Saturday, January 19, 2013


Scenes From the 2013 Barrett Jackson

Like the annual return of the swallows to Capistrano each January petrol-heads from all over the world arrive by car, commercial airline and private jet by the thousands to Arizona. They come to experience Arizona's five collector car auctions.

They know there will be glorious cars at Gooding & Co., Russo and Steele, R&M, Bonhams and the big kahuna, the Barrett Jackson. 

This year Ferrari's drew the record bids. The highest being gaveled at Gooding & Co for a 1958 250 GT California Spider fetching $8.25 Million. Right behind it at the RM Arizona Biltmore Auction a 1960 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione commanded $8.14 Million.

For me however I love the "event" of the Barrett Jackson Auction. In fact, it is the only event each year that can lure me to North Scottsdale.

For the uninitiated North Scottsdale unofficially serves as Arizona's color coordinated containment area for self indulgent golf enthusaists and their surgically augmented third wives. They all live comfortably in supersized pink McMansions in uber secure walled desert enclaves.

Yeah, I'm petty. It's my blog. Get over it.

In years past I've always gone on "High Dollar" Saturday (when the best of the best are gaveled over to new owners.) This year I broke tradition, took a vacation day, and went on a tuesday. I found Tuesday to be pleasantly crowded, but not overcrowded. It was also much less expensive than Saturday.

My visit is always pretty methodical. I start in the kitsch tent where I laugh at the "I have no taste" booths selling old slot machines, huge massage chairs, arctic fishing trips, garish jewelry, scary ninja knives, some hideous clothing, and (my soft spot) restored neon gas station signs and antique gas pumps.

I then move on to the west side of the main hall to gawk at the Salon cars (the rarest cars expected to draw the highest bids.) After that I spend most of the day wandering through the six or seven huge (down the hill) tents admiring all of the various cars, scooters, and boats.

One of the Many Staging Tents

Along the way I stop and select a highly caloric (and exquisitely satisfying) lunch.

About 4 pm I make my way back to the auction hall and witness the rarest and most amazing rolling history in the world as it moves across the auction block.

The Auction Tent

Bid runners in suits and ties run up and down the aisles on the floor, on stage, and in the sky boxes to assist (and cajole) bidders in their quest to buy a car. Traditionally Saturday from 4-7 PM is when the finest cars pass the auctioneer at the rate of 5 minutes each.

This year Fatty Arbuckles 1919 Pierce Arrow, Clark Gable's gullwing Benz 300SL, the original Batmobile, Virgil Exner's Chrysler/Ghia Diablo concept car (an inspiration for the soon to be designed Jaguar E-Type/XKE?), and a truly magnificent Delahaye filled the Salon tent.

Sadly, there were also the usual (and hopelssly boring) 70's era muscle cars...... Yawn!

Enough with my blah, blah. Here's some pictures.

Some of This Years Neon

The 1949 Delahaye
(Sold for $1,210,000)

The 1955 Chrysler / Ghia Diablo Concept Car 
(Sold for $1,375,000)

Fatty Arbuckle's 1919 Pierce Arrow
The Most Expensive Auto in the World at That Time
High Bid Was $1,100,000
Unsold - Reserve Was Not Met

Exhaust Detail 1955 Hudson Italia
(Sold for $396,000)

George Barris' Orignal Batmobile
(Sold for $4,620,000)

Clark Gable's 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing
(Sold for $2,035,000) 

The 1967 Scooby Doo VW 21 Window Custom Bus
(Sold for $110,000)

The 1939 Bentley Royale Custom
Sporting a Lalique Crystal Hood Ornament 
(Sold for $374,000)

I Love Hood Ornaments 
(Sorry Can't Remember What This One Belonged To)

The Elegant LaSalle Hood Ornament

Randy Grubb's "Decopod" Art Scooter
(Sold for $25,300)

For Roadboy's photos from 2010 and 2012 (I didn't post for 2011):

2013 was a truly wonderful year at "The Auction".

Roadboy's Travels © 2013


No comments: