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
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
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.
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.
Approximately 320,000 people passed through this entrance during the eight day event. Continue reading
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
Are you getting excited? The Arizona Concours d’Elegance is just three weeks away! The annual event, now in its fourth year, will be held at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix on Sunday, January 15th, 2017. Whether you have attended before or are considering it for the first time, we’re going to give you a preview of what you can expect to see at the 2017 show.
Although this event takes place during Arizona Car Week (alongside Barrett-Jackson, Russo and Steele, and other collector car auctions), the Arizona Concours is NOT an auction event. The 90 automobiles on display are not for sale, but rather are entered in a judged competition. Class winners will receive awards, ribbons, and the distinction of being judged “Best in Class.” Continue reading
The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction will be returning to Scottsdale in January of 2017 for its 46th year. I have attended the Scottsdale auction for over 10 years, and I am impressed with Barrett-Jackson’s ability to keep the event fresh and interesting time after time. Here are some highlights of recent auctions to illustrate my point:
2005 – Barrett-Jackson sells a one-off Oldsmobile F-88 Concept Car for $3.24 million.
2006 – Barrett-Jackson makes headlines by selling a 1950 GM Futurliner bus for $4.1 million.
2007 – Barrett-Jackson sets an all-time record when they sold Carroll Shelby’s personal 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 “Super Snake” for a staggering $5.5 million dollars.
2008 – Barrett-Jackson auctions off cars from the hit TV show Monster Garage.
2009 – Barrett-Jackson auctions off hundreds of concept and prototype cars from the GM Heritage Collection, and sells a rare Ford Tri-Motor Airplane for $1.21 million.
2010 – The top seller is a Hamilton H-47 Metalplane, which sells for $671,000. Other big sales included a 2011 Mustang Glass Roof Coupe for $330,000 and a 1966 Shelby GT350 Fastback for $247,500.
2011 – This was a rough year for the collector market, with the economic recession putting a damper on things. The top seller was a 2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Laguna Seca edition for $450,000 – followed by a 1950 Mercury Custom Coupe and a 2005 Ferrari 575 Superamerica selling for $330,000 each.
2012 – Barrett-Jackson debuts “The Salon Collection” featuring highly desirable collectible automobiles from Duesenberg, Isotta-Fraschini, Pierce-Arrow, Packard, Delahaye, and other prestigious marques. Highlights include a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe selling for $2.2 million, a Ghia-designed DeSoto Adventurer Coupe concept car for $1.43 million, and a 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow that sold for $2.2 million.
2013 – Barrett-Jackson celebrates the memory of Carroll Shelby with over 50 Shelby vehicles up for auction. They also sold the Original #1 Batmobile for $4.6 million.
2014 – The Scottsdale Auction was held in the all-new permanent auction building this year. Simon Cowell’s Bugatti Veyron fetched a $1.375 million price, while a Ferrari F40 from Gas Monkey Garage sold for $643,500.
2015 – Barrett-Jackson auctioned off an amazing collection of 140 American classics and customs from the Ron Pratte Collection. Sales from the Pratte Collection topped $40.4 million.
2016 – The 45th Anniversary of Barrett-Jackson was highlighted with the sale of a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Supercar, which sold for $1.76 million dollars.
So what can we look forward to in 2017? The January 2017 auction will feature the Charlie Thomas Collection. 141 collector and classic vehicles will cross the block. Charlie Thomas made his fortune through car dealerships in Texas. At one point, he owned 50 dealerships in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. He sold many of them to AutoNation and is now down to 14 dealerships in the Galveston, TX area.
Charlie’s car collection covers a broad range of American history, from a 1929 Studebaker President to a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12. The bulk of the collection consists of original and restored 1950s and 1960s Ford and Chevrolet cars – which is the era of vehicles that Barrett-Jackson is best known for.
Here are some of the standout lots to look forward to at next month’s auction event:
Lot #1016 – A 1970 Dodge Challenger coupe that has been updated with an 8.0L V10 engine from a Dodge Viper.
Lot #1022 – A 1949 Mercury Coupe that has been chopped into a “lead sled.”
Lot #2016 – A Chevrolet Yenko Chevelle 2 door hardtop with a column shifter – the only one known to exist and one of just 22 ever built.
Lot #2049 – An extremely rare all-original 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 Fastback that was originally ordered by a retired Ford employee.
We are eagerly looking forward to the Charlie Thomas Collection and to the other cars that will cross the block from January 14-22, 2017 in Scottsdale, Arizona! Be sure to follow Generation: High Output on our website, Facebook page, and Instagram for auction updates and highlights.
With the 2016 SEMA Show just days away, we’d like to share our video recap of last year’s show! Check it out: