Firebird Nation banner
1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a second gen firebird that looked great out of their Texas auction about 8 years ago. Complete junk under a decent paint job. I know I deserve the blame for not going down there with a mechanic, but you would think that they would have some sort of minimum requirement supervision about what goes across their auction block. We ran into brake lines that broke up in your hand, with no back brakes functioning at all upon arrival, pouring gas into cylinders with a first gen holley fuel injection system that was wrenched into the system and scored the pistons. Electrical system butchered and barely functional, all four tires dry rotted, gauges did not work properly, neutral safety switch disconnected, tranny fluid full of metal shavings, the A/C did not work, exhaust bouncing against rear quarter panels, basically everything on the car had to be repaired or replaced from the front bumper to the back bumper. I sent the motor out to Len Williams in Oklahoma, went back to a new carburetor and yanked the fuel injection system. Len did a great job with the motor, but expect a year min., to get it back home. Needless to say, my price in this vehicle has tripled from what I bought this mecum junk for. BEWARE of MECUM firebird friends. I hope to have it back on the road later this fall.
 

·
Administrator
1993 6-spd T/A - 1996 C4
Joined
·
2,910 Posts
That is not a MECUM problem. ...that's ALL used cars EVERYWHERE. Hell, a friend bought a 2002 Trans Am brand new from the dealer in 2002, he had some issues, did a CarFax for grins, and learned the car was actually totaled prior to sale. Doesn't matter if you're at a car lot, auction, or private seller; you have a duty to inspect goods before purchase. At auctions in-particular that means get there early and inspect what you're interested in.

I somewhat understand, you respect MECAM and they would never sell items like that, right? Wrong. They really do sell a lot of junk, often it's very obvious. They will roll anything across the auction block they think will sell. They're there to make money via a percentage of sales, and any percentage of any amount is more than nothing. Why would they refuse potential profits? $100 is $100. Yes?

MECUM isn't Christie's. Mecum is just a family in Polo shirts who travel the country with a tent and "specialize" in something. This could have happened and does happen at Barrett-Jackson or any other auction. Know who else traveled the country with a tent and had a "specialty"? P.T. Barnum. Remember what he said about the birth rate? That's literally a fact all auction houses are hinged on.

There's a legal concept that's well over 400 years old at this point:

Font Cone Brand Logo Office supplies

This situation is not "Beware of Mecum", it's squarely "Buyer Beware". Hey, don't feel bad, I recently paid way too much for a car needing more work than it should. I'm even fairly sure it's a "flood car" on top of it. Yes, I was hoodwinked a bit, but that's on me too. I looked and I touched, but I didn't look deep enough. Within 12 hours of purchase I had a list of issues I noticed and accepted, and a much longer list of things I didn't notice. Any one of those things I didn't notice would have been deal breakers.

Lesson learned.

...now, understand, I'm disappointed on top of my mistake because even if the car was "as represented" or even brand new, it's not what everyone hyped it up to be. Hell, maybe it is actually "all that", but compared to my "comp" which is supposedly the lesser vehicle, apart from better handling, this thing doesn't come close in performance, comfort, or economy. I should have put the money into my existing vehicle. I know for a fact I'd be happier. Again, lesson learned. It's been over 3 months since I screwed up and a friend recently pointed out that I still haven't accepted my recent purchase as "my car". Didn't even notice I do this, but I always say "My Trans Am" and "The Corvette". I don't think this car will ever be "My" car.

I have a policy, with very rare exception I NEVER buy anything I have not laid eyes AND hands on. Keeps purchases mostly local, prevents a lot of impulse buying online, and it's somewhat limiting; but its a lot harder to get screwed over. It is very easy to see past the lipstick when you're actually touching the Pig.

Always arrive early, always inspect. Literally rule #1 of buying at any auction. "Crossing the auction block", or "after the fact" is the absolute wrong time to inspect an item you're going to buy.

You basically bought a car sight unseen and it didn't work out. I'm sorry to hear that, but your cautionary tale isn't really cautionary, at least not in the way you tell it; and you're clearly placing the blame in the hands of others, not the one who actually dropped the ball. When you say "I know I deserve the blame for not going down there with a mechanic, but you would think that they would have some sort of minimum requirement supervision about what goes across their auction block." What you should be saying is "I deserve the blame." ...there is no "but" involved. You shouldn't be deflecting like you are, especially when retelling the story because you lose the real lesson to be learned when you do. The lesson isn't "avoid Mecum" as you tell it, its "avoid making the same mistake I did.". When you quit saying "but", you're one step closer to acceptance of the situation. It's been 8 years, clearly you haven't accepted it. Drop the "but" and begin healing my friend.

I hope you get it all worked out in time to enjoy it and the cool Fall weather, clearly you've waited long enough.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
64 Posts
I tend to agree with ZumpTA. In 2016 I bought my 67 convertible at the Mecum Kissimmee auction. I was fortunate to be able to speak with the owner, which isn't always possible, start the car and listen to it but not able to drive it. When I got it home I was literally scared driving it. The brakes and steering were terrible. After some maintenance and upgrades it drives very good. It has proved to be a very solid car overall.

It is always a risk to buy something at auction. The old saying of "buyer beware " always applies.

I'm sorry you have had a bad experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think I adequately take the blame by spending the jack to get this firebird back to it's 1976 greatness. I could have dumped it off to another buyer. Trust me, I would have much rather have taken the entire blame for buying auction junk sight unseen than spend the money. I spend the money because I love the car, taking the blame is easy.

I guess when you watch all of these online auctions, it is hard to imagine that with such prices that you see on the auction block that these vehicles could be so flawed. It makes you feel that there is somebody behind the scenes that makes sure those vehicles that bring those prices, are not a hot mess of repairs, right after the buyer writes the check. I was not familiar with which television auctions you can trust and those you can't.

I take all of the blame but celebrate my decision to bring it back to life. I still stand by my statement though, do not buy a mecum auction car unless you are ready to spend some real money on top of your auction price.

All the best,
 

·
Premium Member
84 T/A 301T T5, 3.73s
Joined
·
1,207 Posts
Before you go, just curious if you may know this. (I don't). I was under the impression the cars sold at Mecham, were "less desirable", (quality wise?) than say the ones sold at Barrett Jackson? I'm pretty sure BJ brings in more $ than the Mecham cars. At least for the few that I've seen in years gone by. Was thinking BJ does a better job approving which cars they accept on their blocks, compared to Mecham, as far as the quality of the vehicle goes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
77 Posts
As others said, not just an action issue. And we as buyers are partly to blame. We fall in love with the looks, history, and the whole muscle car thing. Think of it as beer goggles for car buying.

When I bought my 68 It had everything checked off. beautiful paint, seemed solid, 400, 4 speed, and red. Started right up. So I paid full ask ($25K) and went to drive home. That's when I really noticed stuff. Dive hard to right on braking. Low on power. Ended up with a 73 185HP 400 (good block) that had an intake and Q-jet bolted to it. I always say beautiful car but mechanically built by clowns.

But there can be an upside. My engine was actually rebuilt right. M-21 needed only minor refresh. BIG ONE HERE! Car is 100% original non rusted metal. So we did some upgrades. Worked better. Found a FANTASTIC mechanic on Cape Cod MA. Tuned the carb and took care of some other minor issues. He recommended an intake and 650 CFM double pumper. Now prior to this I was going to drive the car a bit and then sell. Looong story short (yeah, I know it's already long) there is no way I could sell it at this point. Runs super strong, drives nice, etc.

Regardless of how and where you buy digging in will reveal both good and bad. I'm big into boat restorations and when we go looking for a boat that will meet a customers needs it always falls back to price and what do we get? What is the sum of the parts. Sometimes we pay more for what looks like an ugly duckling that a nicer looking one. Why? the sum of the parts. Buy with your heart, listen to your gut reaction during inspection, and then let your brain and wallet sort out the mess. Benn 5 years since I first bought the car. Last week when I picked up at the shop is the first time it has ever been truly right. The journey is part of the deal and priceless. Enjoy the journey all.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top