20th January 2020: in a press conference with the whole world watching, the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China confirmed what many were dreading: Covid-19 is indeed transmitted from person to person. Barely 3 days later, Wuhan was placed under lockdown. Just 24 hours before this infamous 20th January, Barrett-Jackson’s best auction in Scottsdale ever came to an end: 1929 cars sold and $137.3 million in takings.
20th March 2021: After a two-month delay, Barrett-Jackson’s auction commenced in Scottsdale. Half the planet is still under lockdown across every nation but 100 million Americans have already been vaccinated.
I mention this reality because, as we already saw at Mecum in Glendale, it would appear that in the USA, the virus is psychologically a thing of the past and this breathes new life and confidence into the future. And the buyers are rejoicing.
The Barrett-Jackson auction went very well indeed. All 952 cars were sold (as per tradition, Barrett-Jackson only accepts cars without reserve, with very few exceptions) and with half of the cars on sale compared to the annus mirabilis (952 compared to 1930), no-one expected it to make over $100 million in revenues, $100,084,050 (€85,281,619) to be precise. No less significant was the average price per car that nudged its way to $105,130 (€89,581), a considerable increase from the $71,204 (€60,673) recorded in 2020.
But what impressed me the most was seeing the hall teeming with a veritable swarm of people, even though they were seated in pairs at a safe distance, something we are no longer used to. Hopefully for not much longer.
What would I buy? Here are my choices, hoping they’re yours too.
The only remaining Shelby Cobra Super Snake of the two produced went up for auction. Compared to the competition version, this model could be driven on public roads. Never restored, it was sold in 2015 for $5,115,000 and after six years it maintained its value, this time sold for $5,500,000 (€4,685,202). I almost forgot! Whereas a “normal” Cobra 427 produced something close to 500hp, this one, equipped with two Paxton superchargers, produced around 800…
From “maxi” to “mini”. Among the most curious and rarest cars offered in the spirit of “everything without reserve”, the 1993 Mitsubishi Minica was one of the highlights. Just 3.28 metres long, this Kei car (therefore with a 660cc engine) was a family mini-car: four doors, four seats – admittedly a little narrow – and a three-speed automatic transmission. Sold for $6,820 (€5,810), it would be magnificent to be the only person in town to own one.
Who remembers our police supercar article? Anyone who’s always wanted to play “cops and robbers” with their friends for just $13,750 (€11,713) would have been contented. A 1995 Chevrolet Camaro 5.7. Used as a promotional vehicle for an emergency responder training school in California, it found a new home. Equipped with two accessories dedicated to these cars – the Special Service Pack and the Ride & Handling Suspension Pack – its new owner will need to remove the symbols and flashing lights in order to use it on public roads. Now that’s a tough choice…
Point of interest: what value do “electrified” historical cars have on the market? Barrett-Jackson brought home the first relevant answer to this question with a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible equipped with an electric motor and Tesla battery pack that changed hands for $44,000 (€37,481). A price that hardly covered the conversion costs. However, and this is purely my own opinion, these aren’t classic cars…
One for the “whoever would have thought…?” series, the TV presenter + mechanic, Ant Anstead, has launched a kit to make a replica of the famous 1938 Alfa Romeo 158, known affectionately as the Alfetta. Based on the Alfa Romeo all-aluminum twin-cam 4C, this 2 litre engine has been fully rebuilt to track specifications, it features a cleverly engineered offset rear axle with limited slip differential and adjustable shock absorbers. Without question, this promises an abundance of emotions. The bodywork looks like it just left the factory while the seat is magnificent, a reproduction done really well. A memory, that became a dream which was transformed into reality. $110,000 (€93,704). In terms of fun, it’s worth every cent and the price is fully justifiable. It wants to be and it is a replica. Fully declared and wholeheartedly transparent.