, if you really have some discretional leeway in your personal and/or family budget, then plan ahead – get your financing approved by your own bank and/or the auctioneer company. Bigger auctions usually can provide financing on site, but it’s better to set your limits ahead of time and then you can spend all your time at the auction actually checking out the cars, looking under the hood and all that, to do your research on what you wish to buy before the bidding starts. Also don’t forget to have some plan for dealing with registration and  insurance for the car if you are lucky enough to win the auction.
If you are going to be spending a lot, it’s never a bad idea to bring your own mechanic with you(unless you are one yourself) to have them give the object of your affections a thorough once over before you put the bulk of your piggy bank into buying it. Most of the cars at an auction look good enough on the outside, but you never know what may be wrong with the frame, chassis, drive-train, engine, electrical, steering column, pistons and all that stuff unless you are able to test drive it with your mechanic and have him really pick through it inch by inch with a fine toothed comb (or wrench).  If you follow this advice then you can feel safe bidding on that classic car of your dreams.

Mike Machina has written for 944 Magazine/944.com, Comcast, The Onion and Westword and has been a car enthusiast since he was first able to get behind the wheel of a truck on his friend’s farm in elementary school. He specializes in blogging about classic cars, everyday driving tips, maintenance, insurance and car humor.

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