Barrett-Jackson's Scottsdale AuctionBy: Dan Vaughan
Over a period of ten days, the Barrett-Jackson auction company had 1,611 vehicles cross their block, which resulted in over $131.9 million in vehicle sales along with $6.55 in automobilia sales. This record setting performance makes it the company's highest auction in sales to date. The predominately 'No Reserve' auction had the largest number of consigned vehicles in its 44-year history, as well as a record number of bidders in attendance.
Sales were spurred with the help of the impressive Ron Pratte collection, which included Carroll Shelby's personal Shelby Cobra - the 1966 Super Snake - which carried a hefty reserve and ultimately failed to sell. It would later find new ownership when the highest bidder was able to negotiate a final selling price of $5.1 million for the Competition Roadster.
Carroll Shelby's Cobra captured the highest sale at this year's Barrett-Jackson auction and was followed by the 1950 General Motors Futurliner Parade of Progress Tour Buss, which received a winning bid of $4 million dollars. Proceeds from this sale were donated to the Armed Forces Foundation.
The GM design staff, under the direction of Harley Earl, had designed and created The Futurliner as a self-contained display and transport vehicle. General Motors built just 12 examples of the Futurliner to showcase their 'Parade of Progress' touring exhibit from the 1940s through 1956. Currently, it is one of just three survivors restored in the original 'Parade of Progress' configuration. Mr. Pratte had treated the vehicle to a re-restoration after his purchase in 2006.
As in years past, some of the most impressive sales figures came from charity vehicles. 10 charity cars, with plenty of star power, raised more than $8.7 million, with half of the money raised coming from Ron Pratte collection. Actress Sharon Stone drove a Olds Cutlass Hurst donated by Joe Riley onto the block. When the hammer fell for the third and final time, the car had been sold for $140,000, with proceeds benefitting the Cancer Research Fund at the Translational Genomics Research Institute.
Ford donated the first production 2015 Shelby GT350R to be sold for charity, with proceeds benefitting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF). Bidding rose to $900,000, before auctioneer Tom 'Spanky' Assitter handed the gavel to a JDRF youth who hammered the car sold at $1 million.
Along with strong vehicle sales, Barrett-Jackson's Automobile sales nearly tripled world records, with 2,000 pieces selling for over $6.55 million.
The vast selection of vehicles offered for sale were extensive, from modern to classics, from regular production to high-end exotics. There was no shortage of muscle cars from the 1960s, which included the Chevy Camaro and Corvette, and the Ford Mustang. Another impressive selection where the high-end 'Salon Collection'; 2015 marks the fourth consecutive year that these high dollar earners were a part of the Barrett-Jackson auction. Legendary names such as Duesenberg, Alfa Romeo, Talbot Lago, Hispano-Suiza, and Rolls-Royce could be found in this collection. The Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport, chassis number 110123, with coachwork by Marius Franay sold for $1.65 million. A 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing also broke the magical million dollar figure, selling for $1.1 million.
With some vehicles, the selling price are fairly predictable. With concepts, their value is often much more uncertain as there is often a lack of sales history to help in their estimation. In years past, Barrett-Jackson has been able to secure several important and fascinating Concept Cars for their auction, and 2015 was no different. A rather unusual 1990 Concept Sky Commuter Aircraft sold for $71,500. It was developed by Boeing engineers and reportedly cost more than $6 million to produce three prototypes. The example brought to auction is the sole surviving example.
Perhaps the most special Concept Car at Barrett-Jackson was the Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama Concept, which sold for nearly $3.1 million. This was Pontiac's Motorama star for 1954 and the company's first sports dream car. The two-seater Corvette-derived coupe was given a fiberglass bubble-top and a 268 cubic-inch flathead straight eight engine. It's said that Harley Earl, director of GM styling, got the idea for a GM concept car while watching world speed records being set at the Salt Flats in Utah.
Everything about the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona is impressive, from the main auction arena and massive marquees, to the incredible selection of cars. Visitors were treated to even more surprises as they exited the main area and entered the 'Ride 'N Drives and Thrill Rides.' All Big Three automakers participated in this activity - Ford, General Motors and Chrysler. Each brought many of the vehicles in their current model line-up, offering visitors an opportunity to take a test drive. Those individuals seeking a breathtaking spin could get a ride-along in one of the high performance supercars. Chevrolet brought the Camaro and Corvette C7, Ford had their Mustangs, and Dodge had the Hellcat and the Viper.