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Resource Guide
Auction Central
By Larry Edsall
Back to Community

Classic car auction year opens with Arizona events
By Larry Edsall

Larry Edsall at Arizona Auction Week already is upon us, and the classic car enthusiast’s biggest challenge is trying to be in several places at the same time because there’s so much to see and to do all over the Phoenix area.

AAW started early with the Scottsdale International Winter Classic Car Auction and Motoexotica’s second annual Phoenix Classic & Exotic Car Auction, as well as the "West Coast" debut of the documentary movie, The Quest, as part of an historic racing car and racers reunion, and Barrett-Jackson’s road rally and family value day preview.

Bidding begins Tuesday at Barrett-Jackson’s 41st annual Scottsdale auction, where the big pre-event news is the company’s bid to regain its position atop the classic car auction world with the introduction of The Salon Collection. Barrett-Jackson hasn’t posted a million-dollar vehicle sale at Scottsdale since 2008, but the Salon includes 32 cars that could bring back the auction’s headline-generating glory days.

Those vehicles include a 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow, a 1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy Town Car, a 1940 Isotta Fraschini cabriolet, a 1959 Delahaye 135 MS prototype, and a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL "gullwing" coupe, all from the Blackhawk Collection; the 1947 Bentley Franay, a 1948 Tucker Torpedo and other vehicles from the Ron Pratte Collection; as well as stellar cars from the Gordon Apker, Butch Brockmier, Tom Crook, Mark Hymen, Bob Lorkowski, George Lyons, Chuck Swimmer, Brett Torino, and Ervin Woller collections.

Regardless of how those or any of the other vehicles sell, the Barrett-Jackson auction is sure to make history with its 2 1/2-pound, nearly 600-page auction catalog.

Bidding at Barrett-Jackson continues through Sunday. Wednesday, the Phoenix Automotive Press Association tries to help auction-goers sort through the schedule with its annual Arizona Auction Week Preview, which each of the auction houses making presentations, with a panel of experts discussion featuring Jim Pickering of Sports Car Market and American Car Collector; Ken Gross, a Pebble Beach selector and judge and former Petersen Museum director; and McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of Hagerty Insurance and founder of the Historic Vehicle Association. If tickets remain, they’re available at

Cars cross the block at Russo and Steele starting Thursday and running through Sunday. The auction’s annual panel discussion about the state of the collector car hobby is Friday morning from 9-11 a.m.

Consignments include a 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra prototype, the 1953 "Noland Adams" Chevrolet Corvette that was the model for the U.S. postage stamp, the 1967 Chevrolet Camaro "Cherokee" pace car, 1967 Picket Racing Corvette, 1948 Ford "Vendetta" custom pickup, and many other American muscle and European exotic cars.

Also Thursday, from 8-9:30 a.m., the Collectors Foundation launches its first Bring Back Shop Class series featuring Corky Coker, president of Coker Tire, and Michael Schneider, president of McPherson College, the only college in the country that awards a four-year degree in automotive restoration.

Panel discussions Thursday include the Corvette Market Insider’s at Barrett-Jackson and three hosted by Hagerty at the Roger Penske’s Scottsdale dealership complex and motorsports museum -- the World of Shelby, Entry-Level Collector Cars, and Emerging Collectibles.

Thursday also marks the launch of a new Arizona auction, a one-day sale by Bonhams, with a consignment list that includes a 1924 Isotta Franchini Tipo 8 Torpedo tourer, a Dietrich-bodied 1932 Packard Model 904 Victoria convertible, and a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I transformable convertible sedan formerly owned by movie star Marlene Dietrich. Bonhams also will sell automobilia collected by the late automotive journalist David E. Davis Jr., and Davis’s 9,000-mile 1951 Cadillac Series 62 coupe.

RM Auctions and Gooding and Company stage their top-of-the-market auctions Friday and Saturday with their usual array of dazzling consignments. Among those in which the bidding could reach seven figures are:

At RM -- 1930 Duesenberg Model J dual-cowl phaeton, 1952 Ferrari 342 American coupe speciale, 1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica coupe, 1959 BMW 507, 1963 Ferrari 250 Gt Lusso berlinetta, and a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder.

At Gooding -- 1927 Bentley 6 1/2-liter sports tourer, 1929 Bentley 4 1/2-liter dual cowl sports tourer, 1930 Duesenberg Model J disappearing-top convertible, alloy-bodied 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe (as well as steel-b0died ’57 "gullwing"), 1958 BMW 507, 1959 Ferrari 250GT California Spider, 1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast, 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, and 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV

Or, if you’re in pursuit of "affordable" classics, Silver Auction’s annual sale at Fort McDowell also is Friday and Saturday.

Larry Edsall at Mecum launches its 25th season

From Phoenix, the classic car auction action moves to Florida, where Mecum Auctions celebrates the start of its 25th season with its annual Kissimmee Event. The consignments for the auction, which runs January 24-29, include a few hundred cars and some spectacular boats, including Miss America VIII, Gar Wood’s two-time Harmsworth Trophy winner.

Powered by a pair of V16 engines created by Indy racing legend Harry Miller, Miss America VIII won the Harmsworth Trophy in 1929 and 1931. The 1931 race was acclaimed as the world’s largest spectator sports event, attracting some 600,000 people to the banks of the Detroit River.

Click here for event calendar.


Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.

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