The automobiles are usually the stars at the Barrett-Jackson World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction. But lately, some other stars have been shining more brightly.
“Primarily, Barrett Jackson has evolved to the point where it is truly a lifestyle event,” said Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davies.
“The celebrity aspect has been impacted by that as well. Barrett-Jackson is a see and be seen kind of thing.”
The theme of “stars and cars” was kicked off Saturday night during the third-annual Childhelp Drive the Dream Gala at Scottsdale’s West-World.
Tickets went for $1,000 a piece to benefit Childhelp, an organization dedicated to treating and preventing child abuse.
Awards were presented to Al and Lisa Molina, owners of Molina Fine Jewelers, and Bill O’Reilly, host of Fox News Network’s “O’Reilly Factor.”
O’Reilly said he was pleased to be in Scottsdale. “I like the desert,” he said.
But he admitted that he’s not much of a car nut.
“My 3-year-old is,” O’Reilly said. “He likes the expensive cars.”
Kathie Lee Gifford, television personality and entertainer, presented the award to O’Reilly.
She said she currently drives a fire-engine red Mini Cooper convertible, though she’s not an auto aficionado.
“I like the guys who drive them,” she said.
The gala attracted other famous figures, including Matt Williams of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The car auction officially starts Tuesday, and Davies said other recognizable faces are expected to show up during the auction.
The cast of “Orange County Chopper” will be attending and selling some cars and motorcycles.
Rock star Alice Cooper is a longtime customer, and singer Pete Seeger and comedian Tim Allen are regulars every year.
Automotive bigwigs Carroll Shelby, Dan Gurney and Parnelli Jones usually turn up, as well.
“Those folks absolutely are living legends in the automotive world,” Davies said. “The Shelby situation transcended the auto world.”
The diversity of people reflects the growth of the auction’s appeal to everyone on one level or another, Davies said. “It is a potentially a place where you could run into virtually anyone,” he said.