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BEL AIR, Md. — In quite an accomplishment, BSC America's Bel Air Auto Auction recently celebrated its 63rd year with a special sale in late April.

The sale boasted almost 1,300 vehicles going through the lanes. The featured units included consignments from Wells Fargo Dealer Services, Bank of America, PHH, Enterprise, ARI, M&T Bank and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group as well as a number of local and regional dealers.

Michelle Nichols-Neff, vice president of Bel Air AA, also pointed out that the anniversary sale incorporated a classic and muscle car sale and offered thousands of dollars in prizes and giveaways.

"We were delighted with the attendance at our 63rd anniversary sale," Nichols-Neff emphasized. "We recorded a total of 946 bidder badges in the lane, with 245 more dealers attending the simulcast sale.

"Buyers came from far and wide to celebrate with us, and to bid on a great selection of cars and trucks. By day's end, we recorded an overall sale rate of 73 percent," Nichols-Neff went on to say.

Bel-Air AA capped off the festivities with a grand prize drawing of a week-long Royal Caribbean cruise. Nichols-Neff shared that Sam's Auto Wholesale left the auction with both his vehicle purchases and big vacation plans. 

The auction executive apparently felt a little nostalgic when looking back at the 63 years the auction has existed, explaining that the first sale in 1947 featured 50 vehicles that were registered for $5 each.

Apparently, during that first sale, the actual sale and title transactions took place directly between buying and selling dealers, while the auction charged 25 cents to notarize title documents.

Bel Air AA added a second lane in 1962, four years after it became of a member of the National Auto Auction Association.

The Nichols family purchased the auction in partnership with Burt and Dottie Greenwood in 1980. Then Charles Nichols assumed full ownership in 1993.

The family built a reconditioning shop out of the original 1947 building and put together more lanes in the early 1990s, bringing up its current total of six.

Bel Air AA underwent another major renovation in 1995, resulting in an expansion of 4,000 square feet for administrative offices, as well as property acquisitions that brought the total footprint of the facility to more than 50 acres. 

Today, Nichols-Neff said the auction manages the flow of more than 75,000 vehicles a year at the facility that's located 17 miles from Baltimore and 80 miles from Philadelphia.