Sunday, February 7, 2016


Roadboy's 2016 Arizona Collector Car Auction Roundup

It takes a lot to get me to go to Scottsdale.

Frankly, I've just never really much liked the place. Perhaps its the fact they can't get left turn signals to come up in the correct order. Maybe its because they call a wide spot in an irrigation canal a "waterfront".

But once each year in January I spend a glorious day walking all over Scottsdale's Westworld enjoying the Barrett Jackson Collector Car Auction.

I love the auction. The cars on display are always amazing, the people watching is equally fun and there is lots of suitably greasy and calorific comfort food to be had.

I also kind of like how each year's auction develops its own unique persona; one that mirrors society.

While buyers and sellers run the gamut of ages and socioeconomic strata, a whole bunch of the buyers are guys reaching a tender age when kids are out of college and midsections and checking accounts are both expanding. A time when dreams wistfully turn to reclaiming a bit of their youth.

And, while no amount of money will allow the repurchase of youth, some come to bid on the cars they lusted after when they were young. Hence, the trend line of what is popular (and fetching big bucks) morphs a little each year. The last few years have seen amazing prices for corvettes, mustangs and muscle cars from the 70's and 80's.

This year the Barrett Jackson alone sold 1469 automobiles. That's a car sold about every 3-5 minutes for 6 straight days.

And that is just one of the five collector car events taking place in the valley at the same time as the Barrett Jackson.

The Barrett Jackson At Scottsdale's Westworld

Personally, my love is the one of a kind cars: old Packards, MG's, Deusenberg's, Delahaye's, Jaguar's and Cords.

I also believe these auctions mirror the overall economy. All you need do is compare the sales of high value cars from year to year (i.e. how many cars each year pass the $1,000,000 mark). This year high dollar transactions declined a bit yet still accounted for $101,757,000 in sales.

Perhaps the decline in high dollar sales in is just due to competition from all of the other auctions that have sprung up over the past decade.

Here's Roadboy's rundown of big $$ sales.

Once again this year Sotheby's (RM) at the Arizona Biltmore garnered the most high dollar sales ($35M worth of $1M plus cars). While still a lot of money, it is $5M dollars less than last year. One of RM's cars flirted with a price of $10,000,000 (a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster that sold for a breathtaking $9,900,000).

The breakdown for million dollar babies was:

Sotheby's RM 18 cars = $35,635,000
Gooding's 8 cars = $21,287,000
Bonham's 6 cars = $8,742,000
Barrett Jackson 3 cars = $4,445,000
Russo and Steele = no million dollar cars this year.

2016 was another year dominated by Ferrari.  Of the 35 vehicles selling for more than $1,000,000, twelve were Ferrari's followed by Mercedes Benz with 6 MB's selling over the million dollar mark.

Here are my snaps...

My First Stop is The "Salon" Collection
1925 Renault 40 CV
Did Not Meet Reserve

Stunning Hood Art 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A
Did Not Meet Reserve

1950 Ferrari 195 S Inter Superleggera
Did Not Meet Reserve
 VIN #001 2017 Acura NSX
Sold for $1.2 Million
(All to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground)

1948 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Custom Woody Convertible
With "Tag Along" Trailer
Sold for $89,100

1960 Chevrolet Impala Convertible
Final Gavel Drop at $121,000

The Bidding Hall

There were also some beautiful boats, motorcycles and new cars on display.

And, of course, there was the usual kitsch: big Japanese massage chairs, fishing trips to Alaska and the "art" that the gold chain and boob job crowd appreciates.

We finished the day watching a few "Thursday" cars go under the gavel (including the 1960 Impala). This car brought back memories for me as my dad owned a beautiful black and white '61 Impala hardtop. It had a huge back window and as a kid, during our annual summer cross country road trips, I could lean back and at night and survey the heavens from the back seat.

With the trend of more and more of today's Millennial's opting to avoid driving (many not even bothering to get licenses to drive) I have to wonder what the long term future holds for events like this.

For Roadboy's photos from 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 (I didn't post for 2011) Click Here:

See you next year in Scottsdale!

Roadboy's Travels © 2016

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