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Kruse Auburn (Labor Day) Auction Going Down the Tubes?


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Just came back from the Kruse auction in Auburn. This is probably my tenth consecutive year in attending.

For the last several years, I've felt the quality and quantity of cars, both in the auction and the car corral, has been sliding. At the same time, attendance seems to be down. I was hoping this would be a turn-around year, but instead it may be my last year of attending.

I arrived Saturday about 9am, and was pleasantly surprised to see a large traffic backup to get in. (Just like the 'old days'!!). However, after getting on property, I realized it was an artificially created traffic backup: There was only one lane of cars feeding into the service drives, when in past years there had been several!

Once on the grounds, I noticed there was only one large tent full of cars, where in years gone by there had been 3. There were many empty tent spaces, and quality was mediocre. Can you believe one of the tent vehicles was a 1993 Dodge van ("only one owner from new").

Much of the area previously filled with tents was empty grassland. Worse still, the large steel building errected near the spectator entrance was once again filled with antiques: china, furniture, and other non-automotive flea market junk.

The quantity of cars on the black top was clearly down from previous years, and the quality of some of them set new lows (even for Auburn).

Did you try looking for a port-a-john? Good luck! Not sure what the problem was, but this year they were nowhere to be found. That probably explained the 5-minute line for the MENS (!!) bathroom.

The car corral seemed only 2/3 full...and the dust from the golf carts (was I the only one without a cart?) was terrible. In years gone by, they actually watered down the dust. Not anymore.

The swap meet was also very empty. One vendor (who acknowledged the toliet problem had been an issue for the past several days) told me that swap spots had been offered to vendors for half the normal rate, "just to fill them up."

I have no axe to grind. To the contrary, this event has been something I look forward to each year. However, this may be my last trip. Speaking to a number of other enthusiasts (some old friends; some strangers), confirmed these feelings were not just mine.

Anyone else, that's a regular attendee, feel this event is going down the tubes?

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I just came back today, and I agree with most of what you've said. I kept looking for the "old cars" of the 20's and 30's, and couldn't find more than a handful. There weren't nearly as many cars as in the past. No port-a-pots seemed pretty strange....it meant a quick walk to the restrooms in the auction building - to wait in line. The swap area had even more empty spaces than last year. Last year the vendors said the booth space cost had doubled from the year before, but the price to get in the gate went up last year to $20, where it was again this year. I'll be going again next year, but I hope it doesn't keep going down - the weather was perfect.... Old Cars Weekly wasn't there either. There were more food vendors, and I think I was the only other guy beside you without a golfcart. Did you see anyone in a golfcart actually buy anything? Most didn't even get out of the cart to look. What I most enjoy about Auburn is to see the Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs actually driving up and down the streets - it's always a special treat to see and hear these cars in action and talk to the owners.

Larry

Larry

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You guys have hit the nail on the head. This was our second year. This year we arrived early on Friday morning and were surprised to see that we had to park the farthest away! It was the first time we'd been "punished" for arriving early! The same thing happened Saturday. That time we were an hour later and got a better spot! shocked.gif But not as good as what those who arrived at noon!

I thought most of the vendors were pretty mediocre. And golf carts everywhere! Pedestrians had no right of way at all. By Saturday, we decided we were going to walk in the middle of the driveways so they had to drive around us. And a multitude of times I was surprised at how the golf carts would BLOW their HORNS for the pedestrians to get out of the way - unbelievable. And did I mention there were no places to sit?? How about ONE water fountain? ONE restroom? If the men's room was a 5 minute wait, the women's line was a 30 minute wait.

I wish there had been more cars and more quality vendors....guess I'll have to wait for Hershey. grin.gif

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LOL! Glad to see it wasn't 'just me.'

Actually Old Cars Weekly WAS there...at least Ken Buttolph was there. Members of my party spoke to him and found he felt the same way about the event as we did.

Good point on nowhere to sit. They used to have several more bleachers to watch the auction but now only one small one that is always full.

And I agree about the damn golf carts. I also went out of my way to walk in front of them after I got tired of being run off the pathways. Did you notice how LARGE they're getting? Many carts had three rows of seating (like a Suburban!). They've evolved from 'real' golf course style carts to personalized mini-vehicles (57 Chevy, Hummer, etc).

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I think this is a National Trend, attendance at the Lime Rock Park Fall Festival was way off this year as well. In years past this weekend of Vintage Racing with a Show and flea market was much busier. No tractor trailer loads of cars from the West Coast this year. Tight money or are people just getting bored with the hobby?

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We attended the ACD Festival in Auburn this weekend and had a great time. Arrived Friday at about noon, dropped the trailer, and went to the ACD Museum. Walked for several hours around the tons of cars in the museum lot, attended the swap meet (small), and walked a bit through the museum. Then off to the ACD steak roast then downtown to hang out outside the Auburn Hotel and watch the ACD cars come and go until about 11:00 PM.

Saturday early, unloaded the car and off to the park for the car show. Admired the ACD cars until the parade at 1:00 PM to downtown. Stayed downtown until about 4:30 PM then back to motel to clean up and back to the park for the rib dinner. Then again back to the Auburn Hotel downtown and again watched the cars come and go until around 11:00 PM.

Sunday morning we loaded up the car, checked out of the motel, drove over to the Kruse Concours to check out the field. Field was small, mostly junk with a only few nice cars. Very very few spectators. Then off to the ACD Museum for the Awards Brunch. Left for home about 12:30 PM.

Had a great weekend with beautiful weather and terrific cars and people. Never made it over to the Auction as our schedule was full. Couldn't have been a better weekend, my wife got to drive the Mormon Meteor in the parade and I was fortunate enough to drive the Wrigley Duesenberg.

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There were very few quality examples of 30s classics, the main building that houses the auction rings used to have about 40 big classics in there, now a bunch of tired movie cars and a few classics. Lots of mopar e bodies, very few fender tags on them! I think the people with the big cars have better options in the classier houses like RM, and that is where all of the quality cars and buyers are going.

The &%$#@)!*&%^$ golf carts are a menace at the flea market, either driven by kids who don't know how to drive or by corpulent adults who should be walking off some of that gut. A prime example of why Hershey keeps a tight control on carts. Not much in the way of actual car parts, lots of high-class "junque". The car corral to me is the best part of the kruse experience. A little bit of everything, nice cars and some snakes in the grass.

The ACD club seemed to have a smaller turnout than usual.

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Greg, with a tall tale like that (driving the wrigley Duesy and Mormon Meteor)- I think you were too close to the exhaust pipes of all those big cars. They are great to watch going up and down the streets, though. Looking forward to next year!!

Larry

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