How the coronavirus will change the car auction event


Mecum Auctions CEO Dave Magers said that as the annual auto extravaganza at Indiana State Fairgrounds approached, he had the same two questions time and time again.

Yes, the event is still ongoing. And no, don’t expect to see a lean, diet version of the beloved auction due to the newly established coronavirus protocols.

In fact, Magers said his team has been working alongside city, county and state officials for more than a month to ensure attendees get the Mecum experience they know and love.

Mecum Auctions CEO Dave Magers, far left, and other Mecum officials work while wearing masks and sitting behind plexiglass on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Masks and glass are part of broad protocols of coronavirus set for the nine-day Mecum Indianapolis 2020 event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  Magers said fans of the annual automotive extravagance should expect the Mecum they know and love, with some obvious changes in staff names and visitor safety.

“We think we have thought about everything that needs to be done to have a safe auction in this environment. We have about 250 people working on this event. They come from all over the country and they all wear masks. because I’ve been out for a walk to make sure, ”Magers said Thursday afternoon while wearing his own black face mask. “Not only do you not get a scaled-down version, but you get an enhanced version.

“It’s Mecum-plus this time.”

Masks and temperature controls

Friday marks the start of Dana Mecum’s 33rd Original Spring Classic auction. It runs until July 18. While the event has been going strong for more than three decades, 2020 is the first year that muscle cars and memorabilia will be paired with mandatory masks and door temperature checks.

But Magers’ claim that this will be the biggest to reach Indianapolis is supported by the number of races up for grabs and the scale of the event. Boasting around 2,000 vehicles and nine days of action, the event has a few hundred cars and three more days than Mecum 2019.

Officials also arrive in Indianapolis with a lot of practice and a sophisticated security plan that has become a 10-page document. The Indiana auction will be the third Mecum event since the coronavirus pandemic ended plans, following events in Iowa and North Carolina.

“We took everything we learned from the security protocols in Iowa and improved them for North Carolina, which went really well and we had absolutely no issues. yet done coming here to Indy, ”he said. “With everything we’ve put in place to be able to run this auction safely – and of course this event being indoors and out – it gives us a lot more capacity than we would have. in a convention center or more closed environment. “

The new normal

Daily non-contact temperature monitoring will be required for all participants and employees prior to entering the auction premises. The procedure involves a staff member briefly holding a non-contact thermometer to your forehead and obtaining a reading.

Anyone with a temperature above 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to enter.

Under the leadership of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, masks have become mandatory in Indianapolis, and this rule extends to Mecum.

“I know some people would look at the (mask warrant) and say, ‘Oh no. The mask thing is going to hurt you. “But it’s actually one of the best things that happens,” Magers said. “It makes our life a lot easier. You have to wear a mask to get in. Period.”

Started Thursday: What you need to know about the Marion County mask requirement

For those who forget their masks at home, on-site masks will be provided. Officials working on Thursday said about 10,000 masks had been ordered for those in need.

The auction room itself is also a little different while maintaining the traditional Mecum look and feel. The long rows of touching seating have been replaced with classy-style seating with tables and chairs spaced apart.

The men and women working at the auction are now seated behind large plexiglass barriers, and ushers will work on the ground to remind people not to share table space with people they don’t know.

And just like your local grocery store, the entire event space is equipped with hand sanitizer and reminder stations to maintain social distancing.

How to participate remotely

Planning aside, Magers said he knew there were a lot of auction fans who might not be comfortable attending the event. This is where online and telephone auctions come in.

“Right now we have about the same number of pre-registered and on-site bidders that we have had in each of the past five years, but we are seeing a significant increase in the number of internet and online bidders. phone, “he said.

One of many signs reminding Mecum Indianapolis 2020 attendees to maintain social distancing.  Mecum CEO Dave Magers said his team had worked for more than a month to establish COVID-19 security protocols in place for this year's event.

It also makes the TV broadcast and extra days essential to this year’s event. Magers said that while his team is more than capable of making 2,000 cars in the traditional six days of previous events, the additional three days allow them to space cars and handle crowds.

He also wants the newly established security protocols to be obvious to anyone who logs in when the event is broadcast on NBC Sports Network.


One of the biggest attractions of Mecum Indianapolis 2020 is the nine Shelby Mustangs from the John Atzbach collection, highlighted by the first 1965 Shelby GT350R competition model built.

Known as the “Flying Mustang” and driven by Ken Miles, the Shelby 5R002 is today one of the most important and historic racing cars ever built by Shelby American Inc., according to Mecum officials.

And if the name Ken Miles sounds familiar to moviegoers who aren’t racing fans, it’s because Christian Bale portrayed Ken Miles in the 2019 movie “Ford v Ferrari”.

Actors Matt Damon and Christian Bale, who starred in "Ford vs. Ferrari," Wave the green flags to begin the 103rd Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 26, 2019.

Eight other rare Shelby Mustangs complete the collection, including two supercharged cars and one of four GT350 convertibles produced in 1966. Atzbach’s Road Art collection will also be on offer and includes approximately 15,000 items ranging from rare Shelby artifacts to vintage automobile signs. original and authentic. and collectibles.

Other headliners at the auction include a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Cabriolet known as The Ultimate L88; Bill Holland’s 1947 Indy Car, Indianapolis 500 winner, known as the Blue Crown Spark Plug Special; two convertibles Plymouth Cuda 1971 V-Code 440 6 BBL; a Ferrari 275 GTB / 4 Berlinetta from 1967 and up.

If you are going to

First of all. If you feel sick, don’t go. If you do, don’t forget your mask.

Advance tickets are sold until 11:59 p.m. Thursday for $ 20 per person, per day.

Once the auction has started, tickets are $ 30 per person, per day at the door and online. It runs until July 18.

Children 12 and under enter for free.

All Mecum tickets are sold on a non-refundable basis.

General parking is available for $ 10 per day and is managed directly by the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Don’t forget your mask either.

Call IndyStar reporter Justin L. Mack at 317-444-6138. Follow him on Twitter: @justinlmack.

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