Report and photos by Rick Carey, Auction Editor
Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale event was so different from years ago it’s difficult to put it in perspective.
B-J was once a collector car auction with a big party.
Today it’s a bigger party, built around a collector car and affluent lifestyle trade show, custom/collector car auction and multi-day automobilia auction, almost in that order.
Even year-to-year Barrett-Jackson evolves noticeably with its management team’s perception of enthusiasts’ – it’s hard to characterize the B-J clientele as “collectors” – interests. In 2012, the 41st Anniversary of the first Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, over 30% of the automotive lots offered were characterized by their consignors in the Barrett-Jackson docket as “custom” something – and that doesn’t include the High Boy (or “Hi-Boy” as it’s often put in the B-J descriptions, like a greeting between boys) hot rods.
Year after year the Barrett-Jackson events pull half their registered bidders from previously unknown clients. There was a time when that was viewed skeptically, but over the years it has been demonstrated to be a draw, backed by 40 or so hours of live coverage, and days of repeats, on SPEEDTV, that builds the collector car community into an ever-larger and more diverse group.
For the 2012 edition Barrett-Jackson returned some its emphasis to its roots in classic cars and to the luxury and concept cars of the Fifties and Sixties. Gordon McCall, impresario of Monterey’s Wednesday Airport Party and “The Quail”, A Motorsports Gathering, organized the “Salon Offering Collection” with exceptional cars from collectors like Ron Pratte, Don Williams, Tom Crook and Mark Hyman. Offered with reserves, the Salon Offering was grouped in a Saturday Prime Time slot and returned Barrett-Jackson to the million-dollar transaction club. It did it in a big way, too, with seven of the event’s eight million-dollar lots.
That was a huge change, especially since B-J Scottsdale hadn’t had a million-dollar sale since 2008’s Ford Tri-Motor airplane. Barrett-Jackson notched half of the sixteen million dollar hammer sales in all the Scottsdale auctions, a ranking it hadn’t achieved in years. It helped propel Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale total sale of automotive lots to over $90 million, up a whopping 31.3% from 2011 and 34.9% from 2010.
Equally important, Barrett-Jackson continued to post exceptional results on a wide variety of cars. Expanded emphasis on custom cars, however, left less room in the six-day sale docket for the accurately restored muscle, pony and collector cars of the Fifties and Sixties which once were the meat-and-potatoes that collectors gathered in WestWorld to discover and take home. Their prices reflected the shifting spotlight of publicity and docket placement.
Case in point could be Corvettes. There were two L-88 coupes in the Arizona auctions. Neither was at Barrett-Jackson. Of the 95 Corvettes offered at WestWorld, 25 were customs, including the four top sales, the only Corvettes to bring over $200,000.
But that’s what Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale is, a great event celebrating the automobile in its many and frequently individual expressions, conducted to high standards of transparency and even-handedness. It is what it is, and it’s not to be missed.
Here are the numbers from Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2012:
Click here for a complete list of all lots offered with their chassis numbers and transaction results. Lots reviewed and to be reported on Sports Car Digest are highlighted.
Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2012 – Auction Report