Russo and Steele Scottsdale 2012

The original Prototype 427 Shelby Cobra, CSX3127, and the “Noland Adams” 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, an NCRS Duntov Award winner, are among the more than 700 European sports and American muscle cars, hot rods and custom automobiles headed for the blocks at the Russo and Steele Scottsdale Arizona Auction, Jan. 18–22, 2012.

This year’s 12th annual auction is in the traditional location as last year’s event, the southeast intersection of Scottsdale Road and the North Loop 101 Freeway, but auction founder Drew Alcazar has significantly improved the site following a long-term agreement with the city.

“We’re very excited about what we’re doing,” says Drew, who owns the auction company with wife Josephine. “The site has been excavated and graded, and we’ve placed lots of asphalt,” he adds, estimating that $500,000 has been invested.

Also new this year is Russo and Steele TV, featuring auction footage, extensive in-depth car videos, rally and car shows and restoration videos.

Outstanding food and automotive vendors as well as inside staging will return: “That was a very dramatic change for last year, a big hit, and everyone has told us how much the inside staging added to the experience of the auction,” he says.

And, as with the 2011 Scottsdale and Monterey Russo and Steele auctions, cars will be available at reserve and no reserve, according to the seller’s desire. “About 35 to 40 percent of our cars should be no reserve this year,” Drew explains. “We’re glad to be able to provide both options.

“A lot of our customers are telling us that they’re bringing their car or cars a long way, and they’re not taking them home,” he adds. “They’re comfortable enough that Russo and Steele will find their cars good homes with the highest bidders. Our sellers will often compliment us after the auction: ‘We sold the car at a fair price and we had a great time. You and your people took care of me, and we’ll be coming back.’”

The Charity Preview Gala takes place Wednesday evening, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m., benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale. Tickets are available online at $100 per ticket. “Each year, we reaffirm our commitment to our community through charitable giving, with the money raised providing significant impact to help others,” Drew says.

The following morning, the annual press breakfast is at 9 a.m. Gates open Wednesday through Sunday at 10 a.m., Wednesday for preview only. The signature Russo and Steele auction-in-the-round immediately follows the daily memorabilia auction, Thursday through Sunday, with the action continuing until all cars docketed cross the blocks.

General admission is the same as last year, $20, with a multi-day discounted admission available. The cost for bidders also remains at $150 for a bidder pass and $50 for a guest pass. All are available online at or at the door.

On Friday morning, Jan. 20, Russo and Steele presents “It’s You Hobby: The Past, Present and Future of the Collector Automobile Hobby Seminar” 9–11 a.m., with special speaker, Randy Fox, who will discuss estate planning regarding your collection.

Signature vehicles this year include these American and European classics:

•1965 Shelby 427 Cobra CSX3127 Street 427 Prototype is one of 260 original 427 street Cobras produced by Shelby American in 1965 and has been owned by celebrities such as Mercury astronaut Scott Carpenter and Sylvester Stallone. Completed Sept. 9, 1965, it was also used for Shelby’s public relations — and, as a result, has been credited with helping make the 427 legend a consumer success. Cobra authority, Colin Comer, acquired it in 2005 and applied the black paint it retains today as well as overhauled it mechanically.

“Few Cobras can rival the unique Prototype designation, noteworthy and celebrity ownership history, historical significance, authenticity, immaculate restoration and attention to detail of 3127,” Drew says. “CSX 3127 is in unblemished, original condition, and, adding to that, if it were not for this particular 427 Cobra and the hype surrounding it, we may not have had any 427 street Cobras at all.”

•1967 Ferrari 330 GTC is in Sera Metallic Blue on a refreshed tan leather interior and blue wool carpets — part of a recent concours-quality rotisserie restoration in which all mechanical aspects have been attended to, including a complete disassembly of the engine and gearbox, overhaul of the suspension and new brightwork.

Debuted at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, the Pinninfarina-bodied 330 GTC carries the original twin-cam 4.0-liter Colombo 300-horse V-12 and a five-speed transaxle connected to a driveshaft within a torque tube. “The Ferrari 330 GTC model has become highly coveted by enthusiasts for its ease of maintenance, driving proficiency and manners, along with the high level of comfort amenities that were introduced in this model,” Drew says. “And, this great car also has the air conditioning option!”

•The “Noland Adams” 1953 Chevrolet Corvette NCRS Duntov Award 99.8 USPS Stamp Car is the result of a 10-year, 2,667-hours restoration completed in 1999 by Corvette guru Noland Adams, a 2003 inductee into the National Corvette Museum Hall of Fame, and his friend Don Mulenhoff. Noland purchased his 1953 Corvette Number 284 in 1955 and began 43 years of ownership. His very special ‘Vette then earned the Bloomington Gold Award, NCRS Top Flight, NCRS Performance Verification Awards and the NCRS Duntov Mark of Excellence Award, scoring a remarkable 99.8 percent.

In 2003 Noland served as technical consultant for the United States Postal Service 1953 Corvette stamp. The preliminary drawings Noland reviewed were based on photos of this car.

Designed by the great Harley Earl, Chevrolet’s chief designer, the 1953 Corvette was limited to just 300, with the first Corvette reaching the end of the assembly line June 30, 1953. The first ‘53 Corvettes were all built by hand. The cars were given to celebrities such as John Wayne. Approximately 225 ‘53s are known to exist, all with the original Polo White-on-red interior with a black canvas top and the “Blue Flame” six-cylinder engine, dual exhausts and three carbs.

•The 1932 Ford “Fusion” Great 8 Contender was hand formed and rolled from aluminum and steel — the first unibody-constructed street rod ever. The one-off copper-color roadster, with a two-tone tan leather interior, was designed and built by Hot Rods By Greg of Lake Bluff, Ill. The Chevrolet customized LS1 engine includes polished aluminum pulleys and custom one-off engine and air-intake covers. The body moldings are hand fabricated from stainless steel, and the rear has an abbreviated sloping profile, adding European styling. Inside is two-toned leather stitched in a pattern matching the metal separating the seats.

“Fit and finish on the roadster is flawless,” Drew says. “I just love the LED lights warning following motorists to keep a distance from this beauty. More than a million dollars has been invested, we’re told, and you can see it. Come out and take it home.”

Good cars like these, with provable histories and “no stories,” will attract premium prices at Russo and Steele Scottsdale in January, he says. The shakeup of the last few years, in which buyers could depend on distress selling by owners caught in the economic downturn, is over. Sellers may be culling out their collections now, but they’re doing so from a position of economic independence and choice.

“Buyers realize that quality cars will cross our blocks in Scottsdale for fair market prices,” he says. “If they want a good car, they know that they will have to pay for a good car.”

Russo and Steele Scottsdale, or call 602.252.2697