Mecum car auction pulls into Osceola County Jan. 3-13

A variety of different cars will be up for sale at the Mecum car auction at Osceola Heritage Park.

The massive 11-day Mecum Auctions returns to Osceola Heritage Park Jan. 3 to 13 to offer up the world’s largest selection of classic and collector cars along with food, vendors and an authentic family midway experience.

It’s hard to comprehend the scale of this annual event if you’ve never experienced it. An estimated 3,500 cars from around the world will span 60 acres and feature everything from classic Corvettes to ultra-rare Ferraris. Mecum is projected to draw about 100,000 spectators this year, along with 10,000 bidders and guests. Ticket sales and auction block revenue is anticipated to generate over $100 million in overall sales.

Let’s talk cars

From sexy sports cars to drool-worthy draggers, Mecum features some of the world’s rarest and hottest rides.

This year’s auction lineup features plenty of eye-catching car candy including the only 1965 Ford GT Competition Prototype Roadster to race at Le Mans (Lot S138) to two LaFerraris, one of which is an ultra-exclusive Aperta edition (Lot S113).

Other racing and automotive pop-culture icons slated to cross the block include Benny Parsons’ 1973 NASCAR Cup Champion car (Lot S111) and the 1932 Ford McMullen Roadster (Lot S107) from the cover of “Hot Rod” magazine.

America’s Sports Car is represented by such greats as the Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell Corvette Styling cars originally from the GM Styling Department (Lot S180) and no fewer than three of the ever-elusive L88s (Lot F151 and F251).

Paul Offutt will offer an assemblage of Yenko Camaros, while the Best in Black Collection will present a host of rare and best-of-breed Corvettes. The BMF Muscle Car Collection includes 10 stunning classics, and Ronnie Rains will offer nearly 100 collectible cars of varying makes and models, all but seven of which will be sold with no reserve.

More than just cars

Mecum Kissimmee has grown to become more than just a car auction during its 13 years at Osceola Heritage Park, according to its Mecum CEO Dave Magers.

It’s become an experience.

“It used to be more of a car auction with some other events going on,” he said. “Now there’s a lot of events going on as well as a car auction.”

This year features the Mecum Midway, complete with food, vendors and live entertainment acts on stage.

The Dodge-sponsored “Thrill Ride” experience returns for a second year, once again giving guests a chance to drag race alongside a professional on a specially-built indoor course. And the Thrill Ride experience is free with the price of admission.

Mecum Kissimmee will also feature a Celebrity Chef Cook-Off event with Travel Channel personality Andrew Zimmern serving as guest judge, along with a special appearance by Hulk Hogan.

From humble beginnings

Mecum operates about 13 car auctions across the country, but the one in Kissimmee is the largest by far.

The Central Florida show has grown each year since its humble beginnings at Osceola Heritage Park in 2006, and even more modest locations before that, including at Old Town and a Kissimmee laundromat parking lot.

“It didn’t happen overnight,” Magers said. “But in the last three to four year, we’ve seen huge, continued growth.”

The CEO attributes Mecum Kissimmee’s growth in part to a sweet location and a great car culture.

Florida’s warm weather makes it possible for gear heads to play with their toys all year long, and Kissimmee’s centralized locale is easily accessible for collectors looking to show off and buy big.

Still, the Central Florida show wasn’t always the crown jewel of family-owned Mecum Auctions, but according to Magers, success breeds success.

Its popularity grew as more car enthusiasts learned about the auction’s size and selection.

“It started to feed on itself,” Magers said. “Auctions tend to do well when they attract a lot of people, and they attract a lot of people when they do well.”

Other details you should know

Mecum Kissimmee 2019 is open to buyers, sellers and spectators.

Bidder registration is available online in advance for $100 and the price goes up to $200 after Jan. 2. The price includes admission for two to all 11 auction days.