Block Party: Barrett-Jackson Rolls Into Scottsdale

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

If you’ve never attended a Barrett-Jackson event, think of it as a massive car show blended with the insanity of an auction and the food trucks from a county fair plus a SEMA’s worth of retail vendors. The whole thing is wonderful, glorious, organized gearhead chaos – and its marquee event is happening right now in Arizona.

Sure, the cynical will (correctly) say that, at its heart, a Barrett-Jackson auction remains a used car sale with loud auctioneers and every over-the-topiary stereotype one can jam under a big top tent. But one doesn’t have to constantly drink in the insanity; cars which roll across the block are generally parked back in their designated spot, creating an opportunity for showgoers to browse the wares and gawk at the prices being paid for these things – the latter courtesy of a ‘sold’ sticker bearing the selling amount written in black Sharpie placed there by a girl in tight pants who always gets screen time on the official livestream. No one can say Barrett-Jackson doesn’t know its target audience. I've attended Scottsdale twice and will again.

And the variety of vehicles is an absolute riot. RealTruck’s lifesize recreation of a Matchbox-inspired Jeep Gladiator is a great example, festooned with off-road gear outrageous paintwork. Its builders are promising all proceeds from the sale of this custom JT Gladiator will go to the national non-profit Building Homes for Heroes. There’s more of than philanthropy going on during the week than one might expect, by the way.

If you prefer ‘70s American muscle with a twinge of Hollywood, check out the  Olds 442 that was allegedly used in Demolition Man, the 1993 flick with Sandra Bullock, Sly Stallone, Wesley Snipes, and a bunch of seashells. Bill Goldberg’s own  2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 is on offer, showing just delivery miles and being sold as a pair with his  2018 Demon. Why auction them as a duo? Because these black coupes have matching VINs, of course.

While the big money cars are generally reserved for prime time on Friday and Saturday nights, not everything at the show hammers for an absolute fortune. Witness this  IROC-Z in great shape which sold for five grand on Monday, or this stunningly clean  SR5 with awesome blue plaid seats for ten large. Very nearly everything which crosses the block at Barrett-Jackson is presented at no reserve, which is equal parts entertaining for us and terrifying for sellers.

The live stream can be found here. Just throw your brain in the back seat and enjoy the madness.

[Images: Barrett-Jackson, RealTruck/TheBrandAmp]

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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.

More by Matthew Guy

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2 of 20 comments
  • Azmtns Azmtns on Jan 28, 2024

    We attended the Sotheby’s auction on Thursday at the AZ Biltmore. A much better experience.

  • Mike Beranek Mike Beranek on Jan 29, 2024

    Be careful at a B-J event lest someone's elevated pinky poke you in the eye. Mecum is more down-to-Earth.

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