Posted by: Phil's Classic Chevys | January 24, 2011

Barret-Jackson Scottsdale Auction


(Jan. 21, 2011)

From the most avid to the casual car collector, the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction every January has become must see TV. Speed Channel covers a large portion of the event and has excellent commentators who do a good job of talking about specific details of the vehicles they show crossing the auction block. I’ve found it to be not only a source of knowledge about classic Chevys, but also a way to learn about very nice non-Chevys. The auction also helps set the market values for well restored collector or special interest cars.

My ritual for Barrett-Jackson is a bit obsessive. Before the auction begins, I print out the list of cars with their respective lot numbers. I then check out the daily schedules, and, based on lot numbers, try to judge about when during the day cars of interest will cross the block. I note each one and convince my wife to watch our regular TV shows on another TV to avoid the frequent interruptions.

As each of the selected cars (most of which represent the five older vehicles on this blog) approaches auction time, a sense of excitement builds. I wish I could say the excitement is rewarded by viewing vigorous bidding that climaxes with a winning bid that shows a growing car investment portfolio. This year, like the last few, excitement has been replaced with frustration.

As I watch the car before one of my selected ones roll off stage, six out of eight times so far this year Speed Channel decided to go to a commercial or a promotion. When they come back to the auction, the car of interest and one or two others have been sold. Even the dog doesn’t want to be around me when this continually happens.

The only alternative is to then wait a while and go to the Barrett-Jackson website to see what the car sold for. While doing this gives the required information, it lacks the excitement of watching the bidding grow.

By the way, the listed selling cost on the website includes a buyer’s premium of ten per-cent. The seller also pays an eight per-cent consignment fee. So, for a car that is auctioned for $100,000, the buyer pays $110,000 and the seller receives $92,000. The difference apparently goes to Barrett-Jackson. I’m not saying that the fees (which are clearly disclosed) are not deserved, it’s obviously a first class event. But, things are not always what they seem. Also, vehicles are sold at no reserve, which means a seller needs to be pretty confident of the value of any vehicle to be sold at Barrett-Jackson.

Regardless of any past frustrations, I will continue to watch with anticipation. However, it’s probably best that both my wife and the dog leave the room when I tune in.


  1. Phil

    My 35 Chevy 2 dr. coach would look good in your collection

    Larry Fulton

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