This article comes from guest contributor and automotive addict, Peter Lane. Peter lives in the upper Midwest, is an artist and firefighter. He enjoys automobile shows and sharing the adventures that they bring!
My brother in law, a friend and I have been to the Barrett Jackson Auction twice now. Both times were eye opening experiences. Each time we have gone, something new has been seen!
If You have had a life-long love affair with automobiles, particularly automobiles that look cool and the ones that go fast, well, this is the place to see. The Barrett Jackson Auction is an adventure all in its own. If you have never been, you should go. The excitement, and the things you see and hear are mind boggling. It really effects all five senses in ways that can surprise you.
So, I can’t get you off to a good start if you’re in denial here. I will be throwing a bone to those who prefer to slide around corners in a rear-wheel drive sports car. . . and . . Well, anything for that matter. A bicycle even!
At Barrett Jackson, you can get anything going across the auction block from a human powered bicycle to a top fuel rail dragster and everything in between.
Lets start with last year.
I had a wonderful adventure given to me by a friend to see the Barrett Jackson auction in Scottsdale Arizona. The place where the auction is held is huge with both inside and outside viewing areas. Row after row, engine after engine, truly unforgettable.
Onlookers both young and old, car savvy or not, craning for a better look and fumbling with cell phone cameras. Its really not hard to understand why. It isn’t just about the money or dollar value of the cars, its also about the history, design, engineering and driving experience of great and even average, cars.
There were all types of exotics and “normal” cars. Most of them were restored to at least factory original, and often far better, levels of fit and finish and operability. Then there were the “seek out the greatest of the great cars”, massage them to – or keep them in – museum quality condition, drive them and enjoy them.
I could easily see myself in many of the cars. Out in the open country or the mountain road dash. Completely euphoric! In the “golden” zone above four grand, the engine is a living, screaming force of nature, determined to squeeze you into the skimpy upholstery until your innards groan. This car isn’t an extension of your body, it is your body, and fast enough is never fast enough. Then I blink and come back to reality.
What truly amazed me was the design of each and every vehicle. Some were designed for a specific reason, others had multiple roles. Many were designed without the aid of a computer, just a slide rule, pencil, eraser and paper. Some vehicles seemed to have the innate ability to out-engineer NASA in every single regard, save for a muscular engine.
One of the amazing things of this particular auction was the PRATTE collection that was being sold. The Pratt collection is an incredible assemblage of automotive rarities and curiosities, a showcase of 140 – plus cars and bikes. You could hit a car show every weekend for the rest of your life and never encounter another example of some of the vehicles that PRATTE had gathered under one roof.
One of the vehicles up for sale from the PRATTE collection was Carroll Shelby’s super snake 427 cobra. It has dual Paxton superchargers and a huge hood bubble to accommodate the blowers. No definitive numbers were ever recorded for the cars horsepower, but with dual superchargers rated at 6 psi each on a 427, one can only speculate on the immense performance capabilities. I was fortunate to hear this car run. Even at idle, there is no mistaking that something way out of the ordinary is lurking under the surface.
Its funny to think that Carroll Shelby put this car up for sale back in the 60’s for $10,500. No takers. And this the year of 2015, it sold for $ 5.5 million. Who would have thought.
All in all it was a wonderful experience. I can’t say I had the where with all to purchase a vehicle, but just knowing I left my thumb print on the right rear fender of a $5.5 million dollar super snake is good enough for me!
Now fast forward to this year. I realized that my brain cells had not fully registered all that it had seen. Its not just vehicles you will find at the event. There are vendors of all kinds selling everything from go fast parts to flagpoles! The artwork at the event is amazing! My brother in law and I do artwork and know good art when we see it. The entire event is done with a lot of class. There is a constant sea of people walking up and down the isles, taking it all in one car at a time. At each stop you learn new things and see new sights even though they may have been made before you were born.
Then you realize that in a lot of ways you’re going down memory lane. You see cars that you grew up with as a kid, then move onto the rides that first got girls to notice you, then onto the ones that cost you more than a house down payment. The memories! You also realize that there are all types of individuals that go to the auction. If your not the type to sweat out some long weekends and bang up your knuckles. Thats OK. Then there are those that selling a rod they built with their own hands is something that they have to learn. It can get emotional. Life is full of surprises. Some of life’s stories are told in just a few seconds by a simple look!
For most of the vehicles, you could tell they started with boxes full of go fast goodies! Months, years were spent re-doing the vehicle in anticipation that someday it would be let out to see daylight and breathe. All fortified in anticipation of the wicked horsepower that is about to put the rest of the vehicle under stress. When it does, you know it, so does everyone else.
If you value the finer things in life and your time is at a premium, this is a great place to purchase a car that has already been done. Our friend actually got a bidders pass which allowed him and the two us of to tag along with “guest” passes behind him into areas that only bidders could go. That was an excitement filled experience in itself. All I can say is that we offered to help by raising his hand up for him but that didn’t get the “yes please” look.
All in all it was a fantastic time. I hope that others can visit and partake in this event. I must warn you though, it can provide a long-lasting stress relief, but to many it becomes addictive!