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THE WEST COAST VS MECUM AUTO AUCTIONS

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OK, so I’ve just returned from another amazing trip to America… These trips come and go so fast for me and it’s big day after big day so its hard to remember everything myself! These Newsletters are as good for me to sit down and put it all in perspective and reflect as much as I hope they are interesting for you guys… So here we go.

This time I flew into Seattle to be greeted by my buddy Shaun in my G20 Van that we named “The Midnight Train”. Shaun is an employee of mine who moved to America, on the last Route 66 trip, we flew out and he stayed on… The Midnight Train is a van I’ve owned for many years and has served me well on many big road trips and is always up for a trip to anywhere. So, to jump off the plane and see these two old friends was an amazing start to 17 nights of smashing through America.

DAY 1. SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

First point of call… Drive from Seattle North to Jim Sheflo’s Hot Rod shop in Mount Vernon, Washington.

A great bunch of guys and

My buddy Shaun had been previously doing some work up in Sheflo’s shop and we swung through for a beer and to say hey… The next day we were all going out on a hot rod run for the Swindlers 20th Annual Poker Run. Great bunch of guys and a cool kick off to the first day. I managed to buy a couple of signs to get in the van to bring home before heading up the road to another collection I had set up to visit…

So later that night and first day on the ground I have a few things in the van already and head up to meet another seller of vintage signs… I ask him on the phone if he has more stuff than he has advertised, and he says he may have. Once we arrive, he greets us and shows me through his shed, we strike up some deals and start making a small pile and a theme starts to unravel that I find repetitive throughout the trip… They let you in, you buy some stuff and break the ice and they work out your real and then… they take you to the second room! The second room is where the good shit is, the stuff they want to keep and it’s always so much better than the first room… And harder to buy out of!

DAY 2 THE SWINDLERS 20TH ANNUAL POKER RUN

MOUNT VERNON, WASHINGTON

So, a nice early kick off on a dreary Saturday morning and all the Swindlers, Coffins and friends off start to roll in… about 120 cars in total with guys coming down from Canada and surrounding states… A super cool crew with some bad arse cars! I jump in with Sheflo and roll out while Shaun whores himself around throughout the day riding in several different cars…

DAY 3. HEADING SOUTH

So today Shaun says goodbye to his Mount Vernon family and we head south for L.A… He’s chasing the sun as Winter is starting to roll in so we planned this to drive South together when he moved to L.A. I’ve done this drive 4 other times (you may recall the trip where we drove the Dodge Charger) but we’ve never taken the coast road, so this trip we’ll run beside the ocean and try and load the van up with goodies along the way. First stop is getting back to Seattle… But first I have another lead to chase, so we head North before we head South. This time I get into a very cool collection and there’s also a heap of Coke and Pepsi fridges and a real nice 7up fridge… I have to weigh up whether or not we get a trailer from here and load up, but we hadn’t even started yet and it’s a long haul… I do however get to buy some great stuff I can carry in the van and muscle a deal out of the big fella… Luckily, I didn’t have to arm wrestle him for it.

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So i’m in Seattle and in a good place… Got some value with me and feeling good about having some cool stuff in the bag… it always helps my anxiety when I get off to a good start, nothing worse than being on the ground and not getting traction… These trips come at a price and have to be justified. We have some other places lined up for tomorrow so now it’s time for a beer…

DAY 4… MORE TO CHASE

This stop was a great spot set up by Rachel, my PA back at home in the office… We had worked on a map together before we left and loaded it up with spots to hit along the way, this was one of her finds and a totally rad one… It’s my heaven plus it had cabins so we stayed there the night, bought some really rare stuff and had a fire out the back under that crisp American night sky. Definitely a great spot and an awesome find… These places and the people I meet make the trips, and I’m well aware how very lucky I am to call this my job… This was a great find.

From here we have a fair bit of driving to do to get to LA and empty the van on Friday, so we can hit Long Beach Swap on the weekend and reload… a quick breakfast stop in the morning and we break out towards the ocean to hit to 101. I have a seller to go meet and we squeeze in a few stops and get some small buys in along the way to break up the drive.; We spend a big day behind the wheel chasing the sun with just enough time to check into a hotel and watch it fall into the ocean… my other van that’s now back at home is “the sunset Chaser”, those who know me know this is a thing for me and the West Coast of America puts on a pretty amazing show every evening when the sun goes down so I do make a point of trying to catch them. This one does not disappoint and once it’s gone, we gather drift wood and make a fire on the beach… a big day but we made the most of getting from A to B.

DAY 5. CRESCENT CITY, CALIFORNIA

The next day its more of the same, we have 8hrs of driving to crush and pin it down through all the red wood forests and back out onto the shore line… a couple of stops but we are shooting to make it to Santa Cruz for the night and really need to get the hours down… a diversion off the main road to hit the beach for another sunset and we are back on the road for a late one.

 

 

 

Santa Cruz looks cool as at night and the theme park and all the roller coasters look awesome as we roll in. We get our grossly misrepresented twin share hotel where Shaun finds out his bed is a pull out couch that’s about as flat as a set of stairs … poor Shaun. Anywho, I’m off to bed 🙂

DAY 6. WE LEAVE THE 101 AND HEAD EAST TO BAKERSFIELD

We get in and it’s just getting dark, it’s a cool big shed and full of bad arse hot rod parts, signs, rare motors with super rare old skool inlet manifolds and I know we are in a cool place.

A couple of beers later and some straight vodka from the bottle and I’ve made a bunch of new friends and have worked out I’ve fallen into a very cool shed full of legit old skool hot rodders… These guys are family and come together every Thursday night for a catch up at the shed… They have only been doing this every night since 1984! The youngest guy out of the circle is 51 and tells me how he grew up next to all these guys and started helping them in the shed at the age of about 15 and going out to events with them… He rolled up in a hot rod that he helped the guys build back in the 80’s but later bought off them about 20 years ago… Just a great crew living in a really cool world, that made for a really cool and memorable night for me.

DAY 7. EMPTY THE VAN

Next morning, after a super dodgy night at a Motel 6 that had surround sound screaming and random doors being banged on all night, we head to the shipping yard to unpack the van and palatize all the stuff I’ve bought along the way. We are empty again for the weekend as we have a big swap meet to go to…

DAY 8… VENICE BEACH  TO LONGBEACH

 

After Venice Beach me and my weird mate head out to see some of my regulars around L.A and start making a meal of things again… We have emptied the van and need it empty for Sundays swap meet so I buy up pretty hard but leave it all with my sellers… this is future Ben’s problem and will come back to haunt him on the last day of the trip when I have to drive around and pick it all up and pack my pallets all on the last day before I fly home. I get some great stuff though and now I’m back in L.A I can start picking up bulky stuff again. So, I get a few new Coke and Pepsi fridges in the buys, some cool neon’s and even get to buy the big 66 California Motel sign as a bit of a trophy.

With that day done we head out to Long Beach to our hotel for an early night and early start…

DAY 9. LONG BEACH PERFORMANCE SWAP

Today is the day of the swap meet, so it’s an early start… a quick breakfast and a shit American coffee… The coffee isn’t the best at the best of times but today I’ve mixed up me bloody milks and put some weird spiced pumpkin shit in my coffee… Not doing that again!

 

DAY 10.   UNLOAD THE VAN AND MAKE MORE PALLETS

After we unpack and are ready to roll again, we head to Las Vegas to meet with a regular seller on Tuesday, I had a couple of places to hit on the way out and have loaded the van again before we get to Vegas! Luckily my buddy in Vegas is awesome and we can buy off him, leave everything we have there and have him deliver it all to LA for us later…

DAY 11. BUYING MORE MEMORABILIA

After getting out to Vegas we go meet my guy in the morning to see what he might have for us and get together another nice little haul of neon’s and porcelain signs ect… Also scored some really cool Coke salesman kits that I’ve never seen before that will go nicely in the Coca-Cola collection.

First things first though and we go catch up with Glen Jennings (who you may remember from such adventures as, Barrett Jackson’s in Arizona 18 &19 and former owner of the Lost in the 50’s museum in Newcastle, NSW and boxer Tim Tszyu, they are in Vegas for a week with Tim at Floyd Mayweather’s boxing camp, so we catch up for some dinner before the Mecum in the morning.

DAY 13. MECUM AUTO AUCTIONS, LAS VEGAS.

These gigs are amazing and really are just a big guys circus, you can’t help but walk into these events and get some goose bumps. We roll in early as the Road Art (Memorabilia) is up first each day so no sleep ins for us… The lights dim, the music ramps up and it’s on, we all stand for the Anthem and then we are straight into it. First item is a Hoosier stand, a life size guy holding finishing flags and it’s rad… i tell Glen I’m in on this thing and wait to see where its going and let it build before i put my hand up and boom! The hammer drops and it’s sold and I’m still spinning and realise I need to get my game face on! From there it’s a frenzy and I manage to buy some great stuff… paid for it but got some great items to bring home.

After buying a car i was lucky enough to have the original owner come over and introduce himself… he bought it off the dealerships owner with only 800miles on the clock and had owned it since… he handed me some spare keys and told me he was only 94 and a half years young. He was a great guy and sat with us for some time and was definitely a cool little bonus for us to have that.

After a couple of day’s the auctioneers voice gets in your head and can send you crazy… They do a great job of it keeping it moving though and we enjoyed getting caught up in it… This guy pictured here was there every day from start to finish, he sang his heart out every morning when they played the Anthem and he was flying his stars and stripes hard… Got to love America and how patriotic they are.

So the items kept rolling, the cars kept coming and it was a good time as usual… I did get into a little battle on a car with the auctioneer that was quite funny and was sent some screen shots from a friend who saw it on T.V so I’ll look forward to catching that myself some time.

DAY 15. Saturday… Back to Mecum for another early start with Glen, Shaun is having a sleep-in cos he went out wandering Las Vegas. I also have to pick up what signs i can to take with me, the rest I’ll leave for my buddy to collect and take to L.A with the rest of my stuff. I load the van and head back to pick Shaun up and we head to L.A for the Pomona Swap Meet.

Saturday night, I, Shaun, Glen and Tim all make it back to our hotel after our Saturday afternoon trawl through the swap meet… Another big day done and dusted and some cheeky pre swap meet buys done and it’s time for some dinner. We find a restaurant close by and shoot the info to Glen to confirm he’s good with it and can survive a night without eating at Applebee’s again… Always pretty funny shit going on hanging out with that guy. Anywho… after dinner it’s an early night and early start tomorrow.

DAY 16. Sunday morning… The world-famous Pomona Swap meet.

As per usual we are filling the van and this time we have so much stuff we can’t fit the cart in so we strap it to the van and head back to the hotel to go meet Glen Jennings and see how his day of shopping went.

As we pull in we find Glen’s hire car parked with his trolley strapped to the roof as well as he’s filled his van too… I find this incredibly amusing as I do like to make fun of his very practical van… and now with his very practical trolley strapped to the roof and parked beside the Midnight Train with our modified trolley hanging off the back I do have to stop and capture a shot of it.

DAY 17. Monday… Monday means home time… Time to get back to the shipping yard and unpack, load pallets, go back to where we’d left other stuff we’d bought around L.A and pick it all up, drop it off and finalise everything before flying out that night! Shaun wants to fuel up for breakfast at McDonalds, I’m not a huge fan but roll with it to get it done… somehow, buggers me, but we end up with some McRiddle thing and it’s a oversized chicken nugget between to sweet pancakes and I’m still at a loss as to how anyone can bring that up at a board meeting and suggest such a thing and not get slapped to the ground… cos that’s what should have happened and mine got binned… and just quietly, I’m still angry about it!

It’s going to be a bit of yuck day and all a bit too much like hard work, not enough hours in the day and just have a big day with a big flight at the end of it all… plus I have to say goodbye to me mate Rowdy again after a couple of weeks on the road as my trusty side kick and fellow explorer of the planet after another big adventure. All good things must come to an end and as much as I love my America, I do also always love coming home. I had another great trip, and I’ve been putting a solid effort into building a great Automotive Memorabilia collection since purchasing a museum on a previous trip that has since been shipped out and is currently in storage… As to how this all unfolds… you’ll just have to keep an eye on this space 😉

But all good things must come to an end and as much as i love my America i do also always love coming home. I had another great trip, and I’ve been putting a solid effort into building a great Automotive Memorabilia collection since purchasing a museum on a previous trip that has since been shipped out and is currently in storage… As to how this all unfolds… you’ll just have to keep an eye on this space 😉

To Buy, Sell or Consign, please call us on 0755 966 566 or 0416407540 with inquires or check www.seven82motors.com.au for approx 50 detailed photos to help with your decision making.

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