Mecum is allowed to bid up cars to the reserve. I have seen on TV where a car goes good then stops reserve not met. You hear them say we don't have anyone and they go to the next car. Speeds things up but makes it look like someone thinks its worth something
Its called chandelier bidding. As mentioned its a way to move things along and get the bids up close to the reserve to see if there are any real buyers near the reserve price and a deal can be made. Its totally legal but can be abused. Worst case I ever saw was this Carolina blue Z28 at the Indy Mecum auction. https://www.mecum.com/lot-detail.cfm?lot_id=SC0514-184213
I think we all could agree this car is probably a low six figure car at best yet it was "bid" to 450K and didnt meet the reserve. What stunk about it was that the car was personally owned by Dana Mecum (not disclosed at the auction). Now he can say the value is $450K because thats what was bid?
Anyway, with BJ being no reserve chandelier bidding shouldnt come into play (illegal) and thats why I'm somewhat baffled as to why that Z went for so much. Only thing that makes sense is the buyer got sucked into "Ron Pratte only buys the best" line saw what he had paid for it (125k) and figured it must be worth at least that plus a little more because it now was once part of the Ron Pratte collection. Well good luck to him when he tries to sell it and the potential buyer Googles the vin.