The 7 Best Classic Car Auctions In The United States

What you need to know about classic car auctions

Classic car auctions are a great way to get an awesome classic car for a decent price. It is also a great way to see some really cool classic cars as well. You will also get the chance to meet with other serious classic car enthusiasts too.

If you are at the auction with the intention of possibly buying one of these vehicles there are a few things that you should know first. The first thing to know is what kind of money you should be prepared to spend. This obviously depends on the type of car that you are looking to buy but we recommend having at least $10,000 available to be able to bid.

Now, the price for some of these classic cars could end up being much higher than that, so, do your research first to get a general idea of the cost of the specific car you are looking to buy before you head out to an auction. Some of the auction sites will have the cars listed online with the minimum bid price which you can see when you register on the website. So, cars could be as low as a couple thousand dollars, others could be half a million dollars.

In order to be able to bid, you will need to do several things first. You will need to complete a registration form for the specific event in which you are considering attending. This will involve you making copies of you license, getting proof of car insurance, picking a picture for your ID badge, agreeing to any terms and conditions and paying whatever required registration fee.

The event will likely also take a fee somewhere between ten and twenty percent. You will also be responsible for paying all applicable fees and taxes on any purchase made at the event.

Now, each event is different. So, you might also be required to take additional steps before you are permitted to place any bids. We advise that you check the specific auctions website before you go so you can be prepared for any registration requirements prior to arriving at the particular event.

The 7 best classic car auctions in the US

Here are the best classic car auctions that occur (at least occasionally) in the United States:

  • Bonhams – Bonhams is likely the biggest name in auctions (not just cars) in the world. This is where you will find some true classics such as Model-T’s. However, the cars in Bonhams’ auctions definitely come at a high price as they regularly sell for six-figures.
  • Barrett-Jackson – Barrett Jackson is a leader in classic car auctions. It also has some of the more affordable classic car bidding around. The shows are held in Las Vegas, Palm Beach, Scottsdale and Connecticut.
  • Mecum Auction Company – Mecum is another general auction company that focuses partially on classic cars. The prices of the cars in the lots you will see in Mecum auctions will vary pretty greatly. Auctions are held every few months in different locations around the country including Chicago, Las Vegas, Kansas City and Houston among others.
  • Gooding & Company – As a classic car auction, Gooding & Company is as good as it gets. It is also as expensive as it gets as cars will routinely sell for a million dollars or more. For many this will be just an opportunity to see some great classic cars, and there is nothing wrong with that.
  • RM Sotheby’s – One of the more popular names in classic car auctions, RM Sotheby’s is a great choice if you are looking to bid on or check out some fantastic classic cars. These auctions are held a couple of times a year in the United States as well as a few times a year abroad in places like London. You can bid on any of several classic vehicles from the early 20th century such as Dusenbergs. However, these cars will cost you at least a hundred thousand dollars if not closer to half a million dollars.
  • Classic Car Auction Group – The classic Car Auction Group is a less popular group of car auctions that take place in the northern Rockies. These auctions are great for getting a better deal on a classic car at auction.
  • McCormick’s Palm Springs Classic Car Auctions – McCormick’s is a lesser known series of car auctions but it is still a fantastic choice for checking out or bidding on classic cars. The auctions take place in Palm Springs, California about twice a year. The prices for the cars at this auction would be considered moderate.

Shipping your car from an auction

If you are successful and end up winning an auction for a classic car, you will likely want to ship your car to your destination rather than drive it. Odds are that you do not live very close to the auction site. Plus, driving a classic car too far is a risk because long distance driving poses risks for damage as well as general wear and tear.

So, you can ship your classic car in order to avoid the stress and risk of driving it all the way home. Shipping your classic car is easier than you think too. You can contact a car shipping company to ship your classic vehicle in a hurry with expedited shipping as well. Be sure that you always get quotes from any companies you might be thinking of using. You can start with a quote here.


Classic car auctions are great experiences for both people seriously interested in buying one as well as those who just want to check out some rare classic vehicles. If you do plan on bidding on a classic car, there are a few things that you will need to accomplish before you start actually bidding such as getting your documentation together and pre-registering for the event if possible.

If you win a classic car at auction, you are likely going to spend a decent amount of money on it. So, you will likely want to do everything you can to protect your investment and that includes shipping your classic car home, instead of driving it.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of



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