3,500 cars up for auction at Osceola Heritage Park

Annual event hosted by Mecum Auctions

By Carolina Cardona - Reporter

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - A one-of-a-kind car auction has rolled into Osceola Heritage Park, inundating 190 acres with thousands of vehicles. 

Mecum Auctions brings together bidders from all over the U.S., Europe, Asia, Brazil and Australia.

It's the 13th edition held in Kissimmee, but the company was actually started 31 years ago by a couple in Illinois. In Kissimmee, the first auction started with 50 cars in the parking lot of a laundromat.

"When we started in Kissimmee with 50 cars, nobody thought that this would eventually become the largest collector car auction in the world," Dave Magers, CEO of Mecum Auctions, said.

From now until Jan. 13, collectors and enthusiasts will see some of the most amazing cars during the event.

For Lou Bracci it's like coming to a toy store.

"I mean, this is just the highlight of the winter months down here in Florida when Mecum comes into town," Bracci said.

Bracci said he's liked more than one car, but he has one problem: There is not enough space at home.

"One? No, the number's a lot more than one, problem is, I don't have a garage large enough," Bracci said.

Mike Becker had his eye on a Corvette, but he did confess that before placing a bid, he first has to talk to his wife.

"It's a beautiful 2006 Xeon 6 and it's just wonderful. I am just so overwhelmed by the amount of cars that are here and the quality of the cars and just the beauty of it's truly eye candy," Becker said.

Magers said bidders and potential bidders like Becker are partially to thank for helping the event expand over the years.

"We view ourselves as a collector car auction company for everybody. So, it really doesn't matter what brand you like, what model you like, what year you like, what color you like and most importantly, it doesn't matter how big your pocket book is -- there's a car here for you," Magers said.

It's a car auction like no other, with about 3,500 cars -- mainly domestic -- that come from 44 states.

It makes for a truly impressive event where guests will see all kinds of cars from late model cars to antiques like a Ford Model T from 1909.

For anyone wondering what the most expensive car is, it's a 1965 Ford GT 40 roadster, a unique edition valued at more than $15 million.

"The GT 40 program was specific to compete in the race tracks of the world and when they did that, they only created two of these GT 40s that were roadsters. There (are) only two cars like this known to exist and this is actually the only one that raced the Lemon, which is the most famous road race in the world. We have cars that will sell today for less than $10,000 and we have cars that will sell a week from now for more than $10 millions," Magers said.

During 11 days, auctioneers will be going at full speed to the highest bidders -- a skill Russell Conklin learned at 10 years old.

"It's all about putting your numbers together and your fill words," Conklin said. 

Whether you collect cars or not, this family friendly event is for everyone. For those who love to live in the fast lane, admission to the auction includes a thrill ride experience in a Dodge Charger. A professional race car driver will take you for a spin and demonstrate what a 707 horse power vehicle can do.

For more information about tickets and schedules, visit www.mecum.com.

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