Matthew Abbott is in good company when he brings his bold, neon classic car and hot rod signs to a resort known for its glitzy, neon-lit casino skyline.
The signs, with sayings such as “Hot Rod Garage,” “Man Cave” and “Built Ford Tough,” among many others, are always huge sellers when Abbott, the owner of Neon Warehouse, comes to Atlantic City for the annual Atlantic City Classic Car Show & Auction. The show returns to the Atlantic City Convention Center Friday, Friday, Feb. 28, through Sunday, March 2.
“They’re reminiscent,” says Abbot, a Michigan native participating in his seventh classic car show here. “(The signs) bring back memories of years ago when there used to be more neon signs. It was part of the culture, part of the atmosphere. A lot of people have to pitch their product ... but mine is an easy sell. It sells itself.”
The show, now in its 41st year, boasts having the lowest buyer fees of any major auction in the country, along with same-day pay for sellers. With nearly 1,000 cars for sale — 500 in the auction and 450 more in car corrals and salons — organizers claim it is the largest indoor car show in the country.
More than 60,000 car enthusiasts and collectors are expected to attend and buy more than $15 million in collector cars.
Auction highlights will include muscle cars, rare roadsters and touring cars and popular classics. The auction process includes online bidding and phone bidding (pre-registration is required). Some of the classics up for auction include a 1923 Ford T-Bucket, two 1929 Ford Model A cars and a 1928 Rolls Royce Town Car.
Jay Silberman, with show producer G. Potter King Inc., calls the three-day event “a potpourri of car collector industry.”
“This is the largest indoor classic car show and auction in the United States,” Silberman says. “What makes it unique is that it’s so large and it’s indoors. Most large events like this are outdoors. We have displays of car parts, classic car parts and memorabilia. We have owners selling their own cars, not in auction, on the floor of the convention center, and this huge, 600-car car auction that brings car collectors from all over the country here once a year to buy cars.”
The show also includes an interactive children’s area, including the Scooby-Doo car, the Ghostbusters car and the Batmobile, along with face painting and other fun activities. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted for free all day on Sunday, which for the first time is designated as “kids day” at the show.
For the first time this year, show organizers have opted to move the auction block area — usually at one end of the building — to the center of the convention center floor, changing the experience for all attendees who will now get to enjoy taking in the live auction experience, Silberman says.
“Now it is the centerpiece of our event, and everybody will have access to it,” Silberman says. “We have a bidder gallery where all of the registered bidders are — about 900 of them — but the public can still watch. People say that, when they get there, they don’t know what to focus on, because there is so much to see.”