Art Basel's Parent Company Is Bringing a Giant Collectible Auto Fair to Miami Beach

The first thing many people think of when they hear "Miami" isn't the clear blue skies or the beautiful beaches — it's both of those things as a backdrop to an exotic car. Miami is a huge market for expensive automobiles and one of the few places on Earth where seeing a Bugatti on the highway isn't totally unheard of. So it makes sense that Art Basel's parent company, MCH Group, is debuting an event in the city dedicated to car culture.

The first edition of Grand Basel Miami Beach will be held February 22 through 24 next year at the Miami Beach Convention Center, which also hosts Art Basel Miami Beach and the Miami Beach International Auto Show. Unlike the latter, which is geared toward consumers, the new event will be for collectors of rare and unique automobiles.

The exclusive clientele won't be shopping around for the new family wagon. According to a release, the expected 60,000 attendees will shop for 200 rare and vintage cars, attend panels, and explore "the top vehicular examples of sophisticated design."

Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, along with Mark Backé, global director of Grand Basel, announced the new fair Wednesday at a ceremony at Miami Beach City Hall.

“From Miami Beach, we will be able to reach an extensive audience of discerning car collectors and who are eager for a show like no other, one that positions the automobile in a curated environment, where it can be elevated to that of a work of art," Backé said.

According to a Bloomberg writeup about the event, vendor spots will be very exclusive. A secret panel of advisers in Zurich, Switzerland, will look at applications and determine who gets to show at Grand Basel. The article also makes comparisons to the prestigious Concours d'Elegance events held in Pebble Beach, California, and Amelia Island, Florida.

Although car collecting is a niche interest — one would need to be pretty rich to own more than one car, let alone an expensive fleet of vintage racers — it hasn't kept Grand Basel from pulling out the big guns in terms of promotion. It has already released a video featuring movie star and noted gearhead Idris Elba. The video shows Elba driving around in various expensive-looking cars.

Similar to the happenings surrounding Art Basel, satellite Grand Basel events will also take place in Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland, itself. Ticket prices for the public haven't been announced for Miami but will cost 75 Swiss francs ($75) at the Switzerland fair. Prices for Art Basel Miami Beach tickets in 2017 ran from $50 to $120.

Grand Basel Miami Beach. February 22 through 24, 2019, at Miami Beach Convention Center, 1900 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 786-276-2600; grandbasel.com.

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