Auctioneer presents hundreds of Detroit vehicles


A 2007 Ford F-150 pickup is one the hundreds of surplus city of Detroit vehicles being auctioned this week. Photo via

A local auctioneer is helping to sell hundreds of surplus vehicles that were operated by the city of Detroit — a move that’s expected to generate millions for the city.

The live auction with online bidding begins this Wednesday and will feature 111 police cars and fire trucks, 107 buses, 99 maintenance trucks and vehicles, 186 garbage trucks and three historic trolley cars: Detroit Citizens Railway Closed Trolley Car; British Thompson Houston Co. Ltd Open Air Trolley Car; and Burton & Ashby Light Railway Open Air Double Decker Trolley Car.

The sale is expected to bring $6-$7 million to the city.

What’s for sale

Hilco Industrial in Farmington Hills and Miedema Asset Management Group in Grand Rapids are facilitating the sale after being awarded a three-year contract in September to manage the sale of an extensive list of the city’s surplus transportation, railway rolling stock and public utility maintenance vehicles.

Scott Miedema, COO of Miedema Asset Management Group, said the vehicles are available as a result of the privatization of many of the city’s services.

“They are now privatizing a lot of their municipal services,” he said. “For example, the Department of Public Waste, these are all the trucks they were using, and as they privatize it, the companies will come in with their own trucks.”

Miedema said the vehicles range in condition from trucks with 10,000 miles on them to police cruisers that have been banged up in accidents.

“We have the full range,” he said. “I think one thing that is important to note is people hear the city of Detroit, and they think all these are old, worn-out assets, and they are not, because of the fact they decommissioned them while they were still good. The equipment is really in remarkable condition.”

The majority of the vehicles are coming from the Detroit Department of Public Works, Public Lighting Department and Department of Transportation, as well as from the police and fire departments.

Auction details

The auction begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, and the online-only part runs through Nov. 13.

“The main auction is the vast majority of the items,” Miedema said. “The online auction is some machine shop items and some surplus parts.”

The webcast auction will be held in Detroit at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center, 2 Woodward Ave., on the 13th floor in room 1316, which is the Irma Lois Henderson Auditorium.

People can preview the assets today and tomorrow, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., at the Herman Kiefer Center, at 1151 Taylor St. Buses and streetcars are located at the Detroit Department of Transportation yard and require an appointment.

A 12.5 percent buyer's premium will be charged on all assets.


Registration is required to participate in the auction.

More information on the vehicles is online.

Next auction

Though a date hasn’t been set, Miedema said there are already another 300 vehicles lined up for the next auction.

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