After a Saratoga summer riddled with canceled concerts, parties and other events, the Saratoga Automobile Museum has found a way to make its annual fall auction and fundraiser happen, despite the COVID-19 crisis. Formerly known as the Saratoga Automobile Auction—and up until this year, held on the main stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center—this year’s rebranded Saratoga Motorcar Auction will take place at 10am on September 19 at the museum itself.
“In this strangest of years, we felt that it was essential for the museum to return to at least some semblance of normalcy—even with all of the COVID-19 restrictions and new health and safety protocols in place,” says Carly Connors, executive director of the Saratoga Auto Museum. “The museum will be conducting the auction in the safest possible manner, and we’ll be following all of New York State’s and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest health and safety guidelines.” Safety protocols will include temperature screenings upon arrival, required mask-wearing, plexiglass barriers between guests and staff, hand sanitization stations and social distancing. In past years, the general public was invited to attend the auction, but this year’s event will be open to bidders and consignors only (though interested spectators can stream the auction live). Those interested in attending as a bidder, either in person, by phone or by absentee bid can register online for $150.
While this year’s auction may come with slightly less fanfare—it won’t be held in a 25,000-person amphitheater with a crowd of onlookers in attendance—the cars hitting the auction block are anything but ordinary. Take, for one, the 1970 Ford Mustang 429 Boss owned by Saratoga Auto Museum trustee Ken Salamone. The “Grabber Blue” Boss is just one of 499 ever produced, and could realize $300,000–$350,000 when the hammer falls. Another star of the show is the historic IMSA Yenko-Thompson Corvette, which was built by 1960s Corvette racecar driver Jerry Thompson and legendary Chevy dealer/driver Don Yenko. The IMSA Corvette raced against the likes of Peter Gregg, Brian Redman and Al Holbert in the 1975 24 Hours of Daytona and could sell for upwards of $500,000. And then there’s “Christine,” a 1958 Plymouth Fury that was actually featured in the 1983 cult-horror film Christine. Don’t worry—the car isn’t anything like the fiery, autonomous Fury of the movie…or is it?
Though the auction itself will take place on Saturday, September 19, there will be a preview day on Friday and post sale on Sunday, both of which are for bidders and consignors only. For a complete list of consignments, click here.