Arizona Auction Week Is Happening Now!
The Place To Be

One of the great things about Arizona is the mild winter season, especially if you’re a car guy or girl. When half of North America is buried in snow, we’re cruising with the top down.

I’m sure that was a big factor when Barrett and Jackson planted roots in Scottsdale, Arizona over four decades ago, and it certainly helps make this the destination for car fans every January.


Last week I picked up my press pass as the auction was still being set up, and I brought my camera along to catch some of the action for you.


It’s definitely easier to shoot the cars without the massive crowds that attend the week-long event.


I use the term ‘event’ to describe Barrett Jackson very intentionally. What used to be a place of business for shrewd car investors has turned into an international spectacle, combining cars and cash (plus pretty girls and booze) into a huge car show that’s different every year.


Sure, the main focus is cars but many people show up for the party too, which hits critical mass by the final Saturday. It’s my favorite day to attend, and we’ll be there this weekend to capture all the excitement.


One of the reasons we’re covering Barrett Jackson on the closing weekend is that it’s when the most expensive cars are sold. This year will be like no other for the simple fact that Ron Pratte is liquidating his massive personal collection of cars and memorabilia.


When I think back to the biggest sales I’ve witnessed – such as Shelby’s Super Snake, or the Futurliner and Bonneville Special shown here – it was always Pratte pushing the price higher and higher. More often than not, he won.


Through a chance encounter I was able to see his private collection a couple years ago. It’s not a public display by any means, so it was an opportunity I was sure to seize. It’s the only space I’ve stood in that rivals that of Jay Leno’s garage. That’s why we will be there Saturday to watch his esteemed collection get auctioned off, because to see this set of special vehicles go across the block all at once will truly be a once in a lifetime experience.

Wait, There’s More

Ron Pratte’s collection is surely the main attraction this year, but there will be plenty of other heavy hitters too. I know Ringbrothers have been attending in recent years, but I was a bit shocked when I stumbled upon the ‘ADRNLN’ Pantera they built just last year. This is a special car to me since my friend Brian Stupski penned it. Plus I got to talk to Jim Ring as they were building it and was even able to provide some special air filters for the build. I’ll be on the edge of my seat when it goes under the hammer.


Here’s another car that meant something to me when I saw it – a continuation Bill Thomas Cheetah that you might recognize from the stories Sean and I produced a while back.


That’s the really fun part of Barrett Jackson – no matter what you’re into, you can find something you really, really like here. You know I’m a kustom guy, so this is the stuff that catches my eye. It’s always depressing how soft the prices are on kustoms though.


Cars with more mainstream appeal usually do better.


In my experience, the seller is pushing their luck when they bring something that’s too customized to auction. But I suppose you never know who’s out there with a bidder’s pass either…


If you want to know where the real money is, look no further than the Salon Showcase. These are the rarest and most valuable vehicles, cherry picked by Barrett Jackson.


It includes one-offs like the Granatelli Jet-Vette. While cool in concept, it does make my eyes hurt a little.


To me, a far cooler jet-powered car is the Lotus turbine car. Not only did I get to check it out up close, I’ll also get to see what the true value is when it’s auctioned off.


Last year Gas Monkey Garage brought along a black Ferrari F40 they had customized, which sold to baseball player Reggie Jackson for $675,000. What will this factory example bring?


Surely a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing will bring some solid money too.


It’s not all bazillion dollar cars though. I heard this conversation-starting VW Scirocco sold for around $8000 at the beginning of the week. Bargain or bust?


There’s also tons of automobilia to be auctioned off, much of it coming from Pratte’s display.


This wrecked Shelby Cobra had me puzzled. The sign said that it was used in the movie Ironman, so it’s being sold as a piece of Hollywood history.


Whatever you’re into, there’s plenty to see here. Where else are you going to find exotics, muscle cars, hot rods and stock cars all sitting side by side?

Everyone Get Ready

Barrett Jackson is an event of monumental scale, and it must take hundreds of people to prepare the numerous buildings and tents that house the auction cars.


I’m sure you’ve noticed the plastic sheeting on the floors and the random person working here or there in my photos.


The day before the auction opened a few people were still putting the finishing touches on their vehicles, hoping to catch the eye of a prospective bidder.


This could range from a simple wiping down to a full cut and buff job to restore aging paint.


Cars were still being delivered and rolled into the buildings. If you ever drive through Scottsdale during the auctions, you’ll see a large number of old and unique cars being hauled around on trailers and trucks.


Small fixes were made on the spot as well. I know of a few local shops who get very busy this time of year too, making last minute repairs to cars about to cross the block.


Once they were ready, some cars received a plastic cover to protect them from the desert dust.


With all this going on, there were also crews rigging up lights and speakers, testing big screens and moving giant stacks of chairs and tables. This is the main stage, which no doubt has been buzzing with activity all week.


I also noticed some guys doing a little window shopping of their own.


This was the scene just a few days ago, and already the auctions are underway. Some of these cars have already changed hands, I’m sure.

We’ll be back this weekend to bring you more auction action and show you some of our favorites too!

Keith Charvonia
Instagram: SpeedhuntersKeith

Cutting Room Floor


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Whats that red Can-Am looking car next to the Green Cobra?


This seems to be a great event with exceptional cars. And have a look to the bike ! It looks like an old Bat-cycle !


The ring brothers pantera looks like it should be in production today.


dck drftd  That's the Dodge Tomohawk - has a Dodge Viper V10 under there :P


If I'm not mistaken that shortened wheelbase VW was completed by Gas Monkey in the 2014 TV season?


Woah! That V10 'motorcycle' thing. I thought that was off in a basement somewhere to never be seen again.
My wife thoroughly enjoys watching the auction on TV so much that she's suggested one day we make the trip out. Fingers crossed she doesn't change her mind!


mrhumane YES IT WAS they welded a pallet to it so they could work on it!


daileycon yeah...which means its prob a replica and only worth what a marvel fanboy will pay for it lol...


So we can call it Super Rocket now


LavarBowers daileycon Hey, but one of Robert Downey Jr's stunt doubled touched it through a faux metallic Iron Man suit... It must have some significance!


Yeah! The VW t1 of Gas Monkey Garage!


Tell me about that 'GM Bus' thing...


Hopefully they got some better announcers.

A few years back, I heard one of them say, "el camino is spanish for the camino"........ :facepalm:


Based on the tail lights and the vent behind the rear wheels, I would guess some variant of the Ferrari 250 GTO. But I haven't seen one with those rear deck vents or double seat fairings before, and it looks wider than any 250 GTO I have seen before. Perhaps it's a modern take on the 250 using a modern chassis, like the Glickenhaus Ferrari P4/5.


mrhumane It was parked next to a GMG Chevy truck. I don't watch the show so I wouldn't know. :)


daileycon Ha, there ya go! This will be interesting to watch. How do you put a value on a totaled repro Cobra with no drivetrain? Whatever someone is willing to pay.


muhammadilham It sold for $4 million a few years back. Should be cool to watch this year.


DaveT You should come out! The motorcycle was just on display, not for auction.


GregFentonHNHS I love it. Very interested to see what it sells for. It was a "budget" build for Ring Bros, hence the GM LS engine etc.


Love the Ringbrothers Pantera even more everytime i see it! Is that shortened VW camper the one gas monkey did?


suuuuuup Chris Farley reference...hahaha


Give me that blue VW Thing!  Thanks for the post Keith, wish I could make it to this one. I look forward to more coverage. @keithCharvonia


I have seen the Lotus Turbine in person at Ault Park Concours a few years ago. They even started it up for a few minutes.


I'd rock that Scirocco for $8K...


I need to know what the work of art in photo 8/44 is as well as the red beast in 24/44!


I went to Barrett Jackson in Orange County a few years ago. Not what I expected at all. It was a circus of auto related stuff everywhere and awesome cars around every corner.

And on a cool note, back in the day, my grandpa and uncle worked with Pratte before he started his own company. Too bad they didn't go with him, who knows what could of happened if they were there from the start.


I really wish speedhunters would identify more of the cars in the images


@AestheticFetish Not sure which ones you're referring to. Click on Download Wallpaper and post the link in your response. :)


Otis Blank I just read the description, very cool story on that one. I stood right next to it, wish I would have checked it out more now.


KeithCharvonia Ah, actually I didn't see OtisBlank's response naming the second inquiry as the Bizzarrini P538.


Good catch.


@AestheticFetish KeithCharvonia The other one is the Blastolene B-702 built by Randy Grubb. He's been on Monster Garage and sold his 'Blastolene Special' Tank Car to Jay Leno. He's a super cool, nutty dude. I got to meet him at SEMA a few years ago and even show him my Kaiser in person.


Vintage1982Benz I saw that Scirocco at Mecum in Anaheim in November. It didn't sell then and I don't remember what the bidding got up to. It was pretty cool and those fenders were all metal. I don't know if it was worth the $8000 that it sold for but you don;t really see Sciroccos around anymore so it was kind of refreshing.

function over form

I went to the Russo and Steele show and the Barrett Jackson show is 100% better in every single aspect for sure.


Gas monkey bought this for 20,000 said he will fix it up and resell it.


@function over form Really? That's a shame, I was hoping to check out Russo and some of the other auctions next year.


I went to the show this last Saturday. I've been going for 5 years now and each year is better than the last it seems. Really loved this but I'm not quite sure what it is


The Jet-Vette and the Lotus Turbine should be crossing the block in the next hour to anyone who was curious!


Oh Shit, that wrecked cobra looked aluminum bodied??? That is no good!


I moved here literally three days after Christmas this place is paradise for automobiles. I was able to attend Barrett Jackson and Russo and Steele and every where I looked I was impressed by something or another. You can tell the auctions affect the people in town too. I watched a white Lamborghin Huracan and an R35 book it side by side onto Highway 101 leaving westworld(where Barrett Jackson was) Makes me wish I brought my Datsun 260z and my crotch rocket out here because i can't stand my daily


I'm coming next year Keith!! Looks all-time.. I was watching on Tv and drooling!