2017 Arizona Concours d’Elegance

2017-az-concours-01 For one glorious week in January, thousands of car enthusiasts and aficionados make a pilgrimage to the Arizona desert to take part in a ritual that has come to be known as “Arizona Car Week.” In the 3rd week of January, thousands of collector cars and millions of dollars change hands at a half-dozen different auctions including Barrett-Jackson, Russo and Steele, RM Sotheby’s, Gooding & Co., Bonham’s, and Silver Auctions. While I love the excitement of the auction circuit, one of my favorite events of Arizona Car Week is not an auction at all. It’s the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, which has become sort of a kickoff event to Car Week. Continue reading

Barrett-Jackson 2017: 1979 Ford F-100

This one goes to eleven. Black paint, supercharged small block Ford with over 600hp, 3.70:1 end and a TKO 5-speed. Chrome everywhere and classic f-series looks. It has an image that says, “Clear a path.” 

I was drawn immediately to this truck upon seeing it, and I must have not been the only one as it went for $16,500 on the Scottdale auction block. 

If you’d like to see the lot listing for this truck, please click here. 

Barrett-Jackson 2017: Is It Hard To Tell Where Our Loyalties Lie? (1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2)

1986-Pontiac-Grand-Prix-2-plus-2 (9)Classic cars are easily the closest thing we’ll ever have to a time machine. Step inside of any restored (or simply not beat to shit) car of yesteryear and you’re instantly transported to another time.. completely surrounded by the smells, sounds, and styles. Continue reading

Barrett-Jackson 2017: 1986 Grand Prix 2+2


One of the more interesting vehicles found at Barrett-Jackson this year was this Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2. Among the more high-profile G-bodies like the Monte Carlo, El Camino, Cutlass and Buick T-type, the Pontiac tends to become more of a forgotten offering. Couple that with this aerodynamic-enhancing body conversion by Auto-Fab for homologation purposes and you find yourself with one interesting piece of history.

Being one of only 1,225 Grand Prix models converted, it’s provenance is evident in it’s smooth Firebird/Camaro-esque rear windshield, revised front fascia and small fiberglass trunk lid. That’s correct: Despite it’s appearance, that window is static, not hatch.

And that lack of useful storage space is only one of the many issues that kept this production variant out of the General Motors limelight. The lackluster performance from the 150hp 5.0L carbureted v8 available only through the 2004r auto and a 3.08:1 rear end ratio didn’t help either. If you remember correctly, even the lowly Monte Carlo SS had an alternative 180hp variant during it’s run, not to mention the offerings from Buick and Oldsmobile.

Despite it’s shortcomings, aesthetically it’s a stud in the confines of it’s era. Which, along with it’s rareness, is probably why this well-kept, low-mileage example went for an impressive $11,000 at auction.

 


Check out the lot listing for this vehicle over at Barrett-Jackson.com

Barrett-Jackson 2017: Auction Photos

Barrett-Jackson returned to Scottsdale, Arizona for their 46th annual Collector Car Auction event, which was held from January 14-22, 2017. They sold a record number of cars, and raised nearly $2.2 million dollars for charity. In case you missed it, here are some photos that should give you a sense of what it was like to be there.

scottsdale-2017-01Approximately 320,000 people passed through this entrance during the eight day event. Continue reading

Barrett-Jackson 2017: Setting Records, Making Memories

corvette-cerv-engineering

This 1960 Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle sold for $1.3 million at Barrett-Jackson’s 2017 Scottsdale auction.

For 46 years, the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale has been the cornerstone event of what has grown into “Arizona Car Week.” I have been attending the Scottsdale auction for over 10 years now, and have covered the event on this site for 5 of those years. Usually, I recap the auction by writing about a couple of unique cars that caught my eye, or industry trends like Micro Cars, hot rods, and celebrity car sales. This year, I want to do something different and share some thoughts about the January 2017 auction.

Setting Records
barrett-jackson-sold-stickerThe Scottsdale 2017 auction was a record-breaker for Barrett-Jackson and for the collector car community. Consignments were way up this year, indicating that confidence in the market is on the rise.

The auction normally features 1,400-1,500 collector cars, and 2017 saw a jump to 1,719 vehicles on the docket! In fact, they actually started the auction a day early on Monday, January 16th, just to get through them all!

Here are a couple of highlights from the Scottsdale auction:

  • Over 320,000 people attended the 8-day event
  • Total auction sales (including memorabilia) were approximately $102 million
  • Cars in the auction had a 99.5% sell-through rate
  • The Charlie Thomas Collection featured 146 vehicles and yielded more than $1.7 million in sales
  • There were 8 Charity Auction cars, which raised a total of $2.28 million dollars for charities ranging from Military Veterans to Children’s Hospitals
  • The top charity car was Steven Tyler’s 2012 Hennessey Venom GT Spyder supercar which sold for $800,000, of which 100% of the proceeds went to Janie’s Fund, a program that provides support for abused and neglected girls
  • More than 36 hours of live auction coverage aired on Velocity TV and Discovery

You might think that after 46 years, the car auction business would be a humdrum event, but that’s not the case at all. Compared to other car auctions, Barrett-Jackson has the largest catalog of cars, the largest audience, and nearly half a century of experience, and they know how to generate excitement unlike anyone else. I think that is reflected by the record-breaking numbers in this year’s auction.

Making Memories
One of the hallmarks of the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction is that there’s so much to do. While the cars are the main focus, there were vendor exhibits, Dodge Thrill Rides, celebrity appearances, a Polo match, a BMX exhibition, and plenty of food options to create a full day’s entertainment each day of the event.

barrett-jackson-tents
While all of these are great, my favorite part of the auction is walking around under the tents outside and looking at the different cars that have been consigned for sale. While I am out there, I see lots of other people doing the same thing. The love of cars is an interest that brings people together, regardless of age, income, or other factors.

Barrett-Jackson is not in the business of selling cars – they are selling dreams.

There are groups of friends both young and old walking around checking out the cars. I see best friends reminiscing about the cars they had in high school and the mischief they got into. Barrett-Jackson is not in the business of selling cars – they are selling dreams. Dreams of the car they always wanted, or the one they used to have that got away.

I see young kids whose eyes light up when they see a Plymouth Prowler or a gigantic supercharger sticking up out of the hood of a muscle car. This is the event to see all things weird and wonderful of the automotive world, from the Amphicar to a Ferrari Testarossa. You don’t need to know a single thing about cars to see something that stirs your soul, and Barrett-Jackson is the place where that happens. These kids are the collector car owners of the future. What they see at these events may start them down a path that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Whether you want to see record-breaking auctions or create lasting memories with friends and family, Barrett-Jackson is the place to be. It is the excitement and the memories that keep me coming back, year after year. You can find out more about upcoming auction events by visiting www.barrett-jackson.com.

Who Has Time To Wait For A New Ford Ranger? (1998 Saturn SW2 Pickup Truck)

1998 Saturn SW2 Wagon El Camino Front

Somehow this Saturn truck (by way of SW2 wagon) didn’t make an appearance at any of the big auctions out in Scottsdale this week..

Let’s get into some of the details here. The bedsides seem to be topped off with rain gutters screwed onto planks of wood and the double din stereo appears to have been installed with a similar level of precision and care. The whole thing is probably twice the rattle trap it was when stock, this is where the straight pipes come in to drone drown out the sound. Continue reading