A school holiday, free admission for young tire-kickers and dirt-cheap entry fees for their parents should attract a crowd today to the usually posh and pricey Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.
The Super Bowl of car auctions revs up its weeklong stint at WestWorld of Scottsdale with Family Value Day, an opportunity for car lovers of all ages to ogle the Porsches and Packards, the Bentleys and Buicks, some of which could sell for $1 million or more when the auctioneer lifts the gavel starting Tuesday.
This year, there are 1,240 vehicles to preview, some oneof-a-kind car stars such as a Russian rescue craft used to pluck returned-to-earth cosmonauts from the wilds of Siberia; a CNN Hummer that saw action in Iraq and was later overhauled by The Learning Channel’s Chip Foose; a 1930 Duesenberg Model J; auto icon Carroll Shelby’s personal Shelby Cobra 427; and the last Corvette Stingray.
If the cars aren’t enough to interest every family member, there are hundreds of vendors selling everything from gourmet grub to chic clothes, auto and home decor, art, even condos.
And there is a collection of rock ’n’ roll and memorabilia worth at least $1 million. Music fans can check out clothing, instruments and personal items once owned by such top rock figures as Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Johnny Cash, among others.
Prized pieces like the Abbey Road piano where many of the final Beatles songs were penned and played before the legendary band broke up, the lyrics handwritten by George Harrison for “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” a life-size bronze statue of Bill Haley, who many consider the first real rocker, along with the 1940 Martin guitar he made history with, should spike music history lovers’ interest.
The rock ’n’ roll memorabilia auction begins at 5:30 p.m. today and continues throughout the week.
“Family Day gives people the opportunity to enjoy the event, the ambiance, the cool displays and the vendors in a (laid-back) setting, and they can observe the inaugural rock ’n’ roll event,” said Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis. “It’s a lot of bang for a buck,”
Last year, more than 12,000 adults and 15,000 kids showed up for Family Value Day, said Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson.
“They were lined up when we opened the gates at 8 a.m.,” Jackson said. He’s expecting at least as many this year.
Barrett-Jackson’s main event is selling really expensive cars to people who can afford them, and this year Jackson has added more attractions, such as new nightclub The Garage, and upscaled others such as the Lifestyle Pavilion, now an invitation-only venue, to entertain the big spenders.
But Jackson said events such as Family Value Day are aimed at including all car lovers, whether they can buy — or only eye — the pricey autos.
“Bidders have privileges, but everybody is welcome at Barrett-Jackson,” he said.