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Barrett-Jackson 2015
Lens: A 50 f/1.2, OM Zuiko 24 f/2.8, CZJ Sonnar 135 f/3.5 Camera: a7r Photo Location: Scottsdale, Arizona ISO: 800 
Posted By: scratchpaddy, 02-19-2015, 06:02 PM

The desert southwest is a sort of classic car mecca. With roads that have never seen a pinch of salt, and well under ten inches of rain per year, things just don't rust away. With a little TLC, cars can last forever here.

For a week in January every year, classic cars fill a 300-acre equestrian facility in Scottsdale, which is like the Beverley Hills of the Phoenix metro area. Outsiders like to refer to it as "Snobsdale." Barrett-Jackson now hosts auctions in Las Vegas, Reno, and even Florida, but this is where it all started.

The auction had not yet started when I got there, but the cars were already lining up on their way to the block.



Of all the styling phases cars have gone through over the decades, my favorite has always been the swoopy, art-deco style of the 1940's. Even this run-of-the-mill '49 Mercury Monarch is a work of art in my eyes. It sold for $28,600.



The auction attracts many sponsors, not the least of whom are the ones who make the cars. The Big Three were all offering professionally-driven hot laps around a safety-cone course set up in one of the facility's back lots. Ford had their Mustangs, GM had their Corvettes, and Chrysler (Fiat now, actually) had their Vipers. I did the Corvette last year, so I tried the Viper this time. It was much faster than my early-90's econobox, I'll tell you that.



On the other side of the speed spectrum, here's a BMW 600. The description dared to describe it as a "limo." See that handle on the front, beside the passenger-side headlight? That is a door handle. The entire front of the car is a door. I don't see how you could fit in there otherwise. It drove away for $34,600



Yes, fuzzy dice. They go together with classic cars like velvet and Elvis. This was not the only set I saw that day, for sure. ('58 Impala, $49,500)



Meanwhile, the auction had started inside. It was the red-haired lady's job to slap the SOLD stickers on each car as it left the block. As far as I could tell, the job was hers and hers alone all day, 12 hours or so. ('27 Dodge Graham Custom Candy Truck, $19,250)



If possible, the cars were driven up onto the block under their own power, but they were always shut off during the bidding, and they weren't started again until they left the building. Black clouds of smoke were a common result of starting these things. Foot power was used to get them there. ('68 Camaro, $26,400)



These two gentlemen opened and closed the curtains to let the cars out. Like the "SOLD" lady, they never seemed to take a break.



Up on the block, the cars got a close inspection by potential buyers and who knows how many cameras. There was even one under the floor, looking up through a transparent panel. This Buick is actually a common Skylark later built up into a copy of the (in)famous GSX Stage 1. $25,300 took it home. A genuine GSX would likely earn three times as much.



Most recognize this car as a time machine from certain trilogy of movies in the 1980's: a DeLorean DMC-12. They are not all that rare by collector car standards, but it's still cool to see one in person. This one was not in the movies, but nevertheless came with authentic signatures from Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Sitll, it only fetched $29,700.



Just look at that naked stainless steel. It's like a rolling refrigerator. Early customers complained of fingerprints.



One day was not enough to see all that was on offer here. That red convertible closest to me is a '41 Packard One-Twenty Custom, which went for not a penny less than $495,000.



This 2014 BMW i8, Bavaria's latest hybrid supercar, was an unusual sight in a place where the vast majority of cars are older than me. Of course, this one is much faster than the other BMW above. $154,000 was all it took to get this one into someone else's garage.



I will have the rest of the pictures from that day sometime soon. I actually haven't processed all of them yet.
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02-20-2015, 05:40 AM   #2
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I've seen these auctions on TV and I really enjoyed the "behind the scene" photo you took. Nicely done.

Tim
02-20-2015, 09:04 AM   #3
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This is a terrific series that captures the dynamic feel of a big car auction. Well done both creatively and technically.

Last year, I attended a Mecum auction in Houston, a totally indoor affair that I photographically treated as a huge car show rather than focusing on the auction itself. If I go again in March, I may take a page from your book and try to spend more time around the car preparation area and the auction block.

I'd dearly love to attend a Gooding or RM auction sometime; my sense is that these companies focus more on the sports and GT cars that are of primary interest to me. I love the old muscle cars (I grew up with 'em), but there are just so many Mustangs, Chevelles, Camaros, GTOs (et. al.) that I can watch cross the block and still call it fun.

Again, great shots.

Jer

Last edited by Sailor; 02-20-2015 at 09:30 AM.
02-20-2015, 05:12 PM   #4
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these photos are a pleasure to view, and a nice descriptive caption for each is great.

The second photo is my favourite. Well done!

02-20-2015, 05:50 PM   #5
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enjoyed your photos and narrative, would be a fun place to attend without checkbook
02-23-2015, 04:44 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by atupdate Quote
I've seen these auctions on TV and I really enjoyed the "behind the scene" photo you took. Nicely done.

Tim
Thanks, Tim! It's a great place to go in person, as very little of it is off limits.

QuoteOriginally posted by Sailor Quote
This is a terrific series that captures the dynamic feel of a big car auction. Well done both creatively and technically.

Last year, I attended a Mecum auction in Houston, a totally indoor affair that I photographically treated as a huge car show rather than focusing on the auction itself. If I go again in March, I may take a page from your book and try to spend more time around the car preparation area and the auction block.

I'd dearly love to attend a Gooding or RM auction sometime; my sense is that these companies focus more on the sports and GT cars that are of primary interest to me. I love the old muscle cars (I grew up with 'em), but there are just so many Mustangs, Chevelles, Camaros, GTOs (et. al.) that I can watch cross the block and still call it fun.

Again, great shots.

Jer
Thanks very much, Jer! With all the people in attendance, I be really frustrated if I preferred carefully-arranged shots. Everything was in motion there, so I tried to catch some of that motion in the pictures, too.

I actually didn't spend a whole lot of time by the actual auction block, especially towards the end of the day when a massive crush of people kept you from getting anywhere close. The staging and prep areas were fascinating, though. I tried to see most of the displays, too, but 11 hours was just not enough time to see everything.

Here's a little more muscle for you, if you don't mind the new ones. Dodge was offering a drag-strip experience in a pair of Challenger SRT Hellcats. I didn't bother, since the strip was far too short for these 707hp 'cats to really show their claws.



QuoteOriginally posted by silver_dragon Quote
these photos are a pleasure to view, and a nice descriptive caption for each is great.

The second photo is my favourite. Well done!
Thanks! The second is my favorite as well.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bob Harris Quote
enjoyed your photos and narrative, would be a fun place to attend without checkbook
Yes, that last part is important! You might have some 'splainin' to do otherwise.
02-27-2015, 12:50 PM   #7
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Very nice series, well done.
Igor
03-13-2015, 08:00 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Pentigor Quote
Very nice series, well done.
Igor
Thanks for taking a look, Igor!

I finally finished with the other half of my pictures from that day, which you can find here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/12-post-your-photos/290711-machinery-barrett-jackson-2015-part-2-a.html

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