Collector car auction is weeklong extravaganza - East Valley Tribune: News

Collector car auction is weeklong extravaganza

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Posted: Monday, January 5, 2009 6:13 pm | Updated: 12:47 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Where can you check out the first Ford Thunderbird, a 1929 Tri-Motor airplane and a mechanical giant capable of gobbling up both of those venerable vehicles?

At the 38th annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction, which revs up Sunday at WestWorld in Scottsdale, you can eye all of those rare hunks of metal and even buy two of them. The fire-breathing, car-crunching Robosaurus, which sold at Barrett-Jackson last year, is back just to show off this year.

If the 1,000 or so pricey cars pegged to go on the block aren't enough to lure you to the north Scottsdale equestrian park for the weeklong extravaganza, there are plenty of nonautomotive things to see and do.

There are fashion shows, galas and hundreds of merchants selling everything from elegant apparel to kitschy bar decor. Dining options range from gourmet meals to popcorn.

And there are plenty of places to whet a whistle including The Garage, an upscale bar in a tent. This year, Barrett-Jackson has teamed up with the Gerber Group, which recently opened its elegant Stone Rose Lounge at the nearby Fairmont Scottsdale Resort, to turn the Garage into an ultra-cool celebrity hangout.

In fact, celeb-spotting is a tradition at Barrett-Jackson, as several stars typically show up to hawk their own cars or buy new ones.

Rock star Eddie Van Halen's '56 Chevy, NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s "Big Red" Silverado and fellow NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon's 2006 Monte Carlo race car are among the star cars that will be for sale at the Scottsdale show.

Barrett-Jackson set aside Sunday as Family Value Day so even the pint-sized car lovers can pay a token entry tab and see all the wonders of the event before any of the bidding starts.

As for the auction itself, Barrett-Jackson president Craig Jackson said he's corralled the cream of the crop of collector cars, and he expects just as much interest as in more economically flush years.

Last year, Barrett-Jackson scored a record-breaking attendance of 280,000 and sold 1,163 collector vehicles, three of them for prices topping $1 million.

Jackson has, so far, lined up about 1,000 cars and nearly 4,000 bidders with multimillion-dollar credit lines for the 2009 event, he said.

"Ticket sales are going well," he said. "Hotels should be filled, whether we beat last year's numbers or not."

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