Auction Capsule: Up Close and Personal with Classic Cars

1968 Plymouth GTX d

My favorite thing to do at the Mecum Spring Classic vintage-car auction, which is held for a week each May in Indianapolis, is to move in close to the cars’ details with my camera. If I were to see these cars in museums, they’d be well behind velvet ropes and out of range from my macro lens. At the Mecum, you can get close enough to the cars to touch them! (But please don’t; they don’t belong to you.) I leaned over the hood of a 1968 Plymouth Belvedere GTX to photograph its Hemi badge.

1950 Hudson Commodore h

The Mecum is primarily a muscle-car auction, with acres of Mustangs, Chevelle SSes, and Hemi Chargers. But plenty of non-muscle is always present, including cars that hit our sweet spot here at Curbside Classic. I’m working on a handful of posts covering just those kinds of cars; stay tuned. My personal favorite car at this year’s Mecum was a 1950 Hudson Commodore convertible, the hood ornament of which you see here.

1957 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight b

I go to this auction every year with my digital camera and lots of extra batteries not just so I can see these cars – it is one of the happiest days of my year – but also so I can get close and photograph all the great design details. Like this rocket atop the front fender of a 1957 Olds Ninety Eight.

1957 Lincoln Mark II g

When cars moved away from round headlights, a lot of graceful front ends suddenly became impossible to design. As I stopped to photograph the headlight of this 1957 Lincoln Mark II, the fellow who owns the car said to me, “Beautiful, isn’t it?” Yes, even and especially this one detail.

1964 Studebaker GT Hawk k

I think this 1964 Studebaker GT Hawk’s headlight binnacle is just as lovely. The ridging is a very nice visual detail.

1969 Dodge Charger 500 SE c

But for something truly wicked cool, consider this fuel-filler door from a 1969 Dodge Charger 500 SE. I love how the fuel-filler door on the current Dodge Challenger evokes this one.

1966 Plymouth Belvedere f

I am amused by the stuff automakers used to tack onto cars – things that could easily be broken off, like this period Plymouth logo on a 1966 Belvedere.

1956 Ford F100 c

I really love vintage automotive badging. I wrote a whole post about it last year; read it here. Lightning and gears, baby, that’s what trucks are all about. Seriously, I just like the colors in this photo.

1956 Studebaker Commander e

The strong typography on this 1956 Studebaker Commander’s decklid drew me right in.

1965 Volkswagen Bus h

And finally, okay, so this isn’t a close shot. But I enjoy this perspective on the 21-window 1965 Volkswagen bus experience.