As he waited with the unlicensed and otherwise rebuffed near the remains of a loading dock, now a fishing pier, next to the Tioga Marine Terminal, his only worry was the competition.
"A lot of people are waiting for that one," Hernandez said.
Most of the vehicles were not as coveted.
They are the creaking spoils of Operation Live Stop, a citywide crackdown on unlicensed, uninsured and unregistered drivers that has netted about 9,000 vehicles since it began on July 1.
"A lot of these cars look pretty beat-up inside," said Russell Regalbuto, 43, a teacher from Northeast Philadelphia.
He bought a black 1990 Pontiac Bonneville for his 18-year-old son, Christopher. His bid - the $300 minimum - was the only one on the slightly scratched, cavernous car.
"It's a little rough," Regalbuto said, after sliding into the front seat. "But we'll clean it and it won't be so bad."
Other cars had dents, broken headlights and cracked windshields. As the owner of Felicia's Towing, Gene Fletcher, summed it up to a friend on a cell phone call: "500 cars . . . A bunch of junk."
Auctioneer Gerry Aspite Jr. noticed the slack demand soon after he started soliciting bids.
"Boy, tough crowd," he hollered, his words coming out as fast as a sports car at full throttle. "I need $300. $300. $300 on an '85 Mercury Cougar?"
At the end of the day, after four hours of hustling in the largest auction in Parking Authority history, 317 of the vehicles were sold to salvage yards as scrap for about $25 to $30 each.
The highest bid was for a gleaming white Chevy Tahoe, only five years old and with 80,000 miles. It netted $7,450 from Moorestown resident Majid Kureishi, 21, who bought it with his dad as a gift for his sister, Shahenaz, 22.
"She likes trucks," he said.
Despite the take from the Tahoe, the city yesterday probably did not move far along the path to recouping the $3.3 million annual cost of Live Stop to the Parking Authority.
Vincent Fenerty, the Parking Authority's director of enforcement, declined to say how much the agency raked in yesterday.
"If I told you that, I could have a guy with a shotgun here in two weeks," looking to steal it, he said. "It was a very, very successful sale."
About 110 owners got to the impoundment lot to reclaim their cars before the auction with their papers in order. Some auctioneers said they had met owners who planned to bid on their own cars, despite not having their papers in order.
Most of the vehicles on the block yesterday sold for under $1,000. The truck that Hernandez was eyeing turned out to be an exception.
His brother and his friend Fernando Labra, inside the lot, kept pace with other bidders until the cost hit $1,845. That, Hernandez couldn't top.
Labra, owner of a towing service that contracted with the city to help haul the rejected cars to a junkyard, shrugged his shoulders in apology.
"Sorry, friend," he yelled back across the fence to Hernandez.
Contact Gaiutra Bahadur at 610-272-7184 or email@example.com.