Stars' cars attract onlookers at Barrett-Jackson auction - East Valley Tribune: Business

Stars' cars attract onlookers at Barrett-Jackson auction

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Posted: Thursday, December 9, 2004 9:32 pm | Updated: 5:39 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

A 1963 F1 split-window Corvette coupe once owned by Nicolas Cage, star of the new hit Hollywood adventure “National Treasure,” could rev up lots of interest at the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction slated to roar into Scottsdale’s WestWorld Jan. 25.

Vintage movie fans may show up to check out the 1953 Glasspar G2 Roadster owned by actor James Garner and used in the 1954 motion picture “Johnny Dark,” starring Tony Curtis.

Star cars may not be the biggest money-getters at the annual auto extravaganza, but they are crowd favorites.

They attract fans who come to gawk at the celebrity vehicles, and hopefully their owners, who frequently come to help hawk their prized sedans or purchase new ones.

During the January 2003 event, Cheech Marin and Don Johnson drove their buggies onto the block.

Last year, comedian Tim Allen bought a car. Rocker Bob Seger bought three.

For the upcoming auction, cars owned by Cage, Garner, Vin Diesel, Jodie Foster and Eddie Murphy — either in real life or movie roles — will get the gavel.

And the Manhattan taxi used by the cast of the television hit “Seinfeld” is scheduled to be auctioned.

Series star Jerry Seinfeld has watched his own cars sell at past Barrett-Jacksons and could show up to check out the tote on his TV taxi.

“You just never know with celebrities who will show up out there,” said Craig Jackson, president of Scottsdale-based Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. “Barrett-Jackson has become more of a lifestyle event. It’s a place where celebrities can feel comfortable and have fun.”

And make a deal.

“For a lot of celebrities, these cars are their hobbies,” Jackson said. “They are just cool to drive.”

Jackson said big names in sports and entertainment always show up, but most like to keep a low profile and stay inconspicuous as they case the place. So he never confirms a star’s prospective appearance.

The celebrities and their cars “add to the glitz and glamour,” of Barrett-Jackson, said David Roderique, Scottsdale’s economic vitality director.

“It furthers the cachet of the event, and reinforces the (idea) that this is the place to go to buy a classic car,” Roderique said. “But true car aficionados would probably come anyway.”

Barrett-Jackson is one of Scottsdale’s top tourist events, filling pricey hotel rooms and tables at gourmet restaurants.

And with 24 hours of broadcast live on cable's Speed channel, the auction generates tourist visits, Roderique said. The TV coverage keeps Scottsdale and its upscale image top-of-mind among classic car fans — many of whom are the well-heeled folks Scottsdale hopes to attract.

The wealthy tire kickers shelled out a combined $38.5 million for vehicles at the last Scottsdale show and sale.

Jackson said he expects this year’s take to top $40 million, which he admits is a conservative estimate. A record 98 percent of the 762 cars up for bid sold at the January 2004 Barrett-Jackson. For the upcoming event, Jackson has added another day, making room for 900 cars. Already, all the spots are taken, he said.

“We’re sold out,” he said. “And this year every car is at no reserve.”

That means none has a minimum bid, so all the cars will sell.

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