20
APRIL 2018
But it's not limited to muscle cars; classic cars such as Duesenbergs, Pierce-Arrows, Auburns, and others are also fetching top-dollar prices at auctions – despite the current economy! And, believe it or not, even street rods are  commanding huge sums of money. So it shouldn't come as any surprise that Corvette prices are at the top of their game these days, as well. Because there are so many boomers with all this disposable income, we're seeing more  and more of these people turn up at auctions, and, to some extent, they are the ones  responsible for driving the prices up so high. Many of these folks are of a "gotta have it"  mindset for whatever the reason. Perhaps it's the car they always wanted in their youth, but could never afford; maybe it's their way of rewarding themselves for making good in their careers all these years; perhaps it rekindles the fond memories of their adolescence. Whatever the reasons, they're out there bidding and, apparently for many of them, money is  no object. We spoke with Terry Michaelis, president of ProTeam Corvette Sales, to get some of his  expert insight on the Corvette market in general and Corvette auctions in particular. The first thing that came up was the prices Corvettes are commanding and getting these  days at auction. Michaelis says, "Well, there are two things you've got to look at. First, what's  a lot of money to a guy who's on welfare? Twenty dollars is a lot of money to him. Now,  what's a lot of money to a guy who's just sold 20 percent of his company for $550 million? Is  $300,000 a lot of money to that guy? And Speed-TV and ESPN2 have brought car collecting  to everyone's living room, so it's become very popular. "Ostensibly, since the car collector hobby has been exposed and opened-up to the  masses, it has attracted more devotees and buyers, which also serves to drive prices up.” ProTeam spends millions at Mecum, Barrett-Jackson and other Corvette auctions each  year. This money is spent on acquiring inventory, but Michaelis has this to say about buying  at auctions. "The biggest thing I preach about this auction thing is to do your due diligence.  People want to know why I went to the Barrett-Jackson West Palm Beach auction two days  early. I went there because I had to spend time with these cars. I mean, I follow them all the  way – I don't go sit out in the audience and buy a pretty face. I'm always working the staging  area. I want that car to talk to me. I want that car to talk and tell me why I should pay more  than what I may have been thinking when it was just sitting there, or why I shouldn't. I want to  listen to that motor, to look at the car from different angles, and stand back from it. That's  when you can see waves in the body or this or that. They all look great underneath the bright lights. But there are a lot of 'fakey-doos' out there – and if you don't know what you're looking  at – or looking for – you can get hurt!