The Best Classic Car Auctions for 2022

Classic car auctions online are becoming more popular since the advancement of technology and the COVID-19 pandemic. When you attend a classic car auction online, you can bid on collector cars from the comfort of your home. Some of the best classic car auction websites include RM Sotheby’s, Barrett-Jackson, and Mecum.

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UPDATED: Jun 22, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 22, 2022Fact Checked

Here's What You Need to Know

  • Some of the best classic car auctions online are hosted by RM Sotheby’s, Barrett-Jackson, and Mecum
  • Some of the pros of online classic car auctions include convenience, ease of registration, and lower premiums, while some cons of online classic car auctions include potentially higher prices and no test driving
  • Make sure to thoroughly read through the auction and bidding requirements for the company you choose before bidding

With technological growth and the COVID-19 pandemic affecting how people interact and get things done, it’s no surprise that classic car auctions online are increasing in popularity. Auction websites and collector car auction companies are beginning to realize the benefits of online car auctions.

Read more below about some of the best classic car auctions online and how to ensure that you protect your classic car and yourself when buying and selling online.

Enter your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool above if you need to find car insurance for a vehicle you purchased in a classic car auction online.

What are the best classic car auctions online?

While there are several websites that advertise classic car auctions, there are a few that stand out. Below, we’ve provided an overview of some of the best classic car auctions.

1. RM Sotheby’s

RM Sotheby’s is headquartered in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada. Rob Myers, the founder of RM Auto Restoration and RM Classic Cars, has grown his love of automobiles into an enterprise. 

Myers’ first business was a single-car garage that he began in 1976. By 1980, the business had been incorporated, and it had a large restoration and sales facility in which work was completed. Myers began building his car collection throughout the 80s and was eventually joined by collector car experts Dan Warrener and Mike Fairbairn in 1988.

After doing large amounts of business with other auction houses, the team founded RM Auctions in 1991. The company spent years building its auctions into prestigious events and expanding its services. 

In 2015, RM Auctions partnered with Sotheby’s to form RM Sotheby’s. The company has hosted many in-person events in countries all over the world. However, it shifted to primarily online business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you visit the RM Sotheby’s website, you will find a variety of cars available for sale and bidding. Specific dates are provided for upcoming online auctions. However, the company also hosts some in-person events throughout the year, including auctions in Arizona, Paris, Amelia Island, Fort Lauderdale, and Monaco.

2. Barrett-Jackson

Barrett-Jackson was founded in 1971 and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is known for “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions,” which it hosts in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Houston, Texas; and Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Experts at Barrett-Jackson include Craig Jackson and Steve Davis, who have over a century of combined experience in automobiles. 

Barrett-Jackson does not host online-only auctions, and its website does not have current listings to bid on. However, it does allow individuals to register to bid online. If you register to bid online, you can “attend” the Barrett-Jackson auctions from home in real-time and bid on vehicles as they appear on the block.

Upcoming classic car auctions from Barrett-Jackson are listed online, and locations include Scottsdale, Arizona and Palm Beach, Florida.

Barrett-Jackson also offers car insurance for collector cars.

3. Mecum

Mecum was founded in 1988 by Dana Mecum and is headquartered in Walworth, Wisconsin. It has the longest continued single-family ownership in the auction industry, and it still takes pride in its close-knit family atmosphere. Many of its employees have worked at the company since its first auction.

Since its beginning, Mecum has become a world leader in selling collector cars, vintage and antique motorcycles, and Road Art. Mecum claims the following statistics:

  • No. 1 in the world for the number of cars offered at auction
  • No. 1 in the world for the number of collector cars sold at auction
  • No. 1 in the United States for number of auction venues
  • No. 1 in the United States for total dollar volume of sales
  • The world’s largest collector car auction in Kissimmee, Florida
  • The world’s largest motorcycle auction in Las Vegas

Mecum also allows online bidding for individuals who register for real-time events. It hosts several auctions throughout the year.

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What are the pros and cons of online classic car auctions?

The advantages of hosting classic car auctions online include:

  • Convenience — You don’t need to travel to attend a live event. Instead, you can attend events from anywhere online, or you can visit a website that has 24/7 listings available.
  • Ease of registration — Some auction websites, such as eBay, make it extremely easy to register and be able to vote. However, more esteemed collector car auction companies, such as the ones listed above, may require a little bit more time and effort to register.
  • Lower fees — Fees will vary by website, but some will have smaller fees for buying online than you would have to pay when attending an in-person event.

The disadvantages of buying from classic car auctions online include:

  • Potentially higher prices — Depending on how long the auction lasts, buyers can have more time to research and continue bidding, which could potentially lead to higher selling bids.
  • No test driving — In most cases, you will be unable to test drive the vehicle and make sure that it runs smoothly. 

Due to the advantages of online car auctions, they became more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to build a collection while social distancing.

How do I buy a classic car from an online auction?

The requirements for bidding in an online auction will vary by company. However, RM Sotheby’s gives a good overview of the process on its website.

You will first need to register as a bidder. More reputable classic car auctioneers will require proof of identity, proof of funds, credit card information, and more if you’re registering as a company or dealer. 

Once you have registered and finished setting up your online account, you can begin bidding. Each listing will have instructions for how to bid, but many websites have similar rules. For example, most auctions will state that if someone bids within the last two minutes of the auction, it will be extended by another two minutes to avoid high bidders from stealing a sale at the last second.

Auctions typically work much the same across platforms and companies. However, make sure to read through the company’s rules and requirements before bidding. 

If you’re considering purchasing from a classic car auction online, make sure you have the right insurance for your new car by entering your ZIP code into our free quote comparison tool below.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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