The Barrett Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, AZ is an annual week-long event held in January with as many as 200 cars sold daily. The auction starts early in the morning and continues beyond midnight. Barrett-Jackson holds three other auctions later in the year, but the auction in Scottsdale is the largest and the first of the season.
The 2011 auction, which was held at WestWorld, was the 40th anniversary for this event. WestWorld is a sprawling complex located northeast of Scottsdale. It has a center pavilion where the auction is actually held and is connected to smaller enclosures containing vendor displays on one side and a special showroom for all the exclusive cars on the opposite side. Nearby are rows of tents containing an extensive number of cars that have sold and those that are waiting to be sold. Numerous food vendors, including the world’s largest outdoor grill, a skid pad for car drifting demonstrations, and indoor and outside bars are located next to the main building. You can keep up-to-date on the auction results by viewing several large screen TVs located around the complex. On specific days, a live radio broadcast is held in one of the outer lying tents with Barry McGuire or another car-crazy celebrity.
Parking for the general public is located outside the gate. Bus shuttle service is provided between the parking lot and WestWorld’s entrance until 11:00 pm. Backpacks and handbags are allowed but are subject to security search prior to entering the complex. There are no restrictions on cameras, and only bottled water is allowed inside the gate.
Tickets can be purchased at the gate or online. If you buy the ticket online, it is not necessary to take your printed receipt with the barcode to the ticket window. Your receipt will be scanned as you enter the complex. Tickets can be purchased for individual days, either for full days or for the evening hours (beginning at 5 p.m.) The price for general attendance varies depending on which day you want to attend. Saturday, the highest priced admittance ticket, is $40 per person.
There are many opportunities to get a close up view of these glamour cars. Anyone can closely inspect the vehicles when they are parked at different locations around the WestWorld complex , as well as when they are in the pre-staging area outside the auction hall. You can also watch them being driven into and outside the auction hall. Only bidders are allowed on the stage when the car is being auctioned.
Saturday is the prime selling day when all the most sought after vehicles are sold. So what was the highest priced car in the 2011 Barrett-Jackson auction? Actually, it wasn’t just a car. It was a 44′ custom catamaran with two Corvette Z06 engines and other Corvette accessories. Included with this package was a special tilt trailer and a matching Z06 Corvette. The total sale price was $724,500. Other noteworthy sales were:
2012 Mustang, Boss 302 (one of kind, first new generation Boss 302): $450,000
1956 De Soto Fireflite Convertible: $368,500
1932 Ford Custom Roadster: $346,500
1950 Mercury Custom:$330,000
1969 Mustang Boss 429 with 219 actual miles: $258,500
2011 Indy Camaro Pace Car (Owner will drive pace lap at 2011 Indy race): $225,000
1963 Pontiac Ambulance (Ambulance that carried JFK to Capital): $132,000
2002 Ford F150 (Custom truck owned by Evel Knievel): $110,000
1999 Big Toe Motorcycle (7.5′ tall x 16′ long): $88,000
Click here for a slideshow of these vehicles and other sights at the 2011 Scottsdale auction.
January in Arizona is a great place to escape from the winter’s ice and snow. In the evening the temperatures can fall to 50 degrees, but no need to worry. There are plenty of gas burners heating the outdoor areas where the cars make their stage entry. If the gas burners don’t warm you up enough, then visit the tiki bar for an adult beverage of your choice. You can enjoy your drink as you watch or listen while the cars are queueing-up to go on stage.
As the cars proceed across the stage, two enormous TV screens on both sides of the stage display the cars and the current bid status. Bidders are seated in front of the stage and in box seats overlooking the auction hall. Qualified bidders must complete paperwork, with appropriate credit documentation, and pay a bidder’s fee. Non-bidders (those with general admission tickets) can sit in bleachers behind the bidders or stand in open areas in the auction hall. Be careful not to block walkways or you will be asked to move.
Although a large part of the auction is televised live, with so many beautiful and rare cars in one place, it becomes the ultimate car show that takes on a new dimension when seen first-hand. How many times have you been to a car show and wondered how much is that beauty worth? Well here you find out in an atmosphere that is charged with excitement as the bidders go head-to-head until someone blinks. As the vehicle leaves the stage, you are left wishing you had been the highest bidder.
Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction provides a full week of fun for any car enthusiast. This ultimate car show is just the place to see mint-condition cars as they came from the dealer, or to see the many ways cars can be personalized and turned into works of art. With all the eye-candy and the excitement of the non-stop bidding, what’s not to like about this Party in the Desert