Kingsport Police Cpl. Kevin Kelly inspects one of 38 vehicles to be auctioned off Saturday by the police department at the city’s fleet maintenance office on Industry Drive. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — If you’re looking for a car or truck, and don’t care if it once belonged to a drug dealer or the police department, then check out this Saturday’s city vehicle auction.
The city of Kingsport plans to hold a vehicle auction at the city’s fleet maintenance office, located on Industry Drive across the street from the city’s wastewater treatment plant. The auction begins at 10 a.m., and vehicles can be viewed by the public beginning at 9 a.m.
Cpl. Kevin Kelly with the Kingsport Police Department is overseeing the auction and said bidders must register prior to the auction, and payment must be in cash or check — no plastic. Everything is sold as-is, with no warranty, and all vehicles are to be removed the day of the sale.
Thirty-eight vehicles are slated to be auctioned off Saturday — 16 are old city fleet vehicles (old police cruisers and other city vehicles) while 22 are cars and trucks that were seized by the police department through drug busts, DUIs and driving on revoked license charges.
Kelly said he anticipates 300 to 400 people will attend Saturday’s auction.
All of the vehicles have more than 100,000 miles under their hoods, and a couple do not run. Kelly said all of the vehicles are civilian (no dump trucks) and that there are no motorcycles or bicycles included in Saturday’s auction.
Kelly said the high bid price depends on the vehicle and added he’s not sure how much money the auction will raise.
“The very vehicle you think is going to bring big bucks won’t, and the ones you think won’t bring anything bring in more than what you think,” Kelly said. “They go to the highest bidder, regardless if it’s $50 or $5,000. It’s an absolute auction. We’re not going to hold anything back. If the highest bid we get is $10, then that’s what we sell it for.”
The money raised by the auction will go into the police department’s drug fund and will be used to purchase equipment and vehicles to help combat drug crimes in the Model City, Kelly said.
The city holds an auction for seized and unused vehicles about twice a year, and Kelly, who has done the auctions for about five years, said the city is investigating doing future vehicle auctions online.
“We don’t have anything confirmed yet. We’re almost there, but there’s still some things we have to work out, some technical language on the contract,” Kelly said. “It’s not a done deal yet, so we’re staying away from that until we get something concrete.”
Winning bidders who purchase a vehicle with a check will have to wait 10 days until the check clears. At that time, they can pick up the paperwork at City Hall. Tax-exempt bidders must show proof of tax-exempt status, Kelly said.