Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions, Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, and the City of Scottsdale announced revised dates for two events at WestWorld of Scottsdale this year. Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale Auction will be held March 20-27, while Goodguys Spring Nationals is scheduled for April 16-18.
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.
It’s no secret that wherever enthusiasts — of any person, place, or thing — get together, mad money soon follows. Look at the huge money being commanded for certain rock n’ roll memorabilia, or rare artwork by a noted painter. Your author just bid obscene money for a frame containing handwritten liner notes, a platinum record, and a picture signed by some famous Canadian musicians. My bank account weeps but my office walls are happy.
It is the same, of course, with cars. Some recent models have skyrocketed in value, while a few others have traded on famous names. What’s been your biggest surprise of late?
This weekend, someone raised their bidder’s number at Barrett-Jackson in Las Vegas when the auctioneer asked for $58,000. It wasn’t on a Hemi ‘Cuda convertible. Nor was it on a tasty ’70 Chevelle SS. It was on the 1997 Acura Integra Type R you see above.
After buyer’s fees, the new owner shelled out $63,800 for what may very well be the lowest-mileage ITR in existence. Do you think collector’s tastes have shifted? Maybe permanently?
Mopar fans are among the most steadfast automotive enthusiasts in history. Their ability to openly express their love for post-war luxury, classic muscle, and turbocharged compacts from the 1980s remains unrivaled. While an advocate for General Motors or Ford can certainly appreciate disparate models within their chosen nameplate, Mopar enthusiasts frequently push the envelope of sanity — at least, that’s the stigma.
If you’re unfamiliar with the stereotype, log into any car forum and write that you’re considering swapping an LS motor into a Plymouth, Dodge, or Chrysler. Congratulations, you just made a dozen new enemies. On the flip side of that coin, owning a vintage Mopar can win you a lot of respect within the community. While not equal in terms of prestige, owning a Dodge Aspen wagon will still net you loads of brownie points with anyone driving a Coronet Super Bee Six Pack or Omni GLH-S. Hell, at this stage in the game you might even get a thumbs up for buying a Plymouth Reliant.
Unfortunately, Chrysler’s immediate future doesn’t look nearly as bright as its often dicey past. That’s especially true for Dodge. The Viper is dead, the Challenger can’t go on forever, and annual sales are less than half of what they were 10 years ago. But its fiercely loyal enthusiast community remains, and they’ll have an opportunity to purchase the final examples of what may end up being the brand’s two most illustrious models.
The most gonzo of all current Corvettes, the ZR1, packs a 755 horsepower wallop from its supercharged LT5. Chevrolet, as it has in the past with other notable versions of popular models, offered up the first retail copy to the highest bidder at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale.
Rick Hendrick, who is reported to already own a couple of Chevys, ponied up the cash and won the auction … despite not even being in the room.
It’s the dream of us all, isn’t it? Knowing tomorrow’s lottery numbers. Correctly predicting the long-shot Super Bowl winner before putting down a big bet in Vegas. I don’t know about you, but as a gearhead I harbor similar fantasies about the Next Big Thing in collector cars.
The collector car market has waned somewhat from the breathless heights of 10 years ago. Sure, there are still pockets of crazy money — witness Hemi ‘Cudas that can still trade for outrageous sums, not to mention air-cooled Porsches and Pebble Beach with their Holy Grail Ferraris hammering away for many tens of millions of dollars.
This week, the deep-pocketed guys and girls of the car collecting world will descend upon the state of Arizona for the annual collector car auctions. From the televised glitz of Barrett-Jackson to the white-gloved stratosphere of RM Sotheby’s, there is something on the docket to fit everyone’s taste.
For years, I’d watch the events on television or follow the sale prices online with a certain amount of apoplexy. “They paid how much? For that?!?” I’d routinely fume, reliably waking my spouse and buying myself yet another night in the guest room.
A couple of years ago, though, I had a minor revelation.
Indeed, car shoppers looking for a bargain can potentially find fleet gold at surplus auctions, where municipal, county, state, and federal agencies dispose of (usually) lightly used domestic cars and trucks. Knowing how those agencies use their vehicles can make or break the value of your find; buying an ex-Border Patrol Raptor in Texas may not be the best idea if you want a long-lived, trouble free truck.
A keen eye and a bit of luck, however, can yield a magnificent treasure. In 1979, a high-school shop teacher spotted this old Plymouth up for bid, and took it home for a measly $500. It’s no ordinary Plymouth, of course — it’s the legendary Superbird, with the NASCAR-ready homologation wing and aero nose.
It’s up for auction again in October, though it’ll cross the stage under bright lights and TV cameras at the glitzy Barrett-Jackson auction in Las Vegas instead of a dreary government service facility. As these rare ‘Birds tend to trade for well over six figures, we’d have to say this is likely the best surplus find yet.
However, the story behind this example might make it worth even more: This particular Superbird was owned by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Vast amounts of witless cash arrived at Scottsdale this week. To wit: the first serial production Acura NSX — or, at least, the right to order it — sold for $1.2 million at Barrett-Jackson on Friday.
For that $1.2 million (plus somewhere between $156,000 and $205,700 for the car itself), winning bidder Rick Hendrick (yes, that Rick Hendrick) will be the first “normal” person to enjoy such model-specific features as automatically reversing cat bolts, tires that don’t grip (if so equipped) and a painstaking 12+ month wait to 60 mph.
At least Acura and Mr. Hendrick will get the warm-and-fuzzies. All that crazy auction money will go to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground in Georgia, and not Honda’s Formula 1 engine development program.
I can recall the first time I saw a first generation Camaro in the October 1966 Popular Science new car preview edition. The 1967 Camaro was the star attraction when it debuted in the fall of 1966 and it gave the General an instant classic in the pony car battle.
I liked the original Camaro because it was a stylish blend of well-sculpted bodylines with curves in all of the right places. The hidden headlights and race stripe around the front fenders of the car were options that took the car to an even higher level of cool for me as a very young admirer.
Tune in, drop out
With Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale over, aging hairy-chested executives are now returning to McMansions all across America, short seven figures but up one or two muscle cars. Yes, there were some big sales this year, like the Batmobile that went for $4.6 million even though it’s based on a Lincoln and doesn’t have any rocket launchers. But this Barrett-Jackson summary is for all the car geeks out there, highlighting a few less publicized sales that still managed to raise my eyebrows as I sat on my couch watching the results and eating donuts.
I will admit that I am a Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction fanboi. I spent last week in Detroit during the NAIAS, and thus had to skip my annual trip to Scottsdale, Arizona for their auction extravaganza, one of the greatest automotive events in this country. However, amidst all the breathless reporting about Barrett-Jackson selling the original Batmobile for $4.6M, you might have missed the story of a rare fail by the auction giant.
Reporters gasped at the $160,000 a hand-built custom Ford Mustang went for at the auction in Scottsdale. The same reporter nearly had a heart attack over the $4.2 million a rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing fetched ( it could have been $4.62 million, accounts by the same reporter differ.)
The media missed the sensation of the day: An oil burning six year old Jetta sold for $35,000.
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