It’s all about the numbers at Barrett-Jackson’s Auto Auctions held around the country throughout the year. In this week’s photo challenge, Ben Huberman asks us to share a photo that puts numbers front and center. You can read Ben’s entire challenge post here. I look forward to January’s auto auction, not because of the numbers, but because of what’s behind them, automobiles rebuilt to their classic original design or re-envisioned as a custom classic that often only resembles the original. The opening shot features several important numbers on the placard sitting next to the car. First off, it’s a 1948 model year. If I wanted to bid on it, I would need the next number, Lot 5008. As a collector, I might be interested in the fact that this vehicle is chassis 1043, and the engine number is 33550.
As a photographer, I’m only academically interested in those numbers. They are only helpful for me when when I share the final image above with my readers here at Journeys with Johnbo. So I need a way to remember the numbers when I share the photo above with you, my photographic impression of this classic car. The first couple of years photographing these classics always included a shot of the placard that accompanies the vehicle simply as a memory jogger.
Many times, the placard is only barely in the shot. As long as I could make out the year and model, that was enough of a memory jogger, as in the photo above. The final image is almost always missing the placard, but when I share the photo with you, having that other shot allowed me to share more about the vehicle featured.
The 1933 Pierce-Arrow above is just such an example. Often, as in the Tucker in the opening shot, I feature a close-up of only a portion of the vehicle, a spare tire here, a hood ornament there. The gentle curve of a fender or the intricate pattern in a custom grille may be the only feature on the car that attracts me, but I still need to know those gosh durn numbers.
In some of my shots, the lot number is visible on the windshield. I’ve learned that if I know only the lot number, I can go to Barrett-Jackson’s website and find the Docket for the show I attended. If I search the lot number in their search engine, I can find out all those details, including what may be the most interesting number… how much was a buyer willing to give in US Dollars for the privilege to own a classic piece of automotive history.