HomeCar CultureCommentaryWhat makes Arizona Car Week special? It’s the people

What makes Arizona Car Week special? It’s the people


Sunset makes this E-type Jaguar appear to glow as it awaits its turn on the block at Russo and Steele auction | Larry Edsall photos
Sunset makes this E-type Jaguar appear to glow as it awaits its turn on the block at Russo and Steele auction | Larry Edsall photos

I had an epiphany of sorts during Arizona Car Week 2017. Well, actually two of them:

  1. You can’t be everywhere at once, so don’t even try.
  2. The best part of the gathering of the clan of the car, in this case here in the Valley of the Sun, really isn’t the cars, as spectacular as they are, but the people they bring, and in the case of Arizona Car Week, they’re brought to the place where I live. How cool is this: I get to see amazing cars, talk with fascinating people, and sleep each night in my own bed.

Since I’ve finally realized that I can’t be everywhere at once, I didn’t even try, yet I made it to nearly every venue on the schedule at least once, well, with the exception of Mitch Silver’s auction out in Fountain Hills. Fortunately, Professor Silver (Mitch’s former profession) and his team will be back in mid-March for another of his low-key sales at Fort McDowell, so hopefully we’ll get a chance to chat then.

Packard hood-ornament wheel fits nicely on poster car at RM Sotheby's
Packard hood-ornament’s wheel fits nicely on posterized Lamborghini Miura at RM Sotheby’s

This year, I think I did more chatting with people than checking out of cars during this Arizona Car Week than I’ve ever done at any such venue. Yes, I missed seeing the hammers fall on some million-dollar machines, but I wouldn’t trade one of those cars for the experiences I had.

My Arizona Car Week actually started a week early, with Barrett-Jackson’s annual media preview day.

Then, for me, the official week spanned nine full days, from watching fifth graders bidding on die-cast model cars in the Worldwide Auctioneers tent as part of the Hagerty Test Garage to meeting four students — three guys and a gal, three in college and one in high school — who were smiling but exhausted at the RPM Foundation auction-week afterglow after a week working as interns with Seven, detailing cars at the Gooding & Company auction from sun up until well after dark.

In between were the Arizona Concours d’Elegance and its day-before seminars; ClassicCars.com’s own Future Classics Car Show; visits to the Barrett-Jackson, Bonhams, Gooding & Company, RM Sotheby’s, Russo and Steele (twice, the first time to be part of the Coker Tire panel of experts) and Worldwide auction venues; plus a trip to the East Valley Institute of Technology, where the RPM Foundation is working to add automotive restoration classes added to the technical and career education programs that daily attract 5,000 area high school students.

What a week! As the old television show would put it: That Was the Week That Was. And like those car-detailing student interns at Seven, I’m exhausted but energized at the same time. Car weeks will do that to you. And aren’t we glad they do!

Photos by Larry Edsall

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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