An unusual snow storm blew through the Denver area in late March, leaving behind more than five feet of snow and nearly forcing Manheim Auctions' Denver Auto Auction to cancel all activity.

In what would have been an impossible feat only a few months ago, however, the auction held a General Motors sale as scheduled on March 20, via the Internet, using Manheim's new Simulcast technology. More than 50 cars were sold.

About 400 vehicles were set to run through the lanes that day, but the treacherous conditions kept dealers and auction employees from going to the sale. Even the auction's general manager, Tom Strickland, could not make it to work.

“I thought the entire week was going to be a loss for all of us,” says Strickland, “I had four feet of snow in my own driveway.”

Despite the conditions, GM and Manheim decided to conduct the sale live on the Web. Manheim Interactive and its marketing staff contacted dealers, who were able to participate from all over the country and bid on vehicles using still photos and Electronic Condition Reports (ECR) for reference.

Of all the GM vehicles waiting to be sold, only about one third had an ECR, and even less had a photo, yet dealers bid on more than 80 cars and at the end of the sale 53 vehicles had changed hands.