Friday, January 17, 2014


Scenes From the 2014 Barrett Jackson Scottsdale

While the rest of the nation suffers from the Polar Vortex, we in the Valley-of-the-Sun bask in blue skies and days of perfect 74° F.

And, along with warm days, every January our azure skies fill with private jets delivering America's 1% for their annual automotive shopping spree.

In anticipation of their arrival our poshest resorts quietly hike up their room rates and our best restaurants see wait times edging towards forever.

And while the bidders drink beer and ogle the amazing cars their spouses visit our best shopping malls. And no one spends more freely than a spouse who was summarily dumped at Saks or Nieman Marcus.

2014's Arizona collector car auction season had a pretty amazing lineup. And by weeks end nearly $240,000,000 in collector cars changed hands.

The Gooding Auction:
Gooding took up residence at the Scottsdale Fashion Square. Gooding loves Ferrari's and this year they sold a 1956 Ferrari 410 Superamerica SI Coupe for $3.3 M, a 1997 McLaren F1 GTR for $5.28 M and a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet for $6.16 M

Russo and Steele:
Russo and Steele pitches a seres of huge white tents along the SR 101 freeway. From this locale they sold around 700 collector cars.

Over at the stately Arizona Biltmore RM auctioned off some prized rolling stock. This is the auction that in 2013 sold a Ferrari for $8.14 M. This year they sold a 1961 Porsche 718 RS Spyder for $2.75 M and a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California LWB Spyder that blew through last years record (selling for $8.8 M). Looks like we'll soon see sales approaching $10 M!

The British auction house Bonham's conducted it's auction at the tony Westin Kierland. It sold a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Coupe for $2.64 M. They also sold an exquisite 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport for $3.08 M and a 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Coupe for $3.19 M.

The Silver Auction takes up residence in Fountain Hills. It sells "modest" collector cars. No records to be set here.

Barrett Jackson:
And while all of the above auctions were dropping gavels, the "Barrett Jackson" (which takes place at Scottsdale's Westworld), remained the largest single collector car auction. Westworld (yes, it is the exact same name as that old Sci Fi movie) is the event center Scottsdale set up to host its annual Arabian horse show. And, while the horse shows are in decline, the annual car auction just gets bigger each year.

Again this year I visited the auction mid-week. Call me cheap, but I feel the $45 weekend admission rate is absurd.

My usual routine changed this year as the whole venue site has been reconfigured. The main improvement is a big new permanent auction building. The permanent building is flanked by a series of tents attached (including the huge old auction tent - which now shelters the bulk of the high dollar "Salon" Collection).

1936 Packard 120 Convertible Sedan
Viewing into the Smaller Section of the Salon Collection Tent
No Reserve: Sold for $104,500

Ford still owned the front door with its noisy dragster challenge and they still presented high quality free T-shirts to anyone who registered on their computer network. There were fewer new car "dealers" this year (no Rolls or Bentley's). But there were the usual Aston Martin and McLaren's all were surrounded by the usual kitsch.

There were venders selling scary looking knives, restored slot machines, bright old neon signs, trips to Canadian fishing lodges, classic car insurance and, my favorite, the larger than life buffalo and Jesus on-the-cross made entirely from square nails.

To the mix, throw in tons of jewelry and clothing (so burdened with sparkly crap that it must have killed many a glue gun) and some overstuffed fat-boy electric massage chairs and you have the picture.

After clearing through the "acres-o-kitsch", we arrived at the new auction hall. Here the flanking tents form an "L' and with the balance of the big tents housing the gorgeous salon cars, a few glossy wooden boats and, this year, a pristine 1922 Spillman antique carousel!

After touring the main tents I drifted outside and discovered that the 6-7 open sided tents had also been moved. They are now all located conveniently up the hill.

Residing in all these tents stacked 4 deep were the cars we (mere mortals) remember from our youth.

After about two hours I stopped for a big carton of "Island Noodles" (an annual stop for me).

This year the Barrett-Jackson's biggest sales were both corvettes. A 1969 Corvette for $2.68 M and a 1967 Corvette L88 for $3.85M.

Anyway, enjoy some photos!

A 1929 Duesenberg Dual Cowl Phaeton
(Met Reserve: Sold for $1,430,000)

A 1961 23 Window Volkswagen "Walk-Thru" VW Bus
Included the Following Options: A Horn, Back-up Lights and Front Seat Belts
No Reserve: Sold for $148,500 

The 1954 Plymouth Belmont Concept Car
An Exner Car - Only One Ever Produced
Met Reserve: Sold for $1,320,000 

Lalique Crystal Hood Ornament 
1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster
No Reserve: Sold for $484,000

1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Kellner Salamanca
No Reserve: Sold for $440,000

The 1955 Messerschmitt KR200
Set International Speed Records and Delivers 85 MPG
No Reserve: Sold for $55,000

1950 Crosley Hot Shot Convertible
No Reserve: Sold for $26,400

Custom Roadster
HEMI Powered Roadster Built From the Wing Tip From a Lockheed Super Constellation
No Reserve: Sold for $110,000

Hood Art 1941 Packard Super 8 Touring Limousine
No Reserve: Sold for $60,500

Hood Art 1919 La Bestioni Torpedo Roadster

The 1919 La Bestioni
No Reserve: Sold for $99,000

We finished up by watching a few "Wednesday" cars go under the gavel. We saw a couple of 70's era Corvettes, a Plymouth Prowler and an AMC AMX sell. The AMC sold for $55,000! Go Figure.

For Roadboy's photos from 2010, 2012 and 2013 (I didn't post for 2011) Click Here:

See you next year Scottsdale!

Roadboy's Travels © 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Signs and Everyday Art

Like Steam On A Mirror

Wherever mankind travels we leave telltale marks behind. The marks can be anything from ruts left by Conestoga wagons bringing pioneers west to cave paintings or stone petroglyphs.

Some of our marks are instructional like signage. Some marks are temporary like the finger drawings we make on a steamy mirror or the sandcastles we build on a beach.

A big part of my travel experience is the (almost unconscious) absorption of everyday art and signage I encounter along the way. The problem is that we can become inured to it. So much so that we frequently don't even "see" it anymore.

So this blog post is dedicated to examples of the art and signage I've encountered while traveling. Some made me laugh. Some (like the tags painted on historic buildings) made my heart ache.

A lot of it made me stop and think.

I'll admit that some made me break down and cry.

There are times I now kick myself for not stopping and snapping photographs.

Such was the case a few years back when I saw a big two-sided sign in rural North Carolina. On one side it proclaimed boldly "Jesus Rocks!". Then as I drove past in my rear view mirror I saw that the back of the sign just as loudly shouted "Satan Sucks!".

I ask you, who could not be impressed by the intellectual, yet direct, tenor of such a message? 

So in no particular order.....  

Cocktail Attire - Melrose Style 
"T-Shirts Are Permitted With Jacket"
(Los Angeles CA)

Indeed it Does
(North Aurora, IL)

A Particularly Good Paste Up

Simple, Direct, Honest

Serious Sidewalk Chalk Art 


Utility Art 
(Kamakura Japan)

Utility Art

Utility Art
(Ueno Park, Tokyo)

"Got Your Nose" A Face on The Wall

"I Hate War"
FDR Memorial
(Washington DC)

The Murrah Building
Team 5 Graffiti
(Oklahoma City) 

Light Standard
(Salt Lake City, UT)

Life Takes Time
(Savannah, GA)

(Valley of Fire, NV)

Aviation Reflection 
(Turnagain Arm, Alaska)

Restaurant Mural
Per James Joyce
(Restaurant Baltimore, MD)

And I'm Still Here

A Wall Tribute to the Comic Artist
(In Angouleme France - Home of the International Comic Arts Festival)

Bari Gotic Wall Stencil
(Barcelona, Catalonia)

Wall Art

LBJ Library and Gardens
(Austin TX)

Burn The Rich
(Vienna, Austria)

informational Sign 
"How to Wash Your Buttocks"

The Last Sign We Leave
The Ghiradelli Crypt 
(Mountain View Cemetery Oakland, CA)

So Do I! 

Sign: How to Feed The Deer
(Nara, Japan)

Santa Barbara County Courthouse
(Santa Babara, CA) 

Child Stencil

Love Me
(Los Angeles)                                            

Just some of the marks we leave.

Roadboy's Travels © 2014