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Are you a car enthusiast with a penchant for timeless classics? Do you dream of owning a piece of automotive history? If so, you’re in for a treat! In this article, we’re unveiling the top collector car auctions that every vintage car lover should keep an eye on.

In a nutshell, these collector car auctions are where automotive dreams come true. From rare vintage Ferraris to iconic American muscle cars and everything in between, these events curate a selection of automobiles that will leave you awestruck.

So, if you’re ready to embark on a journey that combines passion, history, and the thrill of the auction floor, let’s dive headfirst into the captivating universe of the 12 best classic car auctions.

1. Barrett-Jackson

Established in 1971, Barrett-Jackson has become synonymous with classic car auctions in the United States and around the world. For over 50 years, Barrett-Jackson has been a hub for classic car enthusiasts from all over the world.

While Scottsdale, Arizona, remains the flagship location, Barrett-Jackson has expanded its reach to other cities, including Palm Beach, Las Vegas, and more. Each event offers a diverse selection of vehicles and automotive experiences.

One of Barrett-Jackson’s signature features is its “no-reserve” auctions. This means that regardless of the final selling price, every vehicle on the block will be purchased by the bidder with the highest amount.

Barrett-Jackson is renowned for its extensive inventory of classic vehicles, ranging from antique models to modern supercars. But it’s not just cars; they also auction off automotive memorabilia.

Barrett-Jackson auctions are broadcast live on the History Channel and FYI. While it may not replicate the experience of being on the show floor, you’ll still have the opportunity to witness some of the world’s most distinctive and precious automobiles.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • Scottsdale Auction:  January 20-28, 2024
  • Palm Beach, Florida: April 18-20, 2024

2. RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s is not just another car auction house; it is a symbol of excellence in the world of classic automobiles. They proudly carry the title of the official collector car auction house for prestigious manufacturers such as Ferrari, Porsche, and Aston Martin.

RM Sotheby’s hosts auctions in various places, both in the United States and abroad. Some of the prominent events include auctions in Arizona, Paris, Amelia Island, Fort Lauderdale, and Monaco.

Their worldwide network and collaboration with Sotheby’s 80 offices in 40 countries make them the preeminent market maker for collector cars. The auction house holds the record for the most expensive car ever sold at auction, a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut Coupe” that fetched a staggering $142 million.

While auctions are the core of RM Sotheby’s business, they also offer a Private Sale platform. This means you can acquire some of the world’s most desirable cars simply by making an offer.

RM Sotheby’s offers several financing options, including consignor advantages, equity releases, acquisition financing, and portfolio loans. They even provide appraisal services to ensure you know the true value of your investment.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • Arizona: 25 January 2024
  • Paris: 31 January 2024
  • Miami: 1-2 March 2024
  • Cleveden House: 13 June 2024
  • The Tegernsee Auction: 27 July 2024

3. Mecum Auctions

Mecum Auctions auctions an estimated 20,000 vehicles annually, making them a significant player in the collector car industry. Mecum Auctions’ headquarters is in Walworth, Wisconsin. They host their famous collector car auction in Kissimmee, Florida, every year and hold various other events throughout the US.

One of Mecum Auctions’ distinguishing features is the incredible diversity of vehicles they auction. While they specialize in antique, vintage, and classic cars, they also showcase motorcycles, boats, and even tractors. This eclectic mix caters to a wide range of collectors and enthusiasts.

In 2022, Mecum Auctions achieved a remarkable feat by breaking the world record for the most expensive cars sold at a single auction. The jaw-dropping total reached an astounding $217 million.  They provide a fair and honest platform for buying and selling cars, whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned collector.

Mecum Auctions rankings No. 1 globally for cars offered, collector cars sold, U.S. auction venues, and total sales volume. In addition to their live events, Mecum Auctions also offer online bidding for individuals who register for real-time events.

Dana Mecum devised a unique rule to add an element of excitement to the auctions. If the reserve price on a vehicle isn’t met, Dana may ask the highest bidder to meet the reserve. If they agree, the hammer falls, and the car is sold, with no additional offers considered.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • Kissimmee: January 2-14, 2024
  • Las Vegas Motorcycles: January 24-27, 2024
  • Houston: APRIL 4-6, 2024
  • Indy: MAY 10-18, 2024
  • Tulsa: JUNE 6-8, 2024
  • Walworth: JUNE 27-29, 2024
  • Florida Summer Special: JULY 10-13, 2024
  • Harrisburgh: JULY 24-27, 2024
  • Monterey: AUGUST 15-17, 2024
  • Dallas: SEPTEMBER 4-7, 2024
  • Indy Fall Special: OCTOBER 2-5, 2024
  • Las Vegas: OCTOBER 17-19, 2024
  • Kansas City: DECEMBER 5-7, 2024

4. Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company has been making waves in the collector car world since its establishment in 2003 by David Gooding, a former president of RM Auctions. With a reputation for offering some of the rarest and most valuable classic cars on the market, Gooding & Company has become a staple in the world of automotive auctions.

One distinguishing feature of Gooding & Company auctions is their commitment to quality over quantity. Unlike some larger auctions that showcase hundreds of cars, Gooding & Company takes a more selective approach. Each vehicle featured in their auctions is carefully curated based on its historical significance, provenance, and condition.

Gooding & Company has seen incredible sales, like a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic for $31 million, a 1957 Ferrari Testarossa for $14.9 million, 1935 Duesenberg Model SSJ Convertible for $22 million. and a 1997 McLaren F1 for nearly $8.5 million.

Gooding & Company hosts three major auctions each year in picturesque locations like Scottsdale, Arizona, Amelia Island, Florida, and Pebble Beach, California, offering stunning backdrops for their impressive vehicles, accessible worldwide through live webcasts.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • Amelia Island Auction: Mar 1, 2024
  • Pebble Beach Auctions: August 16 & 17, 2024

5. Bonhams

Bonhams was founded in 1793 making it one of the oldest and most respected auction houses globally. With a rich history, celebrity connections, global reach, and a commitment to embracing the digital age, Bonhams is at the forefront of the classic car auction industry.

One of the standout moments in Bonhams’ history was the auction of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, which fetched an astounding $38.12 million. Bonhams’ reputation is not just built on classic cars but also on its association with celebrity names. For instance, they auctioned off Elvis Presley’s Rolls Royce Phantom V, a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history.

Another iconic ride sold at Bonhams was Pat Boone’s 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing.” They even sold the 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom I that once chauffeured the legendary Marlene Dietrich.

With headquarters in the UK, Bonhams hosts car events all over the world, including London, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and New York. If you attend one of their auctions, you’re in for a treat, as you’ll have the opportunity to witness some of the rarest classic cars on the planet.

Their dedication to customer service and transparency is reflected in their consistent 4.6 Star Trustpilot rating, surpassing any other car auction house in the UK.

6. Carlisle Auctions

Carlisle Events, the parent company of Carlisle Auctions, was founded in 1974 by friends Bill Miller and Chip Miller (no relation). Over the years, it has evolved into a major player in the automotive event and car show industry. Their flagship event, the Spring Carlisle Auction, held in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has become a favorite among diverse car enthusiasts.

One of the key attractions of Carlisle Auctions is the wide variety of vehicles they offer. From classic cars to trucks, motorcycles, and more, they cater to a broad audience of collectors. This diversity makes their auctions a must-visit for anyone with a passion for automobiles.

The registration fee for in-person bidding at Carlisle, PA, is $100, while online or phone bidding costs $50. This fee includes a bidder lanyard and an auction guest pass. Additional guest passes are available for $50 each.

Carlisle Auctions offers a unique guarantee that refunds nearly all fees associated with the registration process if your vehicle doesn’t sell. This guarantee is valid for vehicles that are 25 years or older.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • Spring Carlisle Collector Car Auction: April 18-19, 2024
  • Fall Carlisle Collector Car Auction: October 3-4, 2024
  • Lakeland Fall Collector Car Auction: November, 2024

7. Worldwide Auctioneers

Worldwide Auctioneers, headquartered in Auburn, Indiana, specializes in classic cars, motorcycles, and automobilia.  Worldwide Auctioneers, as the name suggests, operates on a global scale.

Among their many events, The Scottsdale Auction in Arizona stands out as a marquee occasion. Worldwide Auctioneers offers online bidding options for those who can’t attend in person.

Whether you’re seeking rare pre-war vehicles, vintage European racers, or American muscle cars in pristine condition, this auction house has something for you.

One of the standout features of Worldwide Auctioneers is their ownership structure. The company is owned by chief auctioneers and automobile specialists, individuals deeply passionate about classic cars.

Worldwide Auctioneers understands the value of marketing in the competitive world of classic car auctions. Their events and consignments are promoted on national, international, and local levels.

One of their secret weapons is their extensive database of collectors, enthusiasts, and investors. This network is not just a list of contacts; it’s a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for vintage motorcars.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • The Scottsdale Auction (Tempe, Arizona): January 26, 2024

8. GAA Classic Cars auction

At the core of GAA Classic Cars is a dedication to preserving and celebrating automotive history. Their auctions are not just events; they are journeys through time, where classic cars take center stage. GAA Classic Cars hosts three auctions each year, typically in February, July, and November.

One of the standout features of GAA Classic Cars is its state-of-the-art auction arena. Unlike many other auctions, GAA offers a climate-controlled, enclosed venue that provides comfort and convenience to both buyers and sellers. This climate-controlled facility spans over 6 acres under one roof, providing shelter for more than 700 vehicles.

If you’re looking to sell your cherished classic car, GAA Classic Cars offers a streamlined process. You can submit your classic car electronically or via printable forms.

It’s important to be aware of the financial aspects when selling your classic car through GAA Classic Cars: Entry fees must be paid in full to secure your spot. These fees are non-refundable within 30 days of the sale.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • February 22 – 24, 2024
  • July 25 – 27, 2024
  • November 7 – 9, 2024

9. Classic Car Auctions

The Classic Car Auction Group operates in the picturesque northern Rockies. With its headquarters in Salt Lake City, Montana, it has become a focal point for classic car enthusiasts in the region and beyond.

One of the standout features of this group is the exposure your car receives. It’s not limited to a local or regional market; your vehicle is showcased to collectors nationally and internationally, increasing the chances of a successful sale.

The Classic Car Auction Group features a diverse range of classic cars, from vintage classics to rare and exotic models. You can expect to find a wide variety of automotive treasures at their auctions.

The process of selling your classic car through the Classic Car Auction Group is seamless. From the moment you consign your vehicle to the exhilarating moment it crosses the auction block, the team works tirelessly to ensure your car gets the spotlight it deserves.

10. Lucky Collector Car Auctions

Lucky Collector Car Auctions offers a captivating blend of history, diversity, and passion for collector automobiles. One of the standout features of Lucky Collector Car Auctions is the wide variety of vehicles available for bidding.

One of the most significant draws of Lucky Collector Car Auctions is their location at Marymount. Here, you’ll find a captivating display of more than 500 vintage vehicles, showcasing the LeMay family’s lifelong passion for cars.

The auctions also feature pickup trucks, motorcycles, and even automobilia for collectors with unique tastes. So, whether you’re a seasoned collector looking for your next gem or a first-time attendee hoping to fall in love with your first collector car, Lucky Collector Car Auctions offers an array of choices.

It’s heartwarming to know that portions of all auction proceeds benefit the LeMay Family Collection Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization. So, when you participate in these auctions, you’re not just fulfilling your passion for cars; you’re also contributing to meaningful causes.

11. Hemmings

Hemmings has a storied history that dates back to 1954 when it started as Hemmings Motor News, a collector car publication.  Over the years, Hemmings has transformed from a simple publication to “the world’s largest collector car marketplace,” Hemmings Auctions.

Since 1998, Hemmings.com has become the go-to destination for car enthusiasts, offering over 20,000 searchable car-for-sale ads, car club listings, and more. Hemmings’ classified ads predominantly focus on collector cars, making it an ideal platform for those interested in buying or selling vintage and high-end vehicles.

Hemmings auctions are curated events that typically last two weeks. These auctions have an impressive 75% sell-through rate at the time of publishing.

Buyers participating in Hemmings auctions are subject to a buyer’s fee, which is an additional 5% of the total bid. This fee ranges from a minimum of $500 to a maximum of $10,000.

Fortunately, there are no charges for participating in auctions if you don’t emerge as the winning bidder. However, placing a bid results in a temporary hold on your credit card for the buyer’s fee. To qualify for a Hemmings auction, your car must be roadworthy and pass an assessment conducted by a listing specialist.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • Mecum Kissimmee: January 2nd till January 14th, 2024
  • Tom Mack Auctions: January 12th till January 13th, 2024
  • RM Sotheby’s Arizona: January 25th, 2024
  • RM Sotheby’s Paris: January 31st, 2024
  • GAA Classic Cars: February 22nd till February 24th, 2024

12. Remlinger Collector Car Auctions

Remlinger Collector Car Auctions is a dream come true for classic car enthusiasts. Located in the charming town of Winona, Minnesota, this establishment boasts the largest collector car auction in the Midwest.

Every year, they host two spectacular events that attract enthusiasts from all corners of the country, all eager to buy or sell their beloved classics. Car enthusiasts from across the nation flock to their auctions in Winona, Minnesota, and Omaha, Nebraska.

It’s home to a remarkable private collection of vintage drag race cars, vintage go-carts from Paris, France, and a treasure trove of limited edition vehicles. You’ll also find original HEMI and MAX Wedge Race Cars, a vintage bicycle collection, classic muscle cars, and a dazzling array of limited edition models.

From high-end vintage vehicles that can dent your wallet to more affordable classics that make classic car ownership accessible to all, there’s something for every taste and budget.

While the auction takes place in the back, you can tour the museum up front, exploring an impressive collection of vintage vehicles and more.

Upcoming Auctions:

  • SPRING AUCTION 2024: May 31st & June 1st, 2024 (Winona, Minnesota)
  • FALL AUCTION 2024: September 27th & 28th, 2024 (Winona, Minnesota)

Author

  • Naveed Ahmed

    Hello there, I'm Naveed Ahmed, an experienced auto industry blogger with over 5 years of experience. My passion for cars and trucks started at a young age, and I've been writing about them ever since. I strive to provide readers with accurate, up-to-date information that can help them make informed decisions when it comes to buying, selling, or transporting their vehicles. As an expert in the auto industry, I'm always keeping an eye on the latest trends, innovations, and changes in the market. When I'm not writing about cars, you can find me tinkering with my own vehicle or exploring new scenic drives. I'm also a big fan of classic cars and enjoy attending car shows and auctions.