Tulsa hosts world’s largest car-collector auction company featuring unique, vintage cars | Local News

Raymond S. Hughes

Nearly 300 American muscle cars, exotics, hot rods, customs and other flashy collector vehicles drove across the auction block in the SageNet Center at Expo Square on Friday amid a sea of hopeful bidders.

The world’s largest car-collector company, Mecum Auctions, began its second Tulsa auction on Thursday following last year’s Mecum Tulsa auction, which tallied $22.1 million.

This year’s auction hosted visitors from around the country and featured cars from the Tommy Cronk Collection, the Father & Son Perham collection and a private no-reserve collection.

On Friday, the SageNet Center overflowed with hundreds of buyers, sellers and spectators admiring the endless rows of cars, snapping photos and carefully investigating under each hood.

Friday’s auction began with several retro neon and tin signs, each selling for hundreds of dollars. Then the stage featured nearly 300 collector cars selling for thousands of dollars, such as a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro that sold for $55,000; a 1969 Oldsmobile 442 convertible for $45,000; and a 1972 Chevrolet K10 pickup for $46,000.

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When a shiny blue car drove onto the stage, Casey Hoyt of Lafayette, Louisiana, set his eyes on the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro convertible. His second time ever attending a car auction resulted in a winning bid of $65,000 for the Camaro, his first Chevrolet.

Hoyt said he was determined to place the winning bid because his son “couldn’t live without it.” When the gavel pounded, auctioneer assistants rushed over to Hoyt as he beamed with excitement.

“Man, I’m feeling great,” he said. “Now we’re a Chevy family.”

The auction will conclude on Saturday, presenting another round of classic and collector car options, such as a 1965 Mercury Comet A/FX Lightweight, a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am SE and a 1965 Shelby Cobra CSX4000 Series Roadster.

Saturday will also feature a locally owned 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom. Its owner, Lonnie Rush of Perkins, said he received the bright red Chevrolet 25 years ago as a Christmas gift from his wife. He remembers frequently driving the collector car to Stillwater, where college students adored it and bombarded Rush with questions.

The Chevrolet became part of Rush’s family through 2½ decades with the vehicle, but Rush is ready to retire it. He said he chose to enter it into Mecum Auctions after attending last year’s Tulsa auction and being impressed by its “friendly” people.

“If the price gets up to where we can live with it, we’ll let it go, and if not, we’ll keep it,” Rush said. “Everywhere you go, people look at the car and take pictures of it. It’s a beautiful car.”

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