Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale 2010

Where else but Barrett-Jackson?

The 1930 Ford Model A in which John Dillinger and criminal cohorts fled from Melvin Purvis and the FBI in April ’34; Buddy Holly’s ‘58 Chevy Impala, purchased in the days before the day the music died; and a 1952 Watson Roadster customized by Blastolene and powered by a 900-plus-horsepower Patton Tank Engine packing 1,500 foot pounds of asphalt-tearing torque . . .

Where else but Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson 2010 will you experience the thrill of such superb examples of vehicular Americana on the road to new homes? Here, too, you’ll see 1,200 additional collector cars and a vintage 1929 Hamilton Metalplane sold as well as browse aisles of automobilia. In addition, Barrett-Jackson 2010 offers car seminars and lifestyle events focusing on make-up, fashion and fragrances, fine wines and liquors and cooking displays.

Where else but Barrett-Jackson?

The 39th Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event returns to WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Jan. 18–24, 2010, with 40 hours of live high-definition coverage by SPEED during all six auction days. “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions™” begin this year with the all-no-reserve Scottsdale auction and lifestyle event and follow with dates in Palm Beach and Las Vegas as well as, new this year, Orange County.

“Scottsdale 2010 is an automotive lifestyle event unlike any other in the Valley of the Sun,” says Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of the company since 1997 and owner of many classic muscle cars and other automotive collectibles. “Ever since my dad, Russ Jackson, and Tom Barrett fired up the first charitable event back in the ‘60s, our Scottsdale auction has become an annual pilgrimage for everyone connected to this great hobby.”

That charitable component continues today. Each year, Barrett-Jackson auctions cars, for example, whose proceeds benefit one of the company’s many selected charities such as The Darrell Gwynn Foundation, Carroll Shelby Foundation, The Armed Forces Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Vendor and sponsor displays open at 8.a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, and close at 5 p.m. That evening, Barrett-Jackson holds its invitation-only Opening Night Gala. The following day, Jan. 19, the car auction opens at 2 p.m. following the automobilia auction, which begins at 10 a.m. Each night, from 5 p.m. until final gavel, the auction offers a reduced twilight admission price.

On Wednesday, Jan. 20, through Sunday, Jan. 24, the car auction starts up at 10 a.m., following the automobilia auction. Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale closes with the last sale on Sunday.

Car People Selling Cars for and to Car People

“We’re car people,” says Craig, twice named on Motor Trend’s Top 50 Power List in the automotive industry. “One of the reasons Barrett-Jackson is such an electrifying event is that the people most directly involved with the cars in the event — people like Steve Davis and Gary Bennett — were car guys long before I asked them to join this company.”

Just 12 when the first auction was held, Craig began early in life as a car restorer and is still considered one of the best. He’s completed cars from ‘30s Fords to Porsche 911s — every step from pulling them apart for a ground-up restoration to sanding, painting and buffing. He learned, tapping into his father’s and brother’s passions. Russ, for example, loved the big prewar Caddys and Delages and Delahayes.

“I was fortunate to grow up around great drivers, guys like Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Bob Bondurant and, of course, the great Carroll Shelby,” he says. The legendary Shelby will again be an honored guest at the January auction.

As an adult, Craig has extended that passion into competitive racing: In mid September 2009, guiding his 1969 AMC Javelin, he won the 1966–72 Historic Trans-AM division race at the Coronado Speed Festival in San Diego.

Even Nellie, Craig’s mom and matriarch of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company, is a longtime car gal. Born in Pontiac, Mich., she once worked at Fisher Body, a division of General Motors, and, during the mid ‘60s, cruised Scottsdale in her 1937 Cadillac V-16 limousine.

So, too, Steve Davis, president at Barrett-Jackson, and Gary Bennett, vice president of consignment, have solid industry résumés.

Steve, who oversees and manages operations and departments related to auction sales, started out as a drag racer in the ‘60s, popping a high-revving 302-cubic-inch Ford engine into his ’68 Mercury Cougar. “That engine was the down payment on our first home,” he recalls. His wife, Janie, is a consignment liaison officer at Barrett-Jackson.

In the mid ‘70s, Steve was a customer at Barrett-Jackson and, as owner of Valley Oak Auto in California, has long been a well-known and respected purchaser and seller of quality collector cars. He also was one of the founding directors for the Visalia Motorsports Festival in California and in 1997 helped lead the effort in California to exempt 1973 and older autos from new smog restrictions in California.

Similarly, Gary, a car and motorcycle enthusiast, joined Barrett-Jackson in 2002 after years of experience in the restoration, aftermarket and design fields. He founded Bennett Investor Auto Auction, which specialized in classic and special-interest cars, and also established Auto Connection, a highline automobile dealership, and served as president of Lister North America, a Jaguar/Corvette aftermarket tuner company. He’s a racer, too, and has won many awards racing vintage NASCAR, Trans-Am and open-wheel racecars.

Tenacity, Transparency & No Reserve

Tenacity and transparency are everyday standards at Barrett-Jackson. The first ensures both consignors and buyers that the B-J team assiduously checks every vehicle for authenticity — whether it’s a signature “Saturday night car” or not. The second underlines that, from consignment through to payment, the company fully documents the process.

“When you consign a car with Barrett-Jackson, you can be sure that we will complete our due diligence and follow up on every vehicle, regardless of its market value — to make sure that what the consignor is representing the car to be, it is,” Steve says.

“We aren’t perfect, for sure,” Craig adds. “But we employ all appropriate practices in the industry to be as close to perfect as possible. We’re saying to everyone that we’ve set the bar high and want to ensure the legitimacy of the process for everyone, whether they’re buying a million-dollar car or a starter vehicle.”

Bennett notes that, for Barrett-Jackson, a consistent trend over the last four Scottsdale auctions has been the emergence of first-time buyers, people new to the auction process and, perhaps, the hobby of car collecting. “The last thing we want is to suggest any irregularities in any step of the process,” he says. “After all, every auction for us attracts new customers: new consignors as well as new buyers.”

Because of this commitment, Barrett-Jackson has released an Independent Accountants’ Report prepared by a Big Four accounting firm documenting the company’s 2008–2009 auction season (the 12-month period ending June 2009). Issued Sept. 29, 2009, the complete text is at

“Particularly in light of stories that have surfaced recently concerning business practices at other car auction companies, we felt the time was right to have an independent review and validation of our auction practices,” says Craig, who notes that a different accounting firm audits the B-J financial records.

Topics reviewed include validity and consistency of Barrett-Jackson’s consignment procedures; accurate documentation; consistent and documented commission structure on both buyer and seller side; and, timely payment of proceeds to all sellers.

In the same way, the Barrett-Jackson team believes that the all-no-reserve format is the only fair one for all players — the long-time participants in the auction as well as the newcomers. Under the no-reserve format, the B-J consignment staff works closely with the consignors to suggest a fair range of value that their vehicle or vehicles should receive at auction. “Still, we let everyone know that we make no guarantee what the final sales price will be,” Craig says. The auction may or may not provide the seller the value he or she has assigned to the car.

“Only by agreeing to sell all cars at a fair market-driven price can we provide an open environment for buyer and seller,” he adds. “This, we believe, is the only true, the only transparent, way to auction — and provides an accurate pulse of collector-car market today.”

A Not Very Elementary Watson

As always, the cars will be put on the pedestal at Barrett-Jackson 2010.

This year, in fact, that podium will need to be fortified for one of the signature vehicles, a 1952 shark-nosed Watson Roadster, customized by Randy Grubb and Michael Leeds. At 8,400 pounds, the second Blastolene Special is propelled by a 1792-cid SOHC aluminum V-12 engine; it’s air-cooled and fed by dual two-barrel carburetors. The first and only other car like it was finished in 2002 and sold to Jay Leno.

Nearly twice the size of the original Watson, the polished-aluminum-on-black custom is powered by two customized M47 Patton Tank engines and geared with an Allison four-speed that was designed to handle the demands of a Greyhound-sized bus.

“At highway speed, the car burns asphalt,” Gary says.

The Ford Model A coupe, black on brown, is the rarest of the Dillinger cars. While John Dillinger, Hommer Van Meter and John Hamilton were fleeing from Melvin Purvis and 17 other FBI agents in St. Paul, Minn., two FBI agents and one Civilian Conservation Corps worker were killed, and eight more were wounded. Dillinger was not taken that day, and President Roosevelt informed J. Edgar Hoover that he would not accept failure again. Dillinger was finally taken into custody here in Arizona, in Tucson. One collector will capture this unique vehicle for his/her garage.

Another unique vehicle is on the docket — a 1966 Mercury Comet Funny Car. Only five of these “fliptop” dragsters were converted from factory Comets, and this is the lone survivor. The superlight bodies were custom made for the Mercury Racing Division and weighed just 225 pounds. The engine is an Earl Wade-built 10.5-to-1-compression-ratio 427 S.O.H.C. with Crane 646 cams. The famed Art Carr three-speed automatic transmission got this car to the quarter-mile markers quickly.

Two “Shelby” cars will be sold — an original 289 Shelby Cobra, CSX2091, and the first production 1966 Shelby GT350. The Shelby American Automobile Club says that CSX2091 is one of only 453 total street versions of the 289 Cobra built. The car shipped June 11, 1963, to Burton Motors of Sacramento, Calif., and was fully restored in 1991. The aluminum-bodied vehicle features the original 271-horsepower engine, four-speed transmission and worm and sector steering.

The Shelby GT350, SFM6S002, is the very first 1966 production Shelby built and the first of 252 “carryover” cars. This was a standard ‘65 Mustang pulled from the assembly line and modified as a prototype for production 1966 Shelby’s. The car just received a complete ground-up restoration to its original Wimbledon White with Guardsman Blue Le Mans stripes by Cobra Automotive of Wallingford, Conn. Carrying a fully rebuilt 289 HiPo V-8 and backed by the correct T-10M aluminum four-speed transmission, the car has a track legacy, having extensively raced in the Midwest including Watkins Glen.

Finally, the 1958 Chevrolet Impala two-door pink-on-white coupe, with the original engine, was purchased new by Buddy Holly at Meadors-Stewart Company in Clovis, N. M., and given to his family as a belated Christmas gift. It was found after many years of searching in Amarillo, Texas, by Bill Clement, owner of Chevy Craft.

The historical Impala includes authenticated documentation, including the original title signed by Holly’s manager, Norman Petty, to Holly’s dad, L.O. Holly. The singer died in a small-plane crash, Feb. 3, 1959, together with the pilot and fellow singers, “The Big Bopper,” Jiles Perry Richardson Jr., and Ritchie Valens.

For this marquee “Saturday night” event, the Barrett-Jackson team is flying in Peggy Sue, Holly’s girlfriend, who remembers the car when it was dealer new.

You know which song the Crickets will be singing when this Chevy rock and rolls up onto the block.

Where else but Barrett-Jackson?