HomeThe MarketNothing risky about Barrett-Jackson’s business in Houston

Nothing risky about Barrett-Jackson’s business in Houston

Tom Cruise-driven ‘Risky Business’ Porsche 928 tops $37.5 million collector car auction


You may have been shocked this past weekend if you heard that a 1979 Porsche 928 sold at auction for $1.98 million. And, indeed, that figure was shocking, at least until you learned that the car was the one Tom Cruise drove in the iconic 1983 teen fantasy movie Risky Business.

The sale was made at Barrett-Jackson’s inaugural collector car auction at the NRG Center in Houston, Texas, where the auction house posted $37.5 million in sales.

Much like Cruise in the lead role in Risky Business, “We rocked the house in Houston,” Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis was quoted in the company’s post-sale news release.

“(We) delivered the kind of results expected from a state that likes to do everything bigger and better,” he added. “We’re bringing new collectors to the hobby with every auction with diverse dockets filled with vehicles that enthusiasts can relate to and enjoy.”

“We’re far more than a car auction,” added company chairman and chief executive Craig Jackson. “We’re an immersive automotive experience with exhibitors, thrill rides and activities that rivals any event.”

Late-model Ford GTs dominated the top-10 sales list at Houston, and would have swept second through sixth places had it not been for a 1966 Shelby GT350 formerly owned and raced by Stirling Moss that sold for $495,000, leaving the GTs in positions 2, 3, 5, and with two of them tying for No. 6 on the top-10 list.

Charity sales are a big part of the Barrett-Jackson experience. At Houston, a 1956 Chevrolet 150 formerly used as an Army staff car was offered up for bidding to benefit Honor flight. The car sold for $425,000, and the buyer immediately donated it back for a second round of bidding that raised another $400,000. With $175,000 in other donations at the auction, $1 million was raised for the program that flies veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the military memorials.

1956 Chevrolet 150
1956 Chevrolet 150 has military history

Top-10 sales, Barrett-Jackson Houston 2021

  1. 1979 Porsche 928 Risky Business movie car, $1,980,000
  2. 2019 Ford GT Lightweight, $1,199,000
  3. 2019 Ford GT, $1,001,000
  4. 1966 Shelby GT350 Stirling Moss race car, $495,000
  5. 2006 Ford GT, $440,000
    2006 Ford GT, $440,000
  6. 2005 Ford GT, $412,500
  7. 1963 Chevrolet Corvette custom coupe, $396,000
  8. 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor tribute edition, $357,500
  9. 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor tribute edition, $330,000
    1962 Chevrolet Corvette custom, $330,000
  10. 1956 Ford F-100 Big-Window custom pickup, $275,000

(Prices include buyer’s fee.)

In addition to vehicles, the auction featured 279 lots of automobilia and that sale produced more than $1 million in transactions, including $77,050 for a vintage Flying A Service animated porcelain neon sign and $69,000 for a 1950s-era Mobiloil Pegasus left-facing porcelain neon sign.

Also sold were two movie-themed and car-related NFTs, the 1959 Ghostbusters Cadillac Ectomobile” re-creation NFT going for $8,000 and The Fast & The Furious franchise 1994 Toyota Supra NFT bringing $6,000.

In addition to car and automobilia sales, the Houston event featured the display for the first time together of the 1967 Ford Shelby GT500 Experimental known as “Little Red” and the only Shelby GT500 convertible built that same year.

Barrett-Jackson’s next auction is its annual Scottsdale event, scheduled for January 22-30.  At that event, Jackson said, the company plans to “celebrate everything we’ve accomplished over our 50-year history, in true Barrett-Jackson fashion.”

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.


  1. As a local, I hope B-J comes back to Houston. I enjoyed the entire experience at NRG. I thought the cars were just ok as compared to other B-J auctions. But this was their inaugural Texas event. Next time can be bigger and better!

  2. With all due respect to Mr Tom but just driving a car in a movie doesn’t construes a basis to be priced at 2 M$ I would have put my money in a rare Ferrari or something rare but not just because anybody drove it…

  3. Personal opinion only. I would NEVER pay a premium just because a vehicle was in a movie or it was driven by some movie star. This whole “provenance” thing is getting totally out of hand. I remember a few years ago, I was watching Barrett Jackson on T.V. and they were pushing this literal bone stock, little old lady’s 4 door, 6 cyl Chevy Nova. They kept going on and about how it was originally purchased at the Yenko dealership in Pennsylvania. I couldn’t believe it.

  4. So much money in a world full of hurt.
    Hey- how many kids could have had a future for what a lame movie car, driven by a “Christian” “Scientist” drone sold for?
    Jeez-us wept. And is.
    Sorry. A pittance for charity in order to legitimize greed and consumption? Lots like the Hells Angels charity smoke- feel good look good to cover up the drugs and violence.
    Not buying it.


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