The auction was a great success.  I had a great time with the whole experience and ended up learning a thing or two.  At the last possible moment I decided to go over to the Russo and Steele auction.  I talked with plenty of people that know more about this stuff than I do and they kept recommending that I go to an auction house where I could put a reserve on the car to help control the final sale.

So I drove down to their offices to pay my consignment fees and sign over the power of attorney so that they could finalize the work on the title.  I paid $950.00 to have the car in the auction.  YearOne had valued the car at $80,000.00 when they gave it to me.  I had heard that with these types of restoration projects that the car is only getting .50 on the dollar back from what they put into it.  Now, this being said, I went in to the Russo and Steele offices thinking that I would put the reserve on the car at 40k.  If the car hits the reserve price or more, the consignment fee is refunded and then the auction house takes a commission of 10% of the closing bid.  They want to make sure that they get the cars sold, so I was advised to have my reserve price set at a more reasonable price of 30k.  I’ve never done this before, so I felt that it was fair to trust their judgement.

To promote the cars that are for sale at the auction they publish a catalog with a short description of the vehicles.  I had switched from the Barrett Jackson auction to Russo and Steele so late in the game that I didn’t get in the catalog.  I was nervous that I wouldn’t have enough coverage to show off the car and find a buyer.  So, I started promoting it myself.  I was out at the auction everyday for 6-8 hours a day.  I talked to the Hagerty insurance reps and asked to be on their website’s “Cars to watch” list.  I had magazines out about the Bandit and had printed information in the windows.  I set up my laptop in the engine to play an episode of the DIY Network show all about rebuilding the car.  I hung up a poster on the pole behind the Bandit and even strung up a clothesline where I pinned up my wardrobe from my winning video.  I brought a CD with the song from the Smokey and the Bandit movie, “Eastbound and Down” and blasted it over the speakers a few times.  Probably the best thing I did was that I made some friends with Jerry’s Audio-Video.  They had a booth set up and had a huge Plasma screen set up.  I gave them a DVD of my video and they would play it for me 2-3 times a day.  😀

So, I watched some of the other auctions to get a feel for how it worked.  The cars would drive in between these huge bleachers.  The auction caller was up on a tower overlooking the whole crowd and the bidder assistance were down working the crowd.  There were several bidders who would be down and circling around the cars to get a closer look at them.  I had one of the Russo and Steele employees drive the car in so that I could stand off to the side of the block and act cool.  I kept my arms folded across my chest and tried my best to shake my head “NO” when ever the bidder assistant would ask me questions.  The idea is that the crowd is watching the interchange between the seller and the bidder assistant.  The crowd is watching to see when the seller is going to fold on thier reserve and sell the car.

As soon as the car stopped on the block the bidder assistant came right over to me.  He said, “I see that your reserve is at 30, would you take 20?”  I held firm.  Arms folded across my chest, “no” I said while shaking my head for the crowd to see.  “How about 22?  25?” he asked.  “No”, then I said, “Lets just see where it goes.”

About 30-45 seconds later the bid had cranked up past 30k.  The bidder assistant came over and said, “Hey, you hit your reserve!”.  I told him not to say anything yet so that it could keep climbing.  The bidding seemed to even out at about 48k when the caller cried out, “ARE WE GOING TO SELL THIS CAR?”  The bid assistant pumped his fist in the air and said, “THE RESERVE IS OFF!!!!”  😀

The bidding climbed a bit more and I saw some people out in the crowd that I had talked to earlier that were now bidding on the car.  It seemed like there were at least 3 people or more bidding on the car.  They started to move the car off the block and the bidding ended and I was just standing there looking around.  I guessed that it had ended, but I didn’t even hear what it sold for.  One of the guys that I had spoken to earlier came across and said, “When things were slow around 48k we threw in a few bids to get things going again.”  I thanked him and wondered if he had thought that my reserve was at 50k.  I wouldn’t want to have accidentilly spent 48k at the auction.  😀

A couple and their son came down out of the crowd that I had spoken twice on the day of the auction.  They came down and said, “We just wanted you to know that it’s going to a good home.”  I smiled, and then congratulated them and said, “It all went so fast, I didn’t even see what the final bid was.”  Then they told me.


goodbye Bandit.  thanks for all of the good times.

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4 Responses

  1. Shellie says:

    Whew! Good job Spence!

  2. Roy says:

    I’m saddened for your loss, but you can think of the bandit fondly… I wish I could have visited it before it went to a new home.

  3. Erin says:

    Congratulations! — And condolences. But — you’ll always be a winner!

  4. Spencer says:

    thanks guys. Sorry I’ve been a bit unresponsive. I finished up the auction on Sunday the 18th, spent MLK Jr. day with the kids and then started to make a new sketchbook to sell at the PHX Comicon that started on Thursday night! I spent the next 4 days at the convention selling my goods and drawing.

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