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Vintage Tours: Mecum Chicago 2019
We came, we saw, and we could barely believe it.
We know power, and we know collectability. We know curves and colorways, and the crazed feeling that comes with putting the pedal to the metal. Still, MECUM Chicago was a whole new world that none of us were ready for, and yet a virtual mirror image of our own.
In our own backyard of Schaumburg, IL, the trip was easy enough. We set out for a familiar place, a happy place for almost all Chicagoans: IKEA, where MECUM had arranged for satellite parking. We ditched our daily drivers in the Fjürgen lot and shuffled over in the crisp fall air to the shuttle, intent on revving a few engines, our best pieces in tow.
When we arrived at the Schaumburg Convention Center, the air was supercharged with the feeling that anything could happen, fantasies of deals and steals, and the percolating energy of no reserve auctions mixing with the intoxicating aroma of oil and gasoline to form a heady brew of mystery and anticipation.
Behind the grandstand, we unloaded and lined up about 15 pieces, including a 1960 ES-335, a black 1960 Jazzmaster, one of perhaps seven or ten factory Black ES-355s still in existence, with, what we suspect to be, factory-installed Master Volume and 3-Way switching on the horns, as well as our 1960 Burst, otherwise known affectionately as “Scarface.”
While we arranged our pieces on the grandstand like trophies, camera after camera was lining up, focusing on the other side, where, in just a few moments, there would be a parade of some of the most spectacular and rare vehicles that have ever existed. Start your engines—ready, set, go
Like two sides of the same coin, our guitars were back-to-back with the legendary machines that inspired so many of them. Jaguars and Jaguars. Racing stripes. Chrome. The same DuPont color codes. Contours and cuts flowing effortlessly in perfect parallel. And we weren’t the only ones to notice.
MECUM goers were eager to tell us about their collection of guitars, how they get the same feeling from playing a Fender that they do when they’re sitting in between them, and how their love for both blend together, like the center of a Venn diagram, or the colors in a finely mixed coat of custom paint. Like old family stories, the tales poured out; fond memories recollected by lovers of the craft, collecting, playing, driving… .
We’d heard the comparison before, many times, but at MECUM Chicago, we finally saw it, reflected in bright orange with glowing flecks of silver, and spelled out in letters like “S-H-E-L-B-Y.” It was impossible to ignore, and we knew there was something special at work in our combination of similar worlds. MECUM. CME. MECUM and CME.
It was then and there we decided to make our first steps into the center of the Venn diagram, and in January, we will.
Join CME in Kissimmee, FL, at Osceola Heritage Park, for MECUM Kissimmee 2020, where we’ll hold our first-ever auction of rare and exclusive guitars as part of MECUM’s Guitar Search. It’s the start of a relationship that, in reality, has been there all along, and we can’t wait to be there to hand you the keys.