Last year’s auction week in Scottsdale, Ariz., marked another watershed moment in the collector vehicle hobby. While 2005 sales numbers were enough to shock even the most seasoned collector, 2006 seemed to be the most appropriate representation of a new era in car collecting.
As prices climb to astronomical levels, so does interest from the mainstream media. The last few years have seen car culture injected into pop culture to a degree not seen in years. The Arizona auctions are a huge part of the recent public interest in the car hobby. Whether an ardent hobbyist or not, watching a car that your mother, father or maybe you once owned sell on television for a record price is good, clean fun.
What can we expect in 2007? Well, in all likelihood, we can throw out last year’s records for sales, attendance and high-prices. As the eyes of the collector car hobby focus on south-central Arizona, Hagerty offers this guide to what promises to be another exciting week.
The largest ring in the auction week’s five-ring circus, Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale event is likely the world’s best-known and largest car auction.
Craig Jackson knows his audience, and he knows that when trying to recapture the glory of their youth in a vintage car, they probably aren’t listening to Young Jeezy on the radio. No, the boomers spending the big money at Barrett-Jackson are more likely to carry the torch of rock and roll’s departed greats than to embrace the sound of a new generation. That’s why this year’s auction will feature memorabilia from the glory days of rock ’n’ roll in addition to the rolling iron from the glory days of the automobile.
As usual, this auction will bring the great cars to the block with a heavy emphasis on American muscle. However, with around 1,200 cars, there’s something for every taste. There are even a few bargains to be had among cars that sell at off-peak hours.
With 40 hours of live coverage on the Speed Channel, Barrett-Jackson will once again be beamed into living rooms from East Coast to West Coast. This coverage is a big reason why non-hobbyists are standing up and taking notice of our collectible car lifestyle and why many of them are joining us at car shows and swap meets. Grab a comfortable seat and watch the madness; it’s a heck of a show. For a list of vehicles up for auction, visit www.barrett-jackson.com.
Cars to Watch
The “last” 1967 C-2 Corvette
Carroll Shelby’s 1966 Cobra Supersnake
1971 Hemi ‘Cuda hard-top
2. RUSSO & STEELE
Barrett-Jackson takes place in a carnival atmosphere where Russo and Steele is more like a nightclub for car guys. Club-goers will be going after aging American and European models that are anything but a cheap date.
A field of 500 cars will be up for bid in four days of auction action at Russo and Steele. Loud music and lights are ubiquitous, as auctioneers work to inspire buyers to drop big money on everything from hot-rods to vintage European racecars. To find out more, go to www.russoandsteele.com.
Cars to Watch
Gus Grissom Corvette
1970 Lamborghini Muira S
1965 Shelby Daytona Coupe 427
3. RM AUCTION
Phoenix’s luxurious Biltmore Resort was designed and built by one of America’s most respected and influential designers, Frank Lloyd Wright. On January 18–19 it will play host to the work of great designers like Harley Earl and Count Albrecht Goertz, when RM Auctions brings a wide variety of fine automobiles up for bid. The 100-car field will consist of only the very finest, so this one is certainly worth a look even if you’re not bidding.
This auction is a good deal more relaxed than the others and allows bidders and auction fans an oft-needed change of pace. Check out the consignments at www.rmauctions.com.
Cars to Watch
1903 Ford Model A, “The Oldest Ford in the World”
1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Tourer
1971 Hemi ‘Cuda convertible
4. SILVER AUCTION
A great place for car guys, Silver’s events are relaxed and fun.
With all the astronomical prices that this auction week is known for, Silver Auction’s event is among the best place to find a reasonably priced car. The atmosphere is relaxed and nowhere near as intimidating as the scene in a few of the other auction houses.
Silver also boasts what is arguably the greatest variety of cars from different eras including some that are arguably “not-yet-collectible.” See what’s being offered at www.silverauctions.com.
Cars to Watch
1936 Pierce Arrow
1963 Chevy Impala SS
5. KRUSE INTERNATIONAL
For 36 years, Kruse has been a staple on the Scottsdale auction scene.
Kruse’s auction begins in the aftermath of what is always a wild week. The fact that this auction is the very last one creates an atmosphere in which sellers are more willing than ever to part with their vehicles rather than trailer them home.
Offerings range from the classy to the truly wacky, with prices for every budget. Kruse sold well over $5 million in cars last year but with 515 cars at auction, there were some definite deals to be had. For more details on what’s on the block, visit www.kruseinternational.com.
Cars to Watch
1953 Studebaker Regal C5 coupe
1935 Auburn Supercharged Phaeton
Keep an eye peeled for our Barrett-Jackson mini website, going LIVE on Sunday, Jan. 14! We’ll have podcasts and blogs with updated daily happenings on the auction grounds, Hagerty’s full list of cars to watch, fantasy bidding through Speed Channel and our infamous Block Shot photo gallery – photos of every car crossing the auction block. Visit www.hagerty.com/barrett and remember to visit for daily updates starting next Tuesday!