Visit to the 2017 Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction
Odometer (Legend): 550,387
Odometer (ILX): 190,802
“You barely put a dent in that.”
That’s not a comment anyone wants to hear when they’re walking past an $800,000 supercar like music legend Steven Tyler’s Hennessey Venom, or a 1 of 1 Pontiac Kammback Trans Am, or a showroom fresh 47-year-old Chevy pickup with 400 original miles on it.
Fortunately, my friend Chris wasn’t talking about denting a car. He was talking about putting a dent in this gigantic footlong jalapeño & cheddar sausage I picked up from one of the vendors at Saturday’s 46th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.
You’ve never quite seen an automotive buffet like the one in Scottsdale, Arizona this past week. Over an 8-day period, some 1,700 collector cars found new homes in one of the best-known and widely-viewed auctions in the country. For anyone with a hankering for a slice or two of literature and automobilia, that’s on the menu too. Since 1989, Scottsdale’s venue for the Barrett-Jackson auction has been Westworld, not far from my home. My friend Chris flew in from Baltimore to see what all the sights, sounds, and tastes had to offer. We didn’t go home hungry.
Chris and I attended the auction on Saturday morning. Weather in the Phoenix area had finally broken from a 4-day stretch of rain – much to the relief, I’m sure, of the many people who had their prized, gleaming garage queens out in Westworld’s staging areas for display prior to being auctioned. The ILX got stashed several miles away in the offsite parking lot and we caught a shuttle bus to the epicenter of activity.
It was a star-studded afternoon: Justin Bieber (Ferrari 458), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Chevelle), and Burt Reynolds (Trans Am) each took the mic at different times during the day to hawk their rides. Chris and I made the rounds in both the interior and exterior staging areas. High-dollar “Salon” cars had premium parking in the enclosed areas nearest the auction block. Other cars – not quite as elite but still well out of my price range – resided in the external grounds shaded by tents.
There didn’t seem to be much rhyme nor reason as to how the parking was arranged. It wasn’t uncommon to see a Volkswagen Beetle parked next to a Hummer, parked next to a 1962 Chrysler. But that’s what kept it interesting. There was something for everyone. And new this year, there was a live video stream on B-J’s website so that the “auction action” could be viewed by car enthusiasts both near and far. In all, the week+ long festivities wrapped up with $102 million in sales, with the auction being attended by 320,000 people in person.
Now the automotive buffet got even more interesting. My friend Jonathan Klinger from Hagerty called and offered a couple of tickets to skybox #11 in the auction hall – an exclusive opportunity to rub shoulders with the cast & crew from Velocity TV channel. Not to mention, snacks and drinks were on the house, and the view from high above the show floor couldn’t have been better. I’ve now been spoiled with skybox access twice, since last year I attended in Acura’s skybox when the 2017 NSX VIN 001 was auctioned off for $1.2 million.
Barrett-Jackson truly was a feast for all the senses. Now if only I could have brought home some take-out. In the form of a shiny new toy, of course. Many thanks to the organizers of Barrett-Jackson for admitting me with a media credential this year!
Here’s a short video I captured of Bieber’s Ferrari on stage with a few of his comments at the end.
Bus ride from the “offsite purple lot” where we’d parked the ILX, several miles away.
This NSX used to be Berlina Black. It’s a custom build by Clarion car audio.
The “Salon” area, including Justin Bieber’s matte-blue-wrapped Ferrari in the foreground.
This 1958 Chevy Corvette was named “Eye Candy.”
30-year-old Buick GNX with only 1,524 miles on it.
I always think of Skittles candy when I see a color like this McLaren was wearing.
“Breathing New Life Into a Legend”
Loved this “barn find” Shelby Cobra GT 350. They didn’t even run it through the coin-op wash!
The “tri-five” (55, 56, 57) Chevy Bel Airs are always a hit.
I loved the design on the dashboard of this 1962 Chrysler Imperial.
Only 246 miles on this Pontiac! Talk about fresh.
Quick meet-up with RealTime racing legend Peter Cunningham.
This pair of 1970 Chevy pickups came from a barn in Alberta, Canada. Each one has fewer than 1,000 miles on it.
What’s not to love about a bright red 1990 Lotus Esprit?
Outside tent area with vendors and more cars
Sing it with me. “Apple bottom jeans….”
Custom car builder Dave Kindig in the background at the Velocity TV skybox.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. on stage talking about his Chevelle.
“Chasing Classic Cars” host Wayne Carini.
Thanks for coming along!