Wheels N' Deals: Good Buys at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2020

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Making the pilgrimage to the big top building at Westworld in Scottsdale to experience the insanity that is Barrett-Jackson’s flagship is a trip that should be undertaken by every red-blooded gearhead. Equal parts car show, party, and sale, the annual desert soirée is gloriously mad in all the right ways.

Of course, there are plenty of people who carp that vehicles at Barrett-Jackson fetch too much money and, indeed, some of them do. Witness the 1995 BMW M3 Lightweight that traded for an eye-watering $385,000 simply because Paul Walker’s name was on the ownership.

However, many of those same people are simply making noise on the internet and have no plans (or means) to, y’know, actually buy something. They’ll also bemoan the so-called Bring-a-Trailer premium instead of simply appreciating the weird and wonderful cars that appear.

Here’s the simple fact: there are deals to be had. While on the ground in Scottsdale, we sought out a few we figured would be of interest to you, the reader. And to prove a point, of course.

1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 – $39,600

We’ll kick off with a honkin’ bit of GM muscle for exactly the price of a Kia Stinger GT. Yes, the latter has modern safety kit and a good deal more comfort but, with Chevelle SS prices trading in the stratosphere not that long ago, this 396 with a four-speed manual represents the decline in value of this type of car now that “the kids” are in the hobby and spending $80k on a Supra.

2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Custom Coupe – $36,300

This is a great example of a great car either being overlooked by those in the room or it simply being in front of the wrong crowd at the wrong time. Perhaps a celebrity was creating a scandal at the back of the auction tent and everyone was looking the other way. Whatever the reason, this is the first 2015 Scat Pack released to the public and was a Chrysler partnership car for that year’s SEMA. Its one-off body kit has landed this thing on magazine covers and in various auto show booths. A comment left on your author’s Instagram indicates it was valued much higher.

1967 Cadillac Eldorado Custom Coupe “El Conquistador” – $35,200

The sheer amount of work that went into the creation of this custom Cadillac is proof positive that one rarely recoups their money when hot-rodding a car. The gold Gene Winfield is difficult to appreciate until seen in person, while the amount of badge and trim shaving must have been extremely time consuming. If you’re looking for a rock star connection with your custom Caddy, this thing was once owned by Travis Barker of Blink 182.

2019 Mclaren Senna – $946,000

“Matt’s delusional again,” we hear you sneer into your box of stale popcorn. But bear with me. With an original asking price somewhere in the neighborhood of $1m bucks, this Senna with delivery miles is just one of the 500 produced by Woking, with only about 120 of those earmarked for the States. Considering the snazzy duPont Registry has a number of them on offer well in excess of $1m, this hammer price starts to look like a bit of a bargain. This is VIN 212 and, if you’re wondering, VIN 005 sold in Scottsdale last year for $1.45m.

2001 Homemade Custom Roadster – $7,700

Are ya feeling lucky, punk? This vehicle, with a gas tank mounted by your ear and a Buick V6 under the hood, is literally registered as “Homemade” in the Make & Model box of its listing. Fit and finish was decidedly, um, agricultural but it would definitely evoke the envy of any British Leyland owner. With the look of a 1927 Roadster, you’ll at least depart this earthly world in a bit of style.

1979 Dodge Lil’ Red Express – $16,500

You lot know I’m a sucker for trucks, so when one is endowed with quad headlights and twin stacks, you best believe I’m unholstering my Nikon. This was a good example of a cool vintage truck that was in great shape — but not that good that you wouldn’t want to get the thing dirty. Powered by a familiar 5.9-liter V8 and three-speed automatic, it should also be simple enough to fix with a hammer.

2009 Kirkham 427 KMS/SC Aluminum Roadster – $165,000

Here is an excellent example of a basic cars sales tenet that polarizing color can make or break a deal. This car was part of a Cobra quartet on display — finished in shiny bronze, silver, aluminum, and copper — from the same collection. The moneyed were whispering that the unique finishes on these cars would be hard to care for … and they’re probably right. This seemed to scare away more than a couple of potential bidders. A real Shelby Cobra CSX 7000, from the same collection and also finished in terrifying-to-maintain polished aluminum, fetched $236,500. Keep in mind that other gen-u-wine CSXs, admittedly of different vintages, have commanded seven figures in the past.

[photos: Matthew Guy / Barrett-Jackson]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
  • Joe65688619 I agree there should be more sedans, but recognize the trend. There's still a market for performance oriented-drivers. IMHO a low budget sedan will always be outsold by a low budget SUV. But a sports sedan, or a well executed mid-level sedan (the Accord and Camry) work. Smaller market for large sedans except I think for an older population. What I'm hoping to see is some consolidation across brands - the TLX for example is not selling well, but if it was offered only in the up-level configurations it would not be competing with it's Honda sibling. I know that makes the market smaller and niche, but that was the original purpose of the "luxury" brands - badge-engineering an existing platform at a relatively lower cost than a different car and sell it with a higher margin for buyers willing and able to pay for them. Also creates some "brand cachet." But smart buyers know that simple badging and slightly better interiors are usually not worth the cost. Put the innovative tech in the higher-end brands first, differentiate they drivetrain so it's "better" (the RDX sells well for Acura, same motor and tranmission, added turbo which makes a notable difference compared to the CRV). The sedan in many Western European countries is the "family car" as opposed to micro and compact crossovers (which still sell big, but can usually seat no more than a compact sedan).
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