The New Corvettes At Carlisle Auction - Lance Miller Interview

Lance Miller speaks frankly on the progression of Corvettes at Carlisle

Tom Benford Aug 21, 2007 0 Comment(s)
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Lance ::: Leading the Carlisle Events team is Lance Miller, son of the late Chip Miller. Like his dad, he is one of most respected and likeable guys in the Corvette hobby.

This year marks the 26th year for Corvettes at Carlisle, and for almost as long there's been a Corvette auction held there yearly. The Corvette auction has always been a popular feature of the annual three-day event. The auction attracts lots of people interested in what choice Corvettes are currently fetching dollar-wise, and it's the place to be if you're interested in buying or selling a Corvette. Over the years, the Corvettes at Carlisle management team enlisted Bob Gold and then Dana Mecum to handle the auctions, but this year there's a new twist.

The auction on Friday and Saturday, August 24 and 25, will be the first time ever that Carlisle Events is hosting and running it entirely themselves. An estimated 150 Corvettes are expected to come under the gavel. And there's a new venue, as well. Rather than holding the auction on the Carlisle Fairgrounds as it always has been in the past, this year the auction will take place in the Carlisle Expo Center, one block from the Carlisle Fairgrounds (across the street from Gate 3).

By the time you read this, the dedicated web site link to the Corvettes at Carlisle auction will undoubtedly be up. It was still being worked on as of this writing, so we decided to give Lance Miller at Carlisle Events a call to get the skinny, and here's what he had to say.

CF: Lance, why did you folks decide to handle the auction yourselves rather than using the Mecum organization as you have for the last few years?

LM: Well, before I answer that, let me preface it by saying first-off there is no bad relationship between Mecum and Carlisle Events at all. The reason simply is, right now we're doing our spring and fall auctions in-house, and we feel very comfortable with the progression we've made there. So it's just a natural fit for us to do Corvettes at Carlisle as well this year.

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Cars Galore ::: The Corvettes at Carlisle auction has been held in a tent in years past, but that is about to change.

CF: What are the benefits and advantages for both buyers and sellers with Carlisle Events hosting and running the auction rather than having a third party handle things?

LM: for starters, it's certainly more convenient. People can register here for their show field; they can register here for their auction; and they can register here for their vendor spaces. So, again, it's all internal rather than having to outsource somebody else to handle things. By doing it all in-house, essentially, it's just easier for us and for the people who are going to register their cars either to sell or to buy-they can go directly through Carlisle Events rather than having to go through a third party.

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Charity ::: The Chip Miller Foundation raises thousands of dollars each year for Amyloidosis research and awareness.

CF: In the past, when the Bob Gold organization and then Mecum was running the auction, they had all sorts of ancillary services available, such as on-the-spot insurance and immediate temporary registration for people who won auction cars and wanted to drive them away, among other things. Will you be maintaining that type of support for buyers as well?

LM: Yes. It's definitely our full intention to replicate what they've done in the past; at the same time we're going to be putting our own twist on things. At this point we're still brainstorming, so it's still in the developmental stage, but there's nothing like last-minute planning, right?

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CF: regarding the costs involved for buyers and sellers-are there any economic advantages to be had?

LM: We intend to keep the costs and percentages consistent with what they've been in the past, and pretty much stick with our guidelines. If you go to the Carlisle Auctions web site and click on the Auction Fees selection under the Details and Map drop-down menu, you can get an idea of the fees and commission structures; those will be the rates that we'll carry-over for the Corvette auction.

CF: Is there anything else new and exciting that people should know about?

LM: Yes, definitely. Everyone knows where the Mecum auctions at Corvettes at Carlisle were always held, but this year we're moving it to the Carlisle Expo Center-a brand-new facility for Corvette people. We haven't done anything in the Expo Center at this point in time, so it will be all new for Corvettes at Carlisle, and it's right outside Gate 3. It's all going to be indoors rather than under a tent. Bidders and sellers both get passes, and we will have food and drinks throughout the entire auction, so that's a nice perk as well.

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CF: Is it safe to assume there will be ample parking and prep room at the Expo Center for people trailering in cars to sell at auction?

LM: Absolutely. Obviously, we're prepared for that because of our spring and fall shows, so it's something that comes naturally to us. Fortunately, it's been working out very well, so we're looking forward to implementing this for the Corvettes as well. Some of our key buyers and sellers that already come to Corvettes at Carlisle have been really wanting us to do this, so it's really going to be a great time. I'm looking forward to seeing how it's all going to go down.

CF: Care to look into your crystal ball and predict how many Corvettes will be on the block?

LM: Oh, boy, this is going to be fun! I think what we're going to do is just try to get through this first year now. Seriously, I think we'll see 150 cars that, I feel, isn't out of the ordinary. We just want to get people used to the new venue-where it's going to be-and just get our crew through it. once again, it's last-minute, and that's something we recognize, so it's something we just have to push through and get done.

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CF: Will the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation Auction still be held on the fairgrounds, or is that moving to the Expo Center as well?

LM: This year, I'm actually going to pull the live auction for the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation because I don't want to put that much pressure on the guys that are getting prepared for their first Corvette auction, but we may re-implement it next year. We are going to do a silent auction for the Foundation, however, in the hospitality tent.

CF: I think that pretty well covers it. Is there anything else you'd like to add?

LM: Just come on out to Corvettes at Carlisle and see for yourself!

You can find out more information about being a consignor or bidder by visiting the web site, http://www.carlisleauctions.com, or by calling Dennis Baish, the auction manager, at (717) 243-7855 ext. 167, or e-mailing dennisb@carlisleevents.com.

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