The World's Greatest Classic Car Auction
A weekend in January, high desert, sporty roadsters, sunshine, beautiful
people and Karmann Ghias; disparate interests converging in an amalgam
of high finance, high hopes and high speed.  The
Barrett-Jackson Classic
Car Auction has become the world-largest and most popular place for man's
eternal love of the machine.  The '39 Duesenberg, '641/2 Mustang, '55
Belair, are all legendary names in automotive perfection.  Hundreds of
dream mobiles auctioned off to mere mortals who carry large checkbooks,
heavy feet and an overwhelming desire for nostalgia.  
Cream puff Caddy's,
high-tensile T-Birds and
sleek-lined sedans are gasped at, whistled to and
drooled upon.  Four days of endless summer in the middle of the Arizona
The Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction,
held in Scottsdale, AZ, is an annual event
that attracts celebrities, car enthusiasts and
dreamers of a yesteryear that no longer
exists.  In these days of catalytic converters
and plastic bumpers it has become a real
joy to be able to, once again, see your face
bend around chrome and strain a muscle
trying to close a car door.
They auction off hundreds of cars in this
one long weekend.  One every three
minutes!  The car your Grandpa paid
$2,000 for, when it was brand new, can
quickly escalate to $150,000.00.  The
tension ebbs and flows for different
people at different times throughout the
affair.  You may not want to buy that
1954 Dodge but the next lot on the
block could be your first car revisited.  
And here was mine, a
red 1966 Chevy
Chevelle with a 427 cubic-inch engine
and leather interior.  Every gleaming inch
had me awash in poetic dreams of my
youth.  Of course, mine only came with the
standard six-cylinder, 283, and vinyl bench
seats but why not bigger, faster and more
As I poked my head into its roomy,
Shangri-la interior, I delighted in the
knobs and shafts that gave me the sense
of power over the neighborhood Pacers,
Sunbirds and Pintos.  How much would
I be willing to pay to live the dream again?  
How about $15,000, $20,000?  
Well if I have to, maybe $25,000 for a
piece of my history.
Much to my dismay, the bidding starts at
$22,500 and quickly escalates before I can
even contemplate how to explain it to the
wife.  I manage to raise my bid card by the
time it has hit $30,000!  What am I doing?  
Someone else please bid!  I would have to
sell both of our cars to afford this.  She's
going to slay me with her roof rack before
that happens!  A man off to my right, who
looks as if he is buying it for his step-
grandson, tops me with a bid of $35,00.
Another joins the fray as I melt into the
shadows.  $40,000, $42,500, $45,000,
$46,440, going once, going twice, sold!  
Sold!  Someone else just bought my
dream car!  My heart sickens as I realize
that someone, probably named Herman III,
bought a car that I once had bought for $300,
used, wrecked and then sold for $1,200, for
$46,440!  I'm going to cry...excuse me...
while I wallow in the mire of broken dreams
and the knowledge of my weak wallet.
The Author and His Broken Dream Mobile
But hey, you can't win them all!  Knowing that I can no longer be a
serious bidder has liberated me to enjoy the festive atmosphere.  
Besides, next on the block is a 1957 Thunderbird!  Why was I bidding
on that other piece of junk?  If the Lottery Gods permitted, that
Thunderbird is what I'd buy.  Ah, to dream, that is what Barrett-Jackson
is all about.  
So many fine automobiles, not even Bill Gates could buy them all.  
Even Don Johnson has to sell his to pay his bills.  He is here with
Cheech Marin selling his fine classics of television fame; the 1989
Ferrari Testarossa from "Miami Vice," the 1970 Plymouth Cuda of
his "Nash Bridges" show and even the 1949 Ford Pickup his ex-wife,
Melanie Griffith, bought him.  People pay twice the amount these
cars are worth just to tool around in the surroundings of fame.
Wandering around the humongous bidding tent, I am dazzled by the
array of car memorabilia, jewelry and artisans of all types.  You can
buy a vintage Esso gas pump for your poolroom, a diamond to appease
your lover after buying a muscle car for yourself or even Life Magazine
ads from 1954 showing your favorite car.  I even find the venerable
baseball hero, Reggie Jackson, selling baseball mementoes!
We leave the tent to enjoy the mild weather of Scottsdale.  A bright,
sunny day shines upon us and we are blinded by the refracted light
from the rows of classic automobiles soon to be on the auction block.  
A 1947 Cadillac, a 1959 Corvette and an eclectic array of specialized
machines line the fairgrounds.  To my surprise we find some cars that
are celebrities in their own right,
Herbie the Love Bug and Woody
Allen's "Sleeper" car!  There is no end to the treats an auto enthusiast
can enjoy.  The Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction is one of the true
great events of the season.  You may be a gear head, a collector, a
nostalgia buff or just a lover of beauty but at Barrett-Jackson, we all
become dreamers!