Auction Recap: Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2024
The original and by far the biggest of the Arizona Auction Week sales, Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2024 concluded with over $200M in total sales. This was a record total, and Barrett-Jackson claimed a record number of bidders in attendance, as well as more than $1M raised for charity.
Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale has been going since the 1970s, but in the 1990s, it became the first collector-car auction to get widespread attention via TV broadcast. For many car folks, your author included, watching Scottsdale in the living room was a first glimpse into the auction world.
In more recent years, the sprawling vendor area at Westworld, which offers everything from 10 a.m. beers and automotive art to guided fishing trips and tattoos (yes, the real kind) has made Scottsdale into an annual destination for thousands of people, many of whom have no intention of buying or even bidding on a car. "Automotive lifestyle event," sounds a bit corny, but it's an apt description. Scottsdale is like spring break for boomers.
For many, it's also the only show in town. There were four auctions in and around Scottsdale this year, but not everybody knows it. Uber drivers, the folks at the hotel, and numerous locals I talked to knew all about Barrett-Jackson. They'd never even heard of the other sales.
Recent years have also seen Barrett-Jackson further embracing restomods and customs. The number of restomods on the consignment list grows every year, but the number of extensively modified classics was particularly striking in 2024. There were numerous rare, interesting, and significant classics, however, that had been mercifully left alone. Some of them are examined in detail below.
Lot 416: 1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser
Sold for $49,500
Chassis no. 338656Z118827. Modified restoration, #2- condition
Blue over two-tone blue vinyl
Equipment: 330-cubic-inch V-8, column-shift automatic, Rally wheels, red-line tires, roof rack, custom 2.5-inch exhaust, upgraded suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, R134 air conditioning, power seat, power rear window, three-row seating
Condition: Lots of good upgrades and reportedly 100 miles since its professional restoration. Lovely paint and chrome. Light scratches in the side glass. Delaminating roof windows. Small chips in the front left quarter window. Beautiful wheels and tires. Very clean and fully redone underneath. Very good newer upholstery but original dash and gauges. A really neat Olds wagon.
Bottom line: The first-generation Vista Cruiser debuted in 1964, wearing sheetmetal from the A-body F-85 but riding on a longer wheelbase. Extra headroom and an elevated roof inset with smoked glass panels at the front and sides allowed rear passengers maximum enjoyment of the view (or vista) on a family road trip. If ever there were a practical classic car, it's this tastefully upgraded and improved Vista Cruiser. The Scottsdale bidders certainly saw the charm and usability in it as well as the generally sound condition, and bid it to a strong but rational price.
Lot 409: 1989 Toyota MR2
Sold for $51,700
Chassis no. JT2AW16J6K0157097. Original, #2- condition
Gray over black cloth
Equipment: 1587-cubic-centimeter 145-hp supercharged I-4, five-speed manual transmission, alloy wheels, Cooper tires, T-tops, factory cassette, mud flaps
Condition: Showing 19,295 believable miles, although there’s a mileage inconsistency on the CARFAX. Reportedly owned new by a Toyota executive. There are some chips on the nose but the rest of the paint finish looks great for its age. T-tops are clean and fit tightly with new-looking rubber. Most of the exterior trim looks good other than a crack in the plastic trim on the rear and lightly faded window frames. Clean, like-new interior. Considering the state of most early MR2s, this one is a cream puff.
Bottom line: It wasn't just muscle cars and restomodded trucks bringing the big money in Scottsdale. This doorstop-shaped Toyota may be little, but its stock condition and remarkably low miles made a big impression. We've only seen one first-gen (W10) MR2 sell higher, and that car only brought slightly more at $53,550.
Lot 774: 1994 Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Sold for $57,200
Chassis no. 1GCEK14K5RZ230966. Original, #2 condition
Teal Green Metallic over gray cloth
Equipment: 350-cubic-inch, 200-hp V-8, automatic transmission, cast aluminum wheels, factory bed liner, towing equipment, transmission cooler, factory cassette, original window sticker
Condition: 2166 miles and mint.
Bottom line: We're used to 1990s GM pickups being cheap, and that's realistic. Especially in the not-very-rusty parts of the U.S., there are still a ton of them out there on work-truck duty. They're also in that gray area between "used" and "classic," but they are old enough for people to feel nostalgic and this Silverado in its oh-so-'90s teal is as close to a factory fresh example as you're likely to find anywhere. That it has been carefully used rather than worn out by a contractor is the sole reason it sold for this much, which is well over twice the original price listed on its 30-year-old window sticker.
Lot 350: 1978 Ford Fairmont Futura
Sold for $37,400
Chassis no. 8E93T129415. Unrestored original, #2- condition
Creme over Creme vinyl and gold cloth
Equipment: Automatic transmission, wire wheel covers, bench seat, column shift, original radio
Condition: There are some scratches and blemishes here and there, but this is probably the world’s nicest '78 Fairmont, and it shows just 3572 miles. It’s also probably the most significant '78 Fairmont, since it is officially the 100,000,000th vehicle built by the Ford Motor Company. That’s a big milestone although not one many people remember, and it’s where the majority of interest and value exists for this car.
Bottom line: Without its build number, a two-tone beige '78 Ford Fairmont would have been by far the most boring vehicle anywhere on the grounds at WestWorld this year, and that includes the food trucks. But sometimes a simple date, an event or a number can make up the majority of an otherwise unremarkable car's value, and here is a prime example of that.
Lot 1421.1: 1987 Buick GNX
Sold for $231,000
Chassis no. 1G4GJ1170HP449920. Unrestored original, #3 condition
Black over black and gray cloth
Equipment: 231-cubic-inch, 276-hp V-6, automatic transmission, Goodyear Eagle VR50 tires, theft warning system
Condition: One of 547 examples of the GNX, the ultimate-spec, Corvette-beating version of the Regal Grand National. This one shows just 282 miles and still has the plastic on the seats, but it's not the mothballed, showroom-fresh wrapper car that the odometer reading might suggest. Quite the opposite, in fact. It has reportedly been parked since 1988 and is presented as such. It's covered in dust, and there is discolored and cracked plastic at both bumpers. Barrett-Jackson put ropes around it, possibly to keep people from wiping away that precious barn-find dust, but a few people swiped their fingers across it anyway.
Bottom line: This GNX is where "wrapper car" and "barn find" collide. In the end, it seems the low odometer reading trumped all because this is nearly a best-in-the-world price for a car that is very, very far from best-in-the-world condition.
Lot 1070: 1957 Ford Thunderbird
Sold for $220,000
Chassis no. D7FH120143. Older restoration, #2+ condition
Willow Green over Creme
Equipment: 312-cubic inch, 245-hp V-8, automatic transmission, porthole hardtop, power steering, power brakes, power windows, Town and Country radio, Kelsey Hayes wheels, fender skirts
Condition: Body-off restoration by Minter, a big name in the Thunderbird world. The paint is very good, but the overhead lights reveal swirls. The panel fit is excellent and the chrome is very good. The engine compartment is immaculate and the underbody is like new. Inside the car is fully restored and appears like new. Near perfection, but the paint finish is not to the standard associated with the Minter name.
Bottom line: This is not the first time a Minter-restored Thunderbird brought ridiculous money at Barrett-Jackson and it probably won’t be the last. This proves that the Minter name still means something to collectors and they will eagerly plunk down exorbitant amounts of cash to own a car that has passed through his shop.
Lot 1298.1: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette L89 Coupe
Sold for $319,000
Chassis no. 194379S733382. Older restoration, #2- condition
Tuxedo Black over Saddle
Equipment: 427-cubic inch/435hp L89 V-8, M21 four-speed, Rally wheels, side exhaust, T-tops, power windows, Soft Ray tinted glass
Condition: NCRS Top Flight and Bloomington Gold. The paint is showing its age but has no major flaws. Same with the chrome and exhaust pipes. Very clean interior. A solid older restoration on a rare, fast L89 coupe.
Bottom line: The L89 engine option was first available on the 1967 Corvette but was a much more popular (though still uncommon) choice on the 1968–69 cars. It was essentially the same as the highly potent triple-carbureted 427/435-hp L71, but with aluminum cylinder heads that shaved about 75 pounds in weight from the big-block up front. That subtraction in weight came with a big addition to the price, though—nearly $400 on an already expensive car. In 1969, just 390 buyers ticked the box.
L89s rarely come up for sale but there were two '69 cars in Scottsdale including this one. The car offered by RM Sotheby's was a Daytona Yellow convertible, but they were in similar condition. It's hard to argue with the market when two auction cars sell for the same price, and that's essentially what happened here, with $319K for this car and $313K for RM's car.
Lot 1380: 2012 Lexus LFA Nürburgring
Sold for $1,650,000
Chassis no. JTHHX8BH7C1000347. Original, #2 condition
Orange over black
Equipment: 4805-cubic-centimeter, 562-hp V-10, Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires, Mark Levinson 12-speaker surround
Condition: One of 25 U.S.-spec Nürburgring cars and represented with 2100 miles. Clean and like new. Made for the Nürburgring, but never driven like it.
Bottom line: Overpriced and a slow seller when new, the LFA is nevertheless a triumph of Japanese engineering and the Nürburgring edition is the top-spec model. These were always expensive cars, but they didn't become seven-figure ones until the pandemic boom. This example sold on Bring a Trailer in 2022 for $1.625M, then went back up on that platform only a month ago to a no-sale with $1.72M bid. The seller must have thought they'd have better luck on Super Saturday at Barrett-Jackson but they didn't. This result suggests LFAs are done appreciating for now.
Lot 1371.1: 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster by Mayfair
Sold for $2,420,000
Chassis no. 154080. Older restoration, #1- condition
Red over beige
Equipment: Right-hand drive, 5401-cubic-centimeter/115–180-hp supercharged eight-cylinder engine, four-speed transmission, Bosch headlights and central driving light, suicide doors, dash clock, aero screens, Mother of Pearl instrument panel, folding windshield, outside exhaust headpipes, skirts, enclosed rear-mounted spare, chrome wire wheels.
Condition: Striking one-off coachwork by Mayfair in London. Formerly in the Imperial Palace Auto Collection, the General William Lyon Collection, and the Don Williams Collection. Shown at Pebble Beach in 2011 and still gorgeous. The leather is lightly wrinkled and discolored and there is a small dimple in the right door handle, but this is still an outstanding Mercedes.
Bottom line: The swoops and flourishes of this Mayfair coachwork are striking, and this car far overshadowed the rebodied (in the style of the factory Sindelfingen Special Roadster) 540K over at RM this week in both appearance and price. In 2007 in Monterey, the Mayfair Mercedes sold for $2,530,000, then for $3,277,500 at Quail Lodge in 2018. At Mecum Monterey last year it was a $2.6M no-sale. It deserved more then and deserves more today, but Barrett-Jackson is a no-reserve auction so it went to a new home regardless of what the seller was hoping for.
Lot 1406: 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
Sold for $3,410,000
Chassis no. 1980406500225. Concours restoration, #1 condition
Silver Grey Metallic over natural leather with green tartan cloth inserts.
Equipment: 2996-cubic-centimeter, 240-hp I-6, four-speed transmission, Rudge wheels, fitted luggage, Becker Mexico radio
Condition: Bought by the seller in 2020 and treated to a concours restoration by Coachwerks in British Columbia. It doesn't appear to have been used much if at all since completion and looks fresh, gorgeous, and show-ready.
Bottom line: This Gullwing was a somewhat unexpected star among the high-dollar Saturday cars at Barrett-Jackson. 300SLs are staple blue-chip collector cars but base Gullwings are more commonly seen in the $2M range. They're also more commonly seen at the catalog sales like RM Sotheby's or Bonhams. B-J proved the right venue, however, because this concours-quality Gullwing brought a world record price for the model.
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