You’d be forgiven for thinking that, after 31 years and dozens of auctions, Keith McCormick would be jaded about classic automobiles and the people who love them. He has met literally everyone from multimillionaires to monarchs — well, at least their cars.
Mary Pickford, Howard Hughes, and even King Edward VIII have been represented at McCormick’s Classic Car Auctions, the latest of which — McCormick’s 61st — takes place Nov. 18-20 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
“I’ll never get tired of it,” McCormick says. “First timers, people who never expected to ever go to an auto show … maybe they come on a lark, maybe they get dragged along, who knows? And then boom, there’s a spark.”
Perhaps there will be another 1960 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, the same one that McCormick sold for Pickford in 1990 for $50,000, or another ’69 Daimler limousine once owned by Hughes and sold for an undisclosed price.
“No matter what age or background, it’s the first time they’ve been close to cars like these -— and all people who know them and love them,” he says. “They see them as the works of art they are. They appreciate them. And every year there’s more of these people, more excitement. It’s terrific.”
PHOTOS BY ROBERT FESTINO
The show gets bigger every year — in 1985 there were 200 available vehicles and last year there were 500-plus. This year promises more than 600 cars at auction, taking over not only the convention center but much of the surrounding lots.
For the one-time president of Palm Springs’ Chamber of Commerce, it’s the love of what he does that seems to be what drives him forward.
“We’re on the verge of crossing the $7 million threshold in sales, which is amazing given where we started,” McCormick says. “And those buyers? Well, they are the same first-timers who walked unexpectedly into our show years ago, back again — and I never get tired of that, either.”
In the market for a quality used automobile? Might we suggest an exotic ride? On-site bidder registration for the McCormick 61st Classic Car Auction begins Nov.17 at the main showroom, 244 N. Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Vehicle check-in is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Palm Springs Convention Center.
PHOTO BY ANNA KULA
Another past beauty for sale: 973 Volkswagen Thing.
Free preview day open to the public from noon to 8 p.m. Champagne happy hour for buyers and sellers 11 a.m. to noon. Auction at noon.
Auction from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with more than 20 cars per hour. Auction lists show approximate time for each automobile.
Auction from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Complimentary mimosas and bloody marys at the auction tent from 9 to 10 a.m. for buyers and sellers.
PHOTO BY ANNA KULA
1960 Ford pickup: sold at auction.