Saturday, January 13, 2007


By Mark C Bach

Well folks if it is January in Arizona it means only one thing – the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction is coming! This marks the 36th annual event for Craig Jackson and many folks will be glued to Speed for hours on end and banging their head, asking why they sold that 67 Camaro years ago.

Probably one of smartest moves at the Barrett-Jackson auction was partnering with Speed. They got extensive free publicity and attention and the cable channel received hours of video tape, both live and on tape, to show their viewers. Traditionally these live telecasts are among Speed’s best ratings. Speed will carry forty hours of live coverage over six days and as they say, check your local listings.

The next smartest move was making this a no reserve auction. In a typical car auction some cars are offered at reserve, which means the car is ONLY going to be hammered sold if the bidding reaches a pre-determined, secret sales price. This leads to disappointed buyers, who wouldn’t bid high enough and disappointed sellers, who set their expectations to high. Plus the general public likes to know that cars are sold. So Barrett-Jackson raised the bar and requires all sellers to offer for sale at no reserve. Now as you can expect there are some behind the scene manipulations, but the cars end up rolling off the runway with a sold price.

The Barrett Jackson auction is held in Scottsdale, AZ at a converted polo field and houses a tent that originally came from Disney World. It is reported to be the largest tent west of the Mississippi and mainly is used to for the auction area, a few high end cars and rows of vendors are also here to sell everything from car insurance to real estate to cigars. Barrett Jackson has had some highly public disputes with the City of Scottsdale over the field conditions and parking spaces but they seem to have kissed and made up for now. It is hard to argue with a citizen, when his customers paying a substantial sales tax.

The event starts on Saturday January 13, 2007 with a charity viewing and continues through Sunday January 21, 2007. The 15th is devoted to selling rock and roll memorabilia and no cars. Usually the first hour of each auction is devoted to selling automobilia.

Prices to attend this event will be steep. The gate price on Saturday tops out at $55 a person. Over 250,000 people are expected to attend at this week long + event. A bidder’s pass will cost $500, but you get to bring a guest and have access to a free bar with that pass.

Last year 1,104 cars sold for over $100 million. This year we get to see if the Hemi’s stall, drop or soar on the market. Because Barrett-Jackson sets the bar for the rest of 2007. Orange County Cruisers, Jack Rousch and Carroll Shelby will be selling their cars at the auction but here are some of my personal picks.

#1290 An awesome custom Plymouth ‘Cuda made by Alan Johnson. It was seen at SEMA for the past two years and won Goodguy’s Street Machine of the Year in 2006. It was well built and is a unique design.

#1295 Grumpy Jenkin’s ‘74 Vega that was raced on the NHRA circuit. Probably won’t bring an obscene amount of funds, but I am a sucker for history.

#1285 is the super hyped 1967 “Last Corvette” which Speed featured in a series. It’ll be interesting to see if this one rises above the hype.

Way too many “muscle cars” are being offered with automatics including #1279 a Yenko 1969 Chevelle.

So enjoy the show and the TV coverage and we’ll recap the auction next time with lots of photos.

See the complete B-J 2007 auction list here.

See ya on the road.

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