The State of Florida auctions were usually held at various Department of Transportation (DOT) facilities located throughout the state. Many different state agencies sold surplus vehicles and equipment at these auctions, including the Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Marine Patrol, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement, for example. Florida used J. Durham and Associates as the primary auction company, but the contract apparently was switched around over the years and several auctions were held by First Coast Auctions (followed by J Durham again after those). Once you were signed up to their mailing list, you received an pamphlet prior to the auction listing the location and what cars were available. An example is posted below, from the December 1997 auction in Gainesville, Florida. I purchased FHP 1187, the unrestored vehicle seen in the FHP Restoration Section on this website, from this auction:

The mailer listed the auction date, time, and location, and also listed the terms of the sale:

The vehicle photos were usually stock photos from other auctions, but they were updated from time-to-time.

Here is FHP 805, lot #319, an unmarked Mustang that sold at the December 1999 auction in Orlando, Florida. (selling price was $5700). This auction saw a record price for an auctioned FHP Mustang; $8500 for FHP 188, lot #309, a black, unmarked 5 speed with just over 78K miles on it. The Mustang was purchased by M. LaMaskin of Performance Autosport. It was a really nice car.

Another shot from a later brochure, both marked and unmarked Mustangs in the background.

The inside of the brochure listed the vehicles and equipment that was to be sold. At this particular auction, 22 FHP Mustangs were available. These listings were estimates, though, and the numbers of cars could change drastically by the time the auction was held. Also, the listings gave no other description of the cars, such as mileage, so you pretty much had to just show up and see what was there.

If you planned on bidding, you had to register with the auction company. They issued you a bidder number, and also handed out listings of what was going to be sold, just like any other auction. The bidder card below was issued for the Gainesville auction.

Along with registration, you could also pick up a detailed listing of what was up for auction. These listings included the terms and conditions, some bidding instructions, and information on the property for sale, including lot numbers, the agency that the property was from, vehicle identification number (if applicable), and other information, including the unit numbers (for FHP cars). Inspections were usually held the day before the auction, and also the morning of (before the start). The cars were usually marked on the windshield with the lot number, that they had been "checked out", and any mechanical issues, but it was definitely buyer beware. You could start the cars, run the A/C, inspect the entire interior/exterior and under hood, etc. but were not allowed to drive the cars around.

The FHP Mustangs usually had the following "Used Mobile Equipment" printouts taped to the passenger-side quarter window (inside).

The FHP cars sold were normally from the nearby Troops, but they were also sometimes brought in from other areas. They were usually stripped of all radios/electronics before being brought to the yards, but were still fully-marked. Auction prepping varied over the years, but normally included scraping the decals off and spraying black paint onto the cream paint areas (early cars were completely repainted, but FHP stopped the practice). If you purchased a car, you received the odometer disclosure statement, which was marked with the lot number, as well as detailed information on the vehicle.

The original title, also provided at the time of purchase, usually included the unit number and troop that the car served with, as well as the lot number.

I attended my first auction in 1990, at Bartow, FL. The last auction I was at was in Gainesville, FL in 2000. I seriously began looking for a Mustang to buy in 1996, and attended the most auctions between 1996-1997, including auctions as far away from me as Marianna, FL. After travelling to auctions throughout the state in search of the right car, I ended up finding the right car at my hometown auction. Here are a few pictures:

This picture was taken shortly after I bought the car.

Auction day picture, just after I washed it.

Auction day picture, showing the unit number 1187 and other writing on the windshield.

Auction day picture, showing the lot #100 for 1187.

Shot of the front of the car.

Shot of the rear of the car, showing the paint break.

Interior shot.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at the auction process in Florida, and I look forward to updating this section with similar contributions from members here.

Mike M.