My first winter in Arizona brought me, with friends, to my first Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction. Since then, I haven’t missed spending at least a day during the 8 auction days each January. This year was no exception and along with my wife, my sister and her boyfriend, we arrived around 9 AM or so, and entered the main pavilion at West World. We usually head outside almost immediately and find the tents where there are four rows of classic cars sitting in the shade.
From here, we headed back and forth admiring the handiwork of skilled craftsmen who spent untold numbers of hours repairing, rebuilding, refurbishing and reflecting upon the histories of their project cars. This week, we went on Thursday so many of the cars we viewed had already been sold. Some of the cars were no doubt “stolen” at the auction, with the owners probably not getting close to what they put into their vehicle with money and a fair measure of love for the build. Other sellers were handsomely rewarded. This beautiful 1957 Chevy Station Wagon brought in $31,900 at auction.
This beautiful 1955 Ford Thunderbird was immaculate inside and out. The engine compartment was clean enough to “eat off of.”
If you run the engine, you can keep your food warm as well. And, as you can see by the image below, the interior is just as painstakingly restored. The car sold at auction for $29,700. I’ve got to wonder if the seller got his investment back.
The 1970 Plymouth Satellite Custom Convertible above, beautifully done in purple, brought the princely sum of $74,800 at auction. The interior and engine look just as great as the paint job.
This beauty is a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible. The auction rewarded the seller with $69,300 (less commissions). Still and all, not a bad price for a beautiful restoration. The engine is shown in the image below.
Many cars are “restored” with engines that have no reflection on the realities of their day. The engine in the image below was fitted into a 1961 Chevrolet Impala.
The car is completely custom with only a strong resemblance to it’s original configuration, but that’s where it ends. According to the Barrett-Jackson website, this car is equipped with a 5.7-liter Z06 engine, a GM 4L60E electronically controlled automatic transmission, and many other custom items. This beauty brought the seller $60,500.
I love the paintwork on this panel truck, a 1948 Chevrolet 3600 decked out in Route 66 murals on either side. The leather interior and high end carpets are obviously not standard equipment for a3600 Thriftmaster delivery truck. Nor are the cowboy hat holder or ivory shift knob. This piece of automotive art sold for only $18,700.
Inside the building, you can expect to find the salon cars, the high dollar restorations that I really enjoy. This 1934 Cadillac Custom Convertable sold for $181,500. It features a rebuild using all-original Fischer and Cadillac steel body panels. The 4.6 liter Cadillac Northstar engine is connected to a 700R4 automatic transmission. The power plant is shown in the final image below.
Oh, yes, there were cars there that sold for over $2 million USD, and cars that sold for well under $10,000. All in all, I find the auction a place to relive automotive history and to marvel at the work of the custom rebuilders. Of course, there are cars there that I would love to own, but I don’t lose any sleep over not having the funds to enjoy this particular hobby. To me, it’s an enjoyable place to take photos of some fantastic subjects and to spend time later with my photo processing software trying to bring out the best images that I can from the raw digital data captured in my cameras.