Barrett-Jackson is known as “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction,” but nothing quite prepares you for the feeling you get when you first step into the venue. It’s a feeling of awe as you find yourself completely surrounded by the most coveted collector vehicles in the world.
This week, Barrett-Jackson stunned car enthusiasts from WestWorld of Scottdale, here in Arizona, where thousands of unique and highly sought-after vehicles were put up for auction, including celebrity vehicles from the likes of John Lennon, Burt Reynolds, Steven Tyler, Justin Bieber and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
For the past 46 years, Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions have attracted collectors and general car enthusiasts from all over the globe. With auctions held in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Mohegan Sun, Connecticut and Las Vegas, Nevada, over 500,000 people attend on average. That’s not even counting the audiences that tune in via the Discovery Channel and Velocity.
This week alone, more than 1,700 vehicles have been auctioned, with hundreds more still on the docket.
I was thrilled to have the chance to chat with CEO and Chairman, Craig Jackson, about the evolution of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, and the different ways they aim to connect with everyone who’s interested in the event. Press play and watch the video below to see how Jackson himself was involved in the auction’s first efforts to take the show online.
This exclusive interview wasn’t the only event highlight. While there, I couldn’t help but to peek around and look at all of the breathtaking cars. Here are some of best cars that appeared at the Barrett-Jackson auction this week.
Most of the spotlight vehicles will be auctioned off this weekend, but there was one car I just had to mention that has already been sold. This 1981 Delorean DMC-12 Gullwing is just like the infamous car from “Back to the Future.” Keep reading to see how much it sold for!
Lot #462 – 1981 Delorean DMC-12 Gullwing
“The DMC-12 was the only vehicle produced by John Delorean’s motor Company. The car had many innovative features including a fiberglass underbody, brushed stainless steel body panels and gullwing doors. The prototype was introduced in October of 1976 with production beginning in early 1981. Approximately 9,200 DMC vehicles were made. As a very recognizable movie car from the popular trilogy “Back to the Future,” this vehicle has a cult-like following and a host of clubs, collectors and fans worldwide. This vehicle includes movie-themed ancillary items such as the sports almanac, Nike Air Mag “Self-Tying” light up shoes, hover board, and Doc’s confirmation of time travel with map. Featuring a Peugeot-Renault-Volvo (PRV) 2.85-liter V6 which was designed and built under special contract with the DMC company. The Delorean had a recorded 0-60mph of 8.8 seconds. Options for the vehicle included a no-cost manual or automatic transmission and gray or black interior. This one is in magnificent condition with just 7,715 original miles (mileage not indicated on the title). A much more desirable factory manual transmission accompanies a full assortment of accessories to make this Delorean one of the finest available.“
Barrett-Jackson events are also known to draw attention of many celebrities – some looking to buy, others looking to sell their one-of-a-kind vehicles. At 2016’s Las Vegas auction, a 1989 Jaguar XJS was auctioned that once belonged to Frank Sinatra. 2016’s Northeast auction featured a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible that was once owned by Rockabilly legend, Brian Setzer, of the Stray Cats. While Sinatra’s car sold for $27,500, Setzer’s brought in $91,300.
The 2017 Scottsdale auction has some notable celebrity vehicles as well, including a classic that once belonged to musical legend, John Lennon.
Lot #1401 – 1978 Pontiac Firebird Custom Coupe (Burt Reynolds)
“This Pro-Touring Firebird is owned by actor Burt Reynolds and built by Restore a Muscle Car and Gene Kennedy. It started life as a Firebird Formula and has been customized to what you see today. It’s powered by a Butler Performance 8.2-liter engine with over 600hp, aluminum intake and heads, March pulleys, ceramic-coated headers and 3″ exhaust with Spintec mufflers. It’s also equipped with Fast XFI fuel injection, Shaker hood, aluminum radiator, electric fans and air conditioning. It also has Tremec 5-speed manual transmission with Hurst Line-Lock, mini-tubbed Detroit Speed, QA1 coilovers and RAMC billet 18″ Snowflake wheels with Nitto Drag Radials. The custom leather interior features a Pioneer and JL Audio Sound System. The car is signed by Burt Reynolds.”
Lot #1380 – 1956 Austin Princess (John Lennon)
“Formerly owned by rock ‘n’ roll legend John Lennon and featured in the 1972 documentary film “Imagine,” this car is documented with an original and signed registration. This Type A135 is powered by a 3,995cc overhead-valve Inline 6-cylinder engine with 125hp and 4-speed manual transmission. It features independent front suspension with coil springs, a solid rear beam axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs and 4-wheel drum brakes. With a 3,353mm wheelbase, chassis #DH2-12785 was completed with hearse coachwork by Arthur Mulliner Ltd. of North Hampton.
“Initially acquired by a generations-old mortuary, Ann Bonham & Son, the Austin hearse was purchased in August 1971 by John Lennon, as reflected by an original registration document that features the legendary musician’s printed name and his signature. After extensive use in the filming of ‘Imagine,’ Lennon unusually customized the Princess with two rows of airline seats (complete with ashtray arms), the perfect modification for a rock star and his family. In 2008, the car was donated to the Austin Rock & Roll Car Museum. Exhibited ever since on the museum’s gallery floors, this unique celebrity-owned car has been consistently tended and serviced as needed.”
NOTE: Sold on bill of sale only.
Lot #3006 – 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle (Dale Earnhardt Jr.)
“This ‘brand-new’ 1970 Chevelle demonstrates the first Connect and Cruise Crate Powertrain System. This is a contemporary Resto-Mod muscle car that uses a new GM Restoration Parts-licensed Dynacorn reproduction body and modern coilover suspension system. Dale Earnhardt Jr. worked with GM designers to refine and distinguish the appearance of the Chevelle. To complement the contemporary power plant, the car is dressed in Black Diamond metallic paint and fifth-generation Camaro Track Pack 20″ racing wheels, wrapped in Goodyear Eagle F1 Supercar rubber. Inside, retrimmed 2012 Camaro seats are used with GM-licensed reproduction parts. Assembly of the Chevelle came together at GM’s Milford Proving Ground and started with an original ’70 Chevelle frame, but almost every other component used during the car’s construction is all-new, including the body.”
NOTE: 100 percent of the hammer price to benefit the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a leading pediatric care facility and research institute.
Lot #1372 – 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia (Justin Bieber)
“Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase Justin Bieber’s 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia F1 Edition custom-built by West Coast Customs. Exterior wrapped in Frozen Blue chrome equipped with a wide-body kit by Liberty Walk includes full custom fender flares, front splitter, side skirt splitter and rear wing. Interior includes a custom 2,000-Watt 10-inch subwoofer with matched MB Quart separates. Factory custom interior created to Justin’s specifications. Custom 20″ 3-piece Forgiato Dieci-ECL wheels. On 08/26/14 CARFAX shows a California damage report. Vehicle involved in a rear-end collision, airbags did not deploy.”
Lot #3003 – 2012 Hennessey Venom GT Spyder (Steven Tyler)
“This extremely rare Hennessey Venom GT Spyder comes from the personal collection of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Grammy winner Steven Tyler. This supercar is the fifth of only 12 Hennessey Venom GTs ever created and the first of the Spyder convertibles. It is the convertible version of the record-setting Venom GT that recorded a top speed of 270.49 mph at Kennedy Space Center in 2014. The 7.0-liter V8 engine produces 1,244hp that muscles the 2,743-pound convertible from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds and 0-200 mph in 14.5 seconds.
“The mid-engine car with rear-wheel drive has a body made of carbon-fiber and a composite/aluminum hybrid monocoque-space frame. The vehicle’s features include 6-piston Brembo fixed-caliper brakes with carbon-ceramic rotors, rack & pinion steering with 6-position variable electric assist, Ricardo 6-speed manual transmission, unequal-length A-arms and anti-roll bars, Penske 2-way-adjustable coilovers and adjustable ride height. The car rides on Hennessey H10 forged monoblock wheels wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires. The Venom GT Spyder also has a custom JL Audio stereo system befitting a rock and roll superstar.”
NOTE: 100 percent of the hammer price for this car will be donated to Janie’s Fund – a charity created by Steven Tyler to benefit young women who have been subjected to abuse and trauma.
From sports cars to roasters, the complex is filled with rows and rows of vehicles you just have to see to believe. Take a look at the specifications for these show-stealers.
Lot #957 – 1932 Ford Hi-Boy Custom Roadster
“This 1932 Hi-Boy is a rolling-work-of-art. The gorgeous show-quality custom black with blue striping Wescott body sits atop a Don Pilkenton custom frame and is powered by a highly detailed Chevrolet 305 V8 with an estimated 350hp. This potent small block features a polished Edelbrock RPM manifold and 625 carburetor, roller rockers, a Pete Jackson Gear Drive, GM HEI, Griffin aluminum radiator, electric fans connected to the HPC coated Hooker headers and stainless steel exhaust system. A modified GM Turbo-350 was the transmission of choice for this very high-end build. Getting the power to the polished American Racing 5-spoke rear wheels is a Ford 8′ with a 3.50:1 limited slip. Underneath this Highboy is a masterpiece in itself.
“The front transverse leaf suspension is fully polished while the rear has chrome Aldan coil-overs and both feature four-bar links. Bringing all the fun to a halt are the Wilwood 4-wheel disc brakes with polished calipers. Finished in a deep gloss PPG black basecoat with blue laser-splash accent striping the paint on body on this car is absolutely show quality. The cabin is done in a red, custom hand stitched vinyl and features a polished aluminum steering column and Kenwood stereo system while Moon gauges adorn the dash. Everything on this car is absolutely first class. An amazing looking car that was built to drive just as nice as it looks.”
Lot #924 – 1958 MGA 1500 Roadster
“This attractive Chariot Red MGA Roadster is a lovely running and driving car. A few years ago it received a restoration which includes a very highquality [sic], expensive urethane repaint in its original factory paint color. It also received a new rubber kit, new set of tires, and new front and rear bumpers with additional new chromework. New interior items include black carpets, black tonneau cover and Robbins soft-top and owner’s manual.
The original-style leather seats are very comfortable and broken-in. The dashboard is correctly painted body-color. The car has been mechanically maintained as necessary. The upgraded 1,600cc engine starts easily, revs well and has excellent oil pressure and runs great. The steering, suspension, brakes and gearbox are up to the mark. The wheels and tires are excellent. This lovely 1500 model presents crisply with its simple steel wheel set with chrome hubcaps. The car’s underside is clean and detailed. The engine compartment is well-preserved and clean with a recent nice detailing. **TITLE IN TRANSIT**”
Lot #972 – 1951 Bentley Mark VI Sedan
“In 1946, Bentley and Rolls-Royce launched the landmark new “Standard Steel” models, trimmed and painted to a standard rivaling the era’s finest coachbuilders, equipped with a simplified 4.3-liter (4,257cc) F-head inline-six plus 4-speed manual gearbox and independent front suspension. This example is a very rare left-hand-drive, manual gearbox example originally imported into the U.S. via J.S. Inskip of New York in August 1952. It is one of very few examples fitted with the larger capacity 4.5-litre engine while retaining the preferred small trunk boot. It is estimated that just 33 such examples were imported to the US, making this one of the rarest postwar Bentleys.”
Lot #1389.1 – 1955 Chrysler Ghia Streamline X “Gilda”
“This one-off creation debuted at the 1955 Turin Auto Show. Carefully conserved within the Ford Museum and later private ownership, this is turbine-powered and fully running. One of the most influential design studies in automotive history, this has been displayed as a feature car at many of the World’s Leading Automotive Exhibits. From the late 1920s, manufacturers and designers sought to quantify the benefits of aerodynamic or streamlined styles for automobiles.
During the European marketing campaign for the 1946 film noir classic “Gilda,” actress Rita Hayworth was given the nickname “La Vedette Atomique,” or “the Atomic Starlet” for her sleek lines and dangerous appeal. This seems to have prompted Ghia SPA to name its equally sleek aerodynamic study for a jet-powered car after the iconic role played by Hayworth. The styling of the Gilda Streamline X is the work of legendary Italian designer Giovanni Savonuzzi and was commissioned by Chrysler design chief Virgil Exner, who wished to explore solutions for crosswind resistance and rear-end grip, as well as turbine power.”
NOTE: Sold on bill of sale only.
If you’re in the Phoenix area, you still have an opportunity to see these gorgeous cars in person. The auction is running all weekend long; click here for tickets.
For those living in other regions, the massive auction may be coming to a city near you. Here’s a list of upcoming events:
Finally, if you can’t travel to any of these areas, you can watch the event via a free live stream.
You have a choice between “exciting bidding action on the block” or “informative and entertaining presentations on the live stage.”