The curtain came down Sunday, January 19th, on the most successful Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction in history. The FOX televised, eight-day event, sometimes called the “world’s greatest reality show,” was hosted in Barrett-Jackson’s brand new bricks and mortar facility with much improved space and amenities, a building that was completed in only eleven months time and completed only days before the auction start on Sunday, January 12th. Barrett-Jackson’s former main auction tent, the largest tent in the world, was connected to the new permanent auction building and created an impressive almost mile long facility from one end to the other.
But as user friendly as the surroundings, the real story here is the success generated inside the auction in both attendance which was up almost 30% and sales figures. This year’s docket included several iconic classic, muscle, sports and race cars with a sprinkling of other means of transportation, a Miami Vice off shore race boat, a fire engine, a few military vehicles, a Cessna military plane, and some special manufacturer new high performance cars which were auctioned for charity.
The Plymouth and Dodge drag racing Hot Wheels® cars and trucks of Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and Tom “The Mongoose” McEwan, restored and built to commemorate the epic drag racing matches and the recent feature film, sold to Corvette enthusiast and collector Rick Hendrick for just $10K shy of $1M,and also coincidentally bought a Mustang! Music and television star Simon Cowell sold his Bugatti Veyron for $1.375. However the real star of the entire auction was the world’s record breaking 1967 Corvette L88 that recognized collector and automobile host and commentator Bob Varsha called “the American equivalent of the Ferrari 250 GTO,” the world’s most desired collector car.
From the first days it was evident that enthusiasts came out in force to spend their money at Barrett-Jackson’s annual Scottsdale auction extravaganza. In addition to the increased attendance, the opening days saw significantly larger bids than prior years when the first days were known for entry level “bargain” cars. That changed this year, though there were still some bargains to be had for astute buyers on Tuesday and Wednesday the top five sellers for the two opening days ranged from $75K to $200K, not necessarily “bargain” territory.
The first two days sales topped $14M for 429 lots with a 25% increase in attendance. And for the first time ever the first two days of the auction had cars that were sold for over $100K.
Thursday, normally a transitional day bridging the bargain first days’ offerings with the much more expensive collector cars offered on Friday and Saturday, turned out to be a preview of what was to come during the peak days. Thursday’s attendance jumped to 30% and sales topped $12M with the top seller being a 1955 Ford F100 pick-up truck which sold for $220K. All of the top ten lots hammered down for over $100K.
The momentum from the first half of the week continued Friday and Saturday. Barrett-Jackson’s on line web site crashed early Friday due to the huge number of users trying to access the site and didn’t get back up and running until Saturday afternoon; but it didn’t seem to impede bidding. Attendance was still up almost 30% and sales continued to be strong.
On Friday two charity cars were sold raising over a $1M. The first was a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro COPO, lot 3011, which hammered for $700K with all proceeds to benefit Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans. The second was a1956 Ford F-100 Custom Shelby truck that sold for $450K to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Saskatchewan Foundation. Barrett-Jackson traditionally has raised millions for charity and 2014 achieved new highs; partnering with other corporations Barrett-Jackson raised over $5M for charity throughout the eight day event which kicked off on Sunday with an opening night charity Gala . This year several thousand joined the celebration with entertainment provided by rock legend Bret Michaels.
Saturday was highlighted by the best cars of the auction and Barrett-Jackson’s “blue chip” Salon Collection crossing the block. These are high-value, historically-important collector cars consisting of pre war classics and rare significant post war cars. This year there were 74 of these cars, 40% more than last year. Eight cars were hammered for more than $1M including the highest priced car of the entire auction, lot number 5035, a 1967 Corvette L88 which sold for $3.85M and set a new world’s record for a Corvette sold at auction. Just minutes before the 67 L88 was hammered down, the famous Corvette racecar known as the “Rebel” lot 5022, a 1969 L88, sold for $2.86M including bidder fees, and nailed down the number two car of the auction.
For Corvette enthusiasts there were some bargains during the first three days of the auction for weak # 3 condition third and fourth generation cars, but throughout all days of the auction most of the #1, #2 and solid # 3 condition Corvettes from all generations sold at or above their valuation levels.
Several exceptional Corvette highlighted this year’s auction with over 130 detailed in Barrett-Jackson’s two high quality catalogs. There were several award-winning, restored and survivor examples, as well as some outstanding restomod and custom Corvettes. One of the most well known custom Corvettes, the Asteroid, was consigned by Lance Miller, owner of Corvettes at Carlisle, and customized by world famous “king of the kustomizers” George Barris. The Asteroid, lot 5024, was painted in a gleaming gold metalflake paint and built as a dual purpose car to race and show. Based on its strong provenance it was a relative bargain selling for $110K.
One of the hottest categories of Corvettes were first generation restomods and customs. The high dollar, unique C1’s in many ways over-shadowed the stock first generation Corvettes. A beautiful 1960 yellow custom, lot 5008, which took over 4000 hours to build sold for $220K, while a more radical silver 1965 custom, lot 1277, sold for $110K. A 1962 Pro Touring restomod, lot 1314, built on a C4 chassis sold for $200.2K while a 1961 dark gray metallic custom, lot 5011 sold for $269K. An absolutely stunning, totally stock appearing 1958 silver blue, silver coved restomod, lot 1305 sold for $198K.
The restomod, custom category wasn’t confined to first generation cars. An almost “stock” appearing custom 1965, lot 1288, built by the award winning Carr’s Corvettes & Customs of Dallas, and known as the “Black Ray,” was anything but stock under the skin and hammered for $152K ($167,2 with bidder fees). One of the most well-known second generation cars that crossed the block was the 1963 modified and widened Corvette coupe known as the World’s Fastest Street Legal Car, Lot 5027, which sold for $198K. The twin turbo engine produced 2600 HP and was clocked at 209 MPH in street trim.
As expected the real strength of the auction were the outstanding #1 and #2 first, second and third generation cars and these cars proved to be exceptionally strong, most hammering down above the estimated valuation. With that being said one of the better Corvette buys at the auction was lot #1311 a 1965 Coupe. A first class survivor with the unusual combination of air conditioning and radio delete with less than 10K documented miles , won most every award available including the prestigious Duntov Award, National Top Flight 2005, NCRS Performance Verification 2005, NCRS Duntov Award 2005, Bloomington Survivor Award 2004, Bloomington Gold Certification 2004, Gold Spinner Concours winner 2004 and Corvette Vettefest Triple Crown winner 2004 hammered at the bargain price of $86K. Apparently the automatic transmission and small block 327 held it back. Almost as good of a bargain was another multiple award winning C2,lot 1331, a 1967 Lyndale Blue, no expense spared restored, big block which hammered at $100K.
But there were relatively few ‘bargains” for Corvette lovers looking for top quality C1, C2, and C3 generations. Lance Miller also consigned a pair of matching VIN Corvettes once owned by his father, Chip Miller. A rare 1953 white convertible, lot 5038, and a 50th Anniversary 2003 convertible, lot 5039, with matching production numbers were hammered down for a combined price of $770K.
Third generation rare Corvettes weren’t so rare at Barrett-Jackson this year. One of the rarest was a 1968 L88 convertible, lot 1318, an all original 13K mile survivor that was owned by the original buyer for thirty four years. The fully documented, matching number, blue convertible also had the original bill of sale, window sticker, tank sticker, protect-o-plate, all manuals and was sitting on the original tires. It took $880K to take it to a new home.
One of the twelve ZR2’s produced in 1972, lot 5018, sold for $495K while a 1970 LT1/ZR1, Lot 5009, in #1 condition and 1 of 25 built, found a new owner for $220K. One of the rare cars of the auction, an award winning 1959 black, big brake, fuelie, lot 7003, which crossed the block Saturday night hammered for $200K ($220K with fees).
Several second generation condition #1 and #2 Corvettes brought good prices on Friday and Saturday. Though all five model years sold at or above the valuation prices it appeared that the least expensive cars were the 1964 and 1965 model years. That seems to be the case due to the highly desirable 427 cubic inch engine availability in the 1966 and 1967 model years. Second generation condition 1 and 2 cars with high performance engines commonly sold for $250K or more with some approaching or topping $200K.
Though actual final numbers from Barrett-Jackson® will not be available for a few days, this year’s event was clearly the most successful in their 43 year history. Sales, attendance, registered bidders and cars sold were all ahead of 2013’s event. Sales for 2013 were up a staggering 17% racking up $108M and this year’s event will exceed those numbers by $5M. It was evident that the 3500 registered bidders weren’t holding back on the 1399 cars sold. The Barrett-Jackson® team has got to be pleased with their first auction of 2014 and the first in an all new facility. Based on the Scottsdale results it looks like 2014 is shaping up to be a promising year.
Photos Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson
1967 Corvette L88 Sells for World Record $3.5 Million at Barrett-Jackson – Updated w/ Video
Opening Corvette Auction Results at Barrett-Jackson
World’s Fastest Street Legal Car Racing to Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale