Dozens of cars line University Parkway as Phelon auction under way
Cars are lining the roadway in the dozens on University Parkway and Richland Avenue this morning for the Phelon auction.
The auction, that could fetch millions for race cars and gear, started at 10 a.m. Close to $2 million worth of race cars and related equipment that were part of the late Russell "Dale" Phelon’s estate are being auctioned at the Richland Avenue business.
The auction has drawn a very large crowd this morning, so drivers should use caution in that area today.
Phelon, who founded and owned Phelon Motorsports Services for 20 years, passed away in March after a battle with brain cancer.
The Richland Avenue business will close its doors in the near future, and everything in the building - including about 30 vehicles from Phelon’s personal collection, as well as an assortment of spare parts and equipment - will be sold at the auction.
"This was Mr. Phelon’s private museum, but the vehicles he had in the museum were capable of racing and being successful," said Tim Schmidt, Phelon Motorsports team manager.
Among the items auctioned today by Iron Horse Auction Company of Rockingham, N.C., are 12 turnkey race cars and half a dozen high-end street cars, Schmidt said.
A 1969 Lola Can-Am originally owned by Roger Penske, a 2006 Nextel Cup Ford Fusion and a 2010 Audio R8 with a V10 engine will also be auctioned.
Several unfinished projects, like a 1969 Fastback Ford Mustang, are on the auction block, as will the 18-wheeler that Phelon and his team took to competitions. The 18-wheeler has compartments to store spare parts needed during competition, as well as a lounge area and an overhead space that could carry two race cars with an elevator lift.
The auction also features large and small tools and pit and racing equipment.
Phelon spent most of his life working in manufacturing engine electronics, and, in his early 50s, he got involved with race cars as a driver.
"He always had a passion for cars," Schmidt said. "(R.E. Phelon Company) started in Massachusetts and then he moved it to Aiken, and he was fully dedicated to his business. He decided he needed a little recreation so he put himself a little more forward into the race car world."
Phelon’s last race was in May 2011 at Road Atlanta, one week before his diagnosis, Schmidt said, when he narrowly missed winning the race.
"He was pushing the leader across the finish line. One more lap, and he would have won that race," Schmidt said. "It was one of the best drives he ever made."
The car that Phelon drove in his final race - the 1983 Mountain Dew Roush Ford Mustang - is among the vehicles to be auctioned today.