Four-story-tall, fire-breathing car mangler Robosaurus, a one-of-a-kind metal-bodied Corvette and Carroll Shelby’s personal 1969 Shelby Mustang will be on the block at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January.
What won’t be sold at the popular annual event is as many cars as the last auction.
“We are voluntarily throttling back for the sake of quality,” said Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis.
The annual classic car spectacle roars into Scottsdale’s equestrian park WestWorld on Jan. 12.
It will have its share of crowd-wowing vehicles, including the bizarre Robosaurus, and the Pininfarina-bodied Corvette Rondine, a car built in Italy for the Paris Auto Show and never sold until now, Davis said.
Barrett-Jackson will have the same lifestyle side shows as last January, including the Garage nightclub, the private sky boxes and the car-loving celebrities. But the main event — the auction — will be downsized.
Barrett-Jackson sold 1,270 vehicles at the last Scottsdale event for a combined $112 million. More than 5,000 well-heeled bidders bought the pricey vehicles.
About 250,000 car lovers watched the auction in person, and millions more caught it on SPEED TV or got updates on the Web site.
But the auction lasted late into the evening and many of the cars selling for several hundred thousand dollars wallowed in mud because there was no room for them inside the tents on solid ground.
So Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson said he’ll sell about 20 percent fewer cars in January, and siphon off 250 or so cars to another event. He wouldn’t reveal any details Monday about where or when he will stage the other event.
Jackson said he is scaling down his annual Scottsdale event because West-World is too small and too muddy to accommodate all of the high-end cars that want a spot on the auction block.
He said he wants to provide a place “more nurturing for the cars,” and despite numerous drainage attempts, the WestWorld polo fields turn into a muddy morass when it rains. Jackson, who has been trying to negotiate a solution with Scottsdale city leaders for years, said he’s done talking and will just make the show smaller to fit the accommodations available.
“We need to make the event fit in Scottsdale,” Jackson said.
Scottsdale spokesman Pat Dodds said he didn’t know if the city also thought negotiations were over. “We are continuing at staff level to talk,” he said. “Barrett-Jackson has proven it’s very effective in this business. And if this is the direction they feel they have to go, we respect that.”
Jackson said the Scottsdale show will be just as much a show stopper as in the past.