Sunday, January 25, 2015


The 2015 Arizona Collector Car Auction Roundup

January in Phoenix is usually a magic time. The weather is comfortable and the skies are azure. The snowbirds are back so the roads have become even more hazardous. The golf courses are green and greens fees are approaching interstellar. And our citrus trees are full of oranges and grapefruit.

It is also the time when the big collector car auctions return and when locals pull the sunbrella covers off of their prized rolling stock and go cruising.

The car auctions also just seem to get bigger each year. The volume of exceptional cars filling the tents at the RM, Gooding, Barrett Jackson, Bonham and Russo and Steele auctions was amazing and the prices they fetched prove it.

This year set new records for high dollar car sales. This was another Ferrari year. Of the 42 vehicles selling for more than $1,000,000, sixteen were Ferrari's. Two Ferrari's flirted netted $9.6 and $9.4 M respectively. In fact, these top transactions alone accounted for $101,757,000 in sales

The top sales in order:

This year RM topped the list in sales of high dollar cars. In fact they sold over $40 M in million dollar plus cars. This year they sold a 64 Ferrari 250 LM by Scaglietti for $9.6 M blowing through last years record sale at $8.8 for a 56 Ferrari GT California LWB at $8.8 M. In fact, RM alone sold over $29 M just in Ferrari's. They rounded out their sales with a bunch of Mercedes Benz 300SL's and a couple of Porsches. All of RM's top sales were European.

Next Came

The Gooding Auction:
The Gooding Auction sold over $27 M in high dollar cars. Of those cars $17.7 M was just Ferrari. They sold a 59 250 GT California Spider for $7.7 M and a 62 400 Superamerica for $4 M. Of the 11 cars that Gooding's sold for over $1 M Only one was American (a 64 Shelby).

Followed by

The Barrett Jackson:
Barrett Jackson netted about $19.9 M in the million dollar club. Unlike RM and Goodings, The top dollar cars at the Barrett Jackson were American. They sold a 66 Shelby Cobra for $5.1 M and re-sold Harley Earl's 1950 GM Futureliner (Bus from the Pratte Collection) for $4,000,000.  Mr Pratte donated the proceeds from the Futureliner sale to charity). Pratte's 54 Sleek Bonneville concept car went for $3.3 M.


Bonham's had $13,1 in high dollar cars with their top car being a 66 Ferrari 275 GTB which sold for $9.4 M.

And finally

Russo and Steele:
Russo and Steele had only one car in the million dollar club. It was a 57 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster that sold for $1.4 M.

A Day at the Barrett Jackson
For pure theater you can't beat the Barrett Jackson. The shear number of cars they sell coupled with its unsurpassed people watching opportunities make it my favorite. Being Scottsdale, the BJ is always  filled with the usual parade of scary plastic surgery augmented "Barbie meets Vampira" clones walking around in their surgically installed skinny pants. To the uninitiated Scottsdale is kind of where Stepford meets the desert.

Here are some of my snaps,,,

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Motorama Concept
Sold for $3,300,000

1949 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport by Franay
Sold for $1,650,000

1935 Duesenberg Dual Cowl Phaeton
Did Not Meet Reserve

I Love Hood Art
This One is A Packard

Here is One is From a 1932 Plymouth 2 Door Coupe

And This One is From a 1926 Franklin

1925 Rolls Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Riviera Town Car
Did Not Meet Reserve

1957 Ford Skyliner Retractable
Sold for $110,000

There were some new cars from Ford and Lincoln on display (which demonstrated how wonderful both lines are getting). And there was also the usual kitsch for sale.  If you ever need and old gas pump, slot machine, neon sign or autographed photo of Sylvester Stallone, you know where to come.

And, as always, despite Arizona's ban on smoking in public places, there is always the pervasive cigar smoke in the air (usually attached to fat guys with gold chains). The cigar smoke masks the smells from the stands selling every conceivable cardiac arrest food ever conceived.  

Gotta love it.

We finished up by watching a few "Thursday" cars go under the gavel. 

For Roadboy's photos from 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014 (I didn't post for 2011) Click Here:

See you next year in Scottsdale!

Roadboy's Travels © 2015

Friday, January 9, 2015

Je Suis Charlie!

Francois-Marie Arouet - Voltaire

Gunfire employed to silence free expression anywhere, awakens its defenders everywhere. For now, we are all Parisians.

Roadboy's Travels © 2015

*Sculptor: John Antoine Houdon
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Sunday, January 4, 2015

So Cal Holiday Theme Park Nightmares

The Hunger Games

As a result of the serious (Criminal?) overcrowding at Disney we later came to find out that the days we were at the park coincided with a serious outbreak of measles.

And a few weeks after hosting conditions that enabled a health emergency to develop Disney responded by raising daily ticket prices.  I'm old enough to remember "E" tickets, so the current 1 day park hopper ticket price of $139 is breathtaking. I still love the place, but greed is greed.   

Southern California's theme parks are beautifully turned out from Thanksgiving to New Years. The decorations and holiday spirit are wonderful. In years past everyone used to comment about how uncrowded Disneyland was on Christmas Day. A couple of years back we spent Thanksgiving at California Adventure (the Thanksgiving dinner at The Vineyard restaurant was delicious). This year we decided to celebrate New Years at Universal Studios and Disneyland.

So did pretty much everyone else in Los Angeles. 

The reality is nowadays Disney sells so many Southern California resident annual passes and multi-day park-hopper tickets that any day surrounding a major holiday (where children are out of school) is guaranteed to be a complete nightmare. And, this year, Universal has most of the upper park closed while they add their new Harry Potter attractions, so it is excruciatingly crowded on holidays as well.

We knew we were in trouble a week or so earlier when reports surfaced of crowds so big at Disneyland on Christmas Day that they had to temporarily close entry portals for safety reasons.

We arrived at 10:00 am only to find parking garages that were already nearing capacity. Staff got behind shifting cones leaving cars trapped on already full floors. This forced platoons of cars to exit and re-enter garages starting the hunt all over.

At the park entrance the ticket lines were epic. We had a 90 minute wait at the "expedited" wireless ticket booths.

With tix we entered, met our friends and proceeded to the Studio Tour which was posting 85 minute waits.

Everywhere we found total pedestrian gridlock. We quickly realized our day at Universal was a total loss. IMHO Universal had created a potentially dangerous condition. If anything ever incites crowd panic, the rush to escape will result in serious injuries.

Since, our hard won tickets allow us to return throughout 2015, after one ride we left. We went on to have a great day (and big plate of La Korea's delicious Kalbi ribs) at the Farmer's Market.

Fun?! At Universal

On New Years Day when we arrived at the "Mickey and Friends" parking structure we were among the last guests to park on the roof. 

This is a 3.8 million square foot garage that efficiently parks 10,225 cars on six decks (each deck being 14.5 acres).  In other words each deck is the size of 14 NFL football fields. So, when you arrive, if you get parked on the roof, accept the fact that your day is gonna be screwed.

Once in the park we found cast members engaged in heroic crowd control measures using ropes and directional batons. Fast passes for the day gone before we entered and wait times for all major attraction ran at least 85 minutes.

Since we've been to Disneyland dozens times over the years we enjoy just being there (even if we don't actually get on any rides). So we shopped, watched the holiday parades and enjoyed dinner at California Adventure's Carthay Circle restaurant (using reservations we made weeks in advance). The dinner included priority viewing for the amazing World of Color water show.

Waiting for the World Of Color

If I ever even suggest a visit to a Southern California theme park on any day other than mid-week in the off season....

Just shoot me!

Roadway's Travels © 2015