|By Susan Emerson Nutter
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — When an auction exceeds the $115 million mark and former U.S. President George W. Bush stops by to say, “Hey!” no wonder the industry for vintage cars and automotive advertising memorabilia is all abuzz.
But then again, we are discussing Barrett-Jackson.
Beginning Jan. 13 and running through Jan. 21, this elite auction company hosted day after day of outstanding sales via their 47th Annual Scottsdale Auction bringing to the collector the best of the best where anything automobile related is concerned.
A total of 1,721 vehicles (the majority appearing on the auction block without a reserve) realized more than $106.8 million. Then to round out the sale, 1,100 pieces of automobile advertising items raked in $3.7 million.
As it has done in the past, this Barrett-Jackson auction raised $6.21 million for charity via the sale of charity vehicles. With this year’s contribution, Barrett-Jackson surpassed the $100 million mark in charitable sales to date.
Other celebrities and athletes also dropped by to help drive sales and generate excitement including Jay Leno, Michael Phelps, Kenny Chesney, David Spade, Tim Allen, Alice Cooper, Bruce Arians, Alan Williams, Archie Bradley and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.
“We’re so thankful for the entire collector car community and everyone who joined together to create so many signature Barrett-Jackson moments on the block this week,” said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Many records were set as no reserve vehicles continue to attract strong bidding and our automobilia sales were the most impressive yet. It was an honor to host former President George W. Bush on our auction block – another Barrett-Jackson first – along with Chad McQueen on the 50th anniversary of his father’s famous film, Bullitt. While every year is special at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, this one truly stands out.”
The top lot was a 2015 Porche 918 Spyder which brought $1,430,000. But not far behind was a 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa and a 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Cutaway Coupe each selling for $1,100,000.
Other Chevy standouts included a 1969 Camaro ZL1 at $770,000 and a 1968 Corvette L88 which sold for $495,000. A Shelby GT350 Prototype drew a great deal of attention bringing $605,000, while a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV convertible realized $440,000.
Then there were the records set. A 1951 Cadillac Custom Coupe made $150,700; a 1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe convertible was bid to $126,500. Vintage pickup trucks also broke records. A 1958 Chevy 3100 custom pickup went to $198,000, while a 1961 Ford F-100 custom example made $165,000.
“Collectors come to Barrett-Jackson because we craft an incredible docket filled with vehicles for every buyer level and interest,” said Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson. “This year, prime examples of high-profile ’60s muscle cars continued to be strong, while customs, hot rods, trucks and SUVs were particularly popular; several setting world records. Some of the most hotly contested bidding was for custom 1950s-era cars and trucks, while 1980s cars keep trending higher.”
If the automobiles up for grabs were over-the-top consider the automobilia brought up for bids. Talk about stealing the show, a full-size transportation-themed carousel roared to a final bid of $557,750.
Manufactured by Wilhelm Hennecke of Germany in 1957, this carousel was one of only five imported into the United States and Canada during the 1950s. Twenty-seven, wooden hand-made transportation vehicles with leather interiors and working headlights circled the boards and included a Mercedes-Benz firetruck, a 4-door Flitzer (which means “fast car” in German), an Alfa Romero 2000, a Mercedes 190, as well as six Vespa-style scooters, six Kano Manufacturing bicycles, two airplanes and six Sachs 50 CC motorcycles. The entire unit was 32 feet in diameter and 16 feet high.
The automobilia signage and advertising genre has devout followers who came to spend money. A circa 1939 Husky Gasoline double-sided porcelain service station sign featuring a husky and done in colors of navy, yellow, orange and white realized $149,500. Interestingly, this sign was one of only two items offered with a reserve which it easily met.
The 1950s Esso Aviation porcelain restored airport hangar sign with neon soared to $63,250, while a restored 1950s Donald Duck neon porcelain parking lot entrance sign from Disneyland made $48,300 and a 1950s Dog-N-Suds Drive-In single-sided neon porcelain sign realized $41,400.
Despite this outstanding January event, Barrett-Jackson does not rest on its laurels. The 16th Annual Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction is slated to take place April 12-15 and will feature the 140-plus car collection from the Cars of Dreams Museum. For more information www.barrett-jackson.com or call 480-421-6694