Car-lovers from around the world are convening in the Valley this week to experience the latest offerings from Phoenix-area car auctions as part of the annual Arizona Auto Week.
Barrett-Jackson, dubbed the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction,” began in 1971 and now fills the expansive WestWorld event venue in Scottsdale with rare auto collectors and enthusiasts. The auction sold more than 1,800 pieces of “automobilia” and 1,700 vehicles in 2018 and brought in over $102 million in sales, according to the Experience Scottsdale tourism website.
“It’s a world-class event,” said Craig Jackson, CEO and Chairman of Barrett-Jackson. “I have people come from all around the world… it just keeps growing.”
The Barrett-Jackson auction is open through January 20. Other automobile auctions in the Valley include:
- Russo and Steele from January 17 to 21 at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale
- Bonhams on January 18 at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale
- RM Sotheby’s from January 18 to 19 at Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix
- Silver Auctions Arizona from January 18 to 21 at We-Ko-Pa Resort & Conference Center in Scottsdale
- Gooding and Company from January 19 to 20 at Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale
Barrett-Jackson has consigned a historic 1,800 no-reserve vehicles for 2019, the most of any collector car auction, Jackson said.
“We’re the biggest there is; everybody comes to town for Barrett-Jackson,” Jackson said. “It actually started over 50 years ago as a charity car show.”
Charitable giving is a “core part” of the auction each year, Jackson said. The auction’s primary beneficiaries include organizations that help kids, military veterans and patients with cancer and heart disease. Proceeds from a Camaro selling Thursday night will go to support Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
In 2018, the Scottsdale auction brought in $6.21 million for nonprofit organizations, according to a press release.
“Just one car last year was $2.5 million,” he said. “We’ve raised over $105 million for charity so far.”
Barrett-Jackson attracts car enthusiasts from around the world and sees more than 300,000 visitors every year, including a number of prominent celebrity guests, Jackson said.
Rare and low-mileage cars are among the most highly-anticipated auction items for the popular Barrett-Jackson Saturday Showcase on January 19, and several limited-edition supercars will be making appearances. Unique vehicles at auction include a rare Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 off-road truck, a highly-capable, handmade beast with an MSRP of over half a million dollars and a potential resale value in the millions.
“More exotics than ever, more restomods,” Jackson said. “We’re making a generational change, and you’ll see it in the cars offered out at the auction now.”
A restomod is a cross between “restoration” and “modern” — a vintage car that is identical to the original vehicle but has had significant performance upgrades to the engine, transmission and other systems using modern parts. These are popular with generation X and millennial car buyers, who are making up a greater portion of Barrett-Jackson shoppers.
“You can restomod anything, from a Porsche, Jaguar, Chevy, Ford — modern drivetrain, modern suspension, update the whole car but still have it look like a vintage car,” Jackson said. “And that’s hugely popular, more this year than ever.”
Russo and Steele, another collector car auction launched in Scottsdale in 2001, will also see its fair share of rare vehicles this year, including one that will give back to people in need.
Plexus Worldwide, a global philanthropic company based in Scottsdale, will be auctioning a Lexus LFA supercar — one of only 500 ever made — to benefit Feeding America, the largest nonprofit organization in the U.S. combating domestic hunger through a network of food banks, according to a press release.
“No one can thrive on an empty stomach, and we are so proud that through Plexus’ Nourish One Initiative and our partnership with Feeding America, we have already contributed funding for more than 4.5 million meals to children and families in need in just six short months,” said Tarl Robinson, CEO and founder of Plexus Worldwide, in the press release. “With the donation of this rare Lexus LFA, we’re excited to see how many more meals can be added to that ever-growing total.”