“Everything went better than you could have hoped,”
Barrett-Jackson Arizona 2014 at a glance
|Total sales||More than $113 million|
|Catalog||More than 1,400 vehicles|
|Sell-through rate||99.6 percent|
|High sale||$3.85 million
1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe
|Next 9 price range||$990,000 to $2.86 million|
|Next auction||April 11-13 in Palm Beach, FL|
With a record $113-million in sales, with a new television package setting standards for high ratings, and with all of it happening in a spanking new arena, was there anything about the 43rd Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction that didn’t bring a big smile to Craig Jackson’s face?
“Everything went better than you could have hoped,” said Jackson, chief executive and chairman of the auction house co-founded by his father. “Sure, there were teething pains with the new building, but even that was better than you could have hoped for (and attendance also set a record, more than 300,000 people visiting the WestWorld complex during the auction).
“And we made magic (on the block and on television). The Fox broadcast pulled huge ratings; we were No. 3 for the weekend behind football and basketball games,” Jackson said, adding on each of the four Fox channels that carried parts of the auction, “on every network we exceeded their normal ratings.
“Here’s a great one,” he added, “I beat Fox Sports 1 when we were on Fox Sports 2. We pulled more viewers on a network half the size!”
And yet, Jackson said, with viewers having to switch among four channels, there was some confusion. “I wish everybody could have found us,” he said, adding that, “We spent a lot of time on social media trying to direct people.”
Nearly 1,400 vehicles were sold during the auction. Of those cars, 14 were sold to benefit charities, which this year benefited to the tune of $4.4 million. The sale of a 2014 COPO Chevrolet Camaro sent $700,000 to the Achilles Freedome Team of Wounded Veterans, a 2014 Camaro Z/28 earned $650,000 for Cornerstone Schools, and a 1966 Ford F-100 Shelby custom added $450,000 to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan Foundation. Other beneficiaries included the Armed Forced foundation ($750,000 for the sale of a car and an airplane), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation ($300,000 from the first public sale of a 2015 Ford Mustang GT), and the list goes on.
Eight vehicles sold for $1 million or more during the auction, led by a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 for $3.85 million and the 1969 Corvette Rebel race car for $2.86 million. Also exceeding $2 million was a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” coupe presented on the block with famed auto racer Sir Stirling Moss in the passenger’s seat.
“Selling the two L88 (Corvettes) during the Fox broadcast and both setting records, and then during National Geographic (channel) coverage selling the Gullwing with Sir Stirling in it,” Jackson said. “It was an honor to have him there, and it was a spur of the moment thing, but it was shown on the big screen in Times Square in New York!”
But while those were great moments, Jackson said, what he likely will remember longest about the auction was the moment that Don “The Snake” Prudhomme drove a nitro-burning Hot Wheels funny car onto the auction block.
Jackson revealed that the magical moment had been rehearsed the night before so the Scottsdale fire department could give its approval to fire up such a car inside a building.
Speaking of that building — the massive new pavilion forming the cornerstone for an L-shaped unit of buildings and tents that stretched eight-tenths of a mile — it not only provided good air exchange but permanent bathrooms and an environment in which weather is not an issue.
The Hot Wheels cars — two racers and the trucks that hauled them during their historic series of races — didn’t sell on the block, but a deal was done immediately afterward for them to be purchased by NASCAR racing team owner, car collector and mega auto dealer Rick Hendrick.
“It was win-win at the end of the day,” Jackson said, who said Prudhomme was adamant that the set of four historic vehicles stay together.
“The Snake is happy where the cars are going. Rick’s happy to get them, but now, he said, he has to figure out where to put them.”