Monday, January 21, 2008

It's All (most) Over But The Shouting?

Mark C Bach

Well another season of car auctions in Arizona is almost over. Kruse Auctions drags up the rear this weekend, but all the rest of the folks have closed the doors, totaled up the bills and car carriers are rushing down the interstates with their precious cargo.

The monster of the car auctions is Barrett Jackson in Scottsdale. They auctioned nearly 1200 cars.

On Friday, NASCAR’s Tony Stewart auctioned off his racecar for charity. He then stayed around and bought an orange (naturally) 50 Mercury custom for $85,000. Unfortunately he should have kicked tires a little bit more, because by Saturday the right front was flat!

John Schneider from the Dukes of Hazard brought his General Lee to sell. Many of you may recall the jaw dropping numbers the car was fetching on eBay before the last bogus bidder sniped in at the last second. To hear John’s side of the story, he later verified that he had twenty valid bidders all legitimately bidding over $5 million each. Too bad he couldn’t make a deal with one of them because it sold for only $450,000. Someone showed some clever work on his California personalized plate. But was I the only enthusiast who cringed when he STOOD on the top of his car?

But as always the reason for the auctions is to sell cars. A sweet show car 55 Chevy sold for a solid 137,000.

The ‘deal” of the show was bidding a cool one million dollars for the first retail Corvette ZR1 model. It will list at $99,900 per GM. Dave Ressler, the winning bidder, gets a nice donation to United Way and lots of publicity. (plus a new blazer to match the Blue Devil). Reaves Callaway of the Callaway Corvettes brand had an interesting take on the car. He figures his turbo upgrade available through GM dealers next year, will allow some of the public to bump up a stock Corvette to near ZR1 performance at a much lower price. Reaves likened the potential dealer markup of the ZR1 to be “confiscatory”.

GM dragged out their yellow 57 from Hot Rod magazine. This never ending project car for the magazine, dubbed “Project X” was looking good with fresh paint and a new engine under the hood. We first saw it up at the SEMA show in November and it was NOT for sale.

Of course BJ is not the only game in town. Up the road is Russo and Steele who has an “upscale” auction. There if you aren’t a bidder you can’t get inside to see the actual auction. Drew Alcazar who runs Russo-Steele had an awesome 65 Sunbeam Tiger at his auction that was to die for.

As always the January auctions show where the market is heading. In my view some cars didn’t fetch nearly what was expected and many marques showed some downturn in the pricing. My guess after a new president is elected, that in 2009 the prices will ramp back up. As usual you need to be VERY careful when looking at the cars. The sellers sure can stretch the truth. A bunch of tri-five Chevy were advertised as “numbers matching” but back then the engine numbers didn’t match the VIN, so there is nothing to match. Jeez!!

See ya on the road.

Copyright 2008 Mark C Bach

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