18 Rare Cars You'll See At The Next Barrett-Jackson Auction

18 Rare Cars You'll See At The Next Barrett-Jackson Auction
A 1970 Chevrolet Corvette 350/370, one of more than 1,500 cars set to be auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson's 45th annual Scottsdale auction.

A 1950 Ferrari 195 S Inter Superleggera. A 1948 Kurtis Kraft KK2000 racecar, which appeared five times at the Indianapolis 500. A 1967 Camaro SS, better known as "Bumblebee" from the Transformers franchise, sold by the films' director Michael Bay. These are only a few of the more than 1,500 cars set to be auctioned off at Barrett-Jackson's 45th annual Scottsdale auction, beginning this Saturday.

The auction—which spans nine days at the WestWorld events facility in Scottsdale, Arizona—will feature an expansive docket of nearly every type of collector car imaginable, from vintage race cars and American muscle to pre-war classics and antique European sports cars.

"There's no other auction house that produces what we produce," said Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. "Last year, [the Scottsdale auction] drew a crowd of nearly 350,000. It's the biggest of its type in the world."

Barrett-Jackson, a Scottsdale-based company, has been consigning and selling cars at auction since 1971. They rose to prominence after company founders Russ Jackson (Craig's father) and his partner Tom Barrett sold Adolf Hitler's Mercedes-Benz limousine for $153,000 in 1972. Today, the company is known for its annual auctions in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, and Las Vegas, which are televised on The Discovery Channel and its sibling network, Velocity. This year, portions of the auction will be televised internationally on the EuroSport network.

Car enthusiasts flock to Barrett-Jackson auctions in hopes of finding rarities that have been well preserved. Such is true of the 1970 Corvette LT1 coupe, which will be auctioned off in Scottsdale. This classic American muscle car still bears its original Marlboro maroon paint and beige saddle-vinyl interior, and it will hit the auction block carrying only 19,900 original miles. The Chevy classic comes complete with original paperwork, a purchase history going back to 1970, and judging sheets from model-specific car shows. For serious buyers of collector cars, documentation like this is extremely valuable.

 

"The rarest cars are the all original-stock cars," said Jackson, adding that they're not necessarily right for everyone. "People come to me all the time and say, ‘Craig, what kind of car should I buy?' and the first thing I ask them is, ‘Well, what are you going to use it for?'"

Jackson admits there's something special about a car that's all- or nearly all-original, but many collectors who intend to actually drive their cars—even if it's just for a Sunday cruise—will opt instead for an impeccably restored classic.

Take for instance the 1936 Cadillac Convertible Sedan on the Scottsdale docket. This car had been in the same family from 1957 to 2008. Not only is the car's authenticity confirmed (the family had researched a well-documented history of the vehicle going back to 1946), it has also undergone an award-winning restoration. These vehicles entice potential buyers who are looking for an authentic classic but also something a bit more practical and less likely to require further restoration.

The final auction price for these cars tend to vary based on rarity, accompanying documentation and desirability. Some go for millions, exceeding expectations, while others sit on the auction block in front of a silent crowd, much to the dismay of sellers and auctioneers.

"That's just the nature of auctions," said Jackson. "Sometimes nobody bids on a great car and we're up there telling them this, pleading with them to bid, but eventually the car goes for far less than it's worth. Other times two people get locked into a bidding war and cars are sold for way more than anticipated."

While there are more than 5,000 bidders registered for the Scottsdale auction, that's only a fraction of the anticipated attendance of 350,000 people. Many come just to see all these beautiful cars in one place or to participate in the show's other offerings, such as collector car symposiums and "Ride 'N Drives and Thrill Rides," where attendees can ride along in cutting edge Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge automobiles.

"Our shows are lifestyle events," said Jackson. "Not only do we provide a trustworthy place to buy a car but also a place to have a lot of fun. We cater to everyone, from the average guy who can only afford a ticket to the VIPs who buy the most expensive lots."