Every year, I cover the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in Scottsdale. This usually means checking out the auction catalog and writing about some of the more exciting or interesting cars for sale. The 2018 auction featured plenty of interesting vehicles, but I wanted to do something a bit different this time around.
This post is about looking at the Scottsdale auction from a data-driven perspective. If you want to see a bunch of photos of the cool cars at the auction, check our Instagram or follow our blog for more in the future.
Now in its 47th year, Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale 2018 auction had a total of 1,752 vehicles consigned to sell, which was a new record for the company. The oldest car was a 1914 Rolls Royce, and the newest was a 2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1.
Here is a chart showing the distribution of vehicles in the 2018 catalog by year of manufacture. You can see that 1,095 out of 1,752 vehicles (62.5%) were manufactured between 1950 and 1979. The mean (average) year is 1970, while the median (middle) age of all cars for sale is 1968.
This chart shows the vehicles for sale by Make or Manufacturer. It should come as no surprise that American cars are the most popular, with 1,258 out of 1,752 vehicles (71.8%) for sale produced by Ford, GM, and Chrysler. Chevrolet was the top marque with 588 vehicles, followed by Ford with 314. While you can buy a Porsche or Ferrari at a Barrett-Jackson auction, it’s pretty clear that the bulk of the catalog is centered around American cars from the 1950s through 1970s.
Here we have a similar chart showing the most popular models of vehicle by name. The Corvette was the most popular model of car at the auction with 158 of them for sale (9% of the entire catalog!). The Mustang and Camaro tied for second place, with exactly 103 of them for sale for each car. The Chevrolet Chevelle came in third, with 49 examples for sale at this year’s event. The Ford Thunderbird came in fourth, with 39 cars for sale.
Many sellers try to distinguish their vehicle from the others for sale by doing customizations. Analyzing the titles of auction listings, 458 vehicles or 26% of the entire catalog contained the word “custom.”
So what have we learned? Barrett-Jackson will sell whatever someone consigns to them, but we can see that the majority of sellers and buyers are interested in American cars from 1950 to 1979 and more specifically, Corvettes. If you’re in the market for one of these vehicles, Barrett-Jackson is where you need to be!
I hope you enjoyed this look at the numbers behind the auction. Stay tuned for more coverage of Arizona Car Week 2018!