Thursday, April 11, 2019

Barrett-Jackson Auto Auctions

Sixties-era Camaro
Starting today, the Barrett-Jackson auto auction will be running in Palm Beach, Florida. It will run until Sunday.

These auctions are televised and I can watch hours and hours of it. And hours. I love watching the collector cars and seeing how much they sell for. In January, when they held their last sale (that time in Scottsdale, Arizona), I was shocked by how much some cars were selling for. A basic 1960s-era Camaro or Mustang might go for six figures. I didn't know if it was the good economy or what that drove up the price of the cars.

There are basically four types of cars sold at these auctions (and Barrett-Jackson isn't the only one, it's just the one on TV): Used cars, restored cars, "restomod" cars, and custom cars. Oh, and then there's the charity cars.

Used cars (my term) are not classics. They might only be as much as ten years old. They are usually high-end cars such as Porsches, Ferraris, Bentlys. I even saw a black 2007 Corvette Z06 be auctioned off (and it went for a few thousand over the Kelly Bluebook price).

Restored cars are older cars that someone restored to look as new as possible. Most even have period-looking tires (I have no idea where you buy those). I love restored cars. They are usually very pretty. But then I think about owning one. They all have carburetors. And while I know what a carburetor does and how it works, I have no idea how to adjust or maintain one. One car I saw in January had three carburetors.

Restomods are cars that have been restored and modified. You take a 1960s-era Camaro and put in a modern fuel-injected engine, modern suspension, modern brakes, and modern tires. This has an appeal because you get the great look of a older car with the safety and convenience of modern parts.

Customs cars don't appeal to me at all (except classic street rods). This is where you take a car and modify the body to customize it. Usually they shoehorn in a huge V-8 engine, redo the interior, and put big wheels on it.
A Street Rod

A street rod is a Model A Ford (usually) with a huge V-8 engine put in. The roof is usually "copped" (lowered) and there are modern suspension, brakes, and wheels, The only reason I like them is I like the look.

The other game I play is guessing how much a car will sell for. As I said, in January they sold for a lot more than I was expecting. The past few years, Chrysler muscle cars have been going for over $100,000. But this year it seemed almost any classic muscle car for the 1960s would sell for over $100,000. I was shocked. And I can't wait to see what happens in Palm Beach.

Another thing that doesn't surprise me are the guys (almost always men) who buy these cars. They tend to be in their fifties or sixties. So these are the cars they wanted as kids. And, they have the money to buy them. I wonder in 20 years if soupped up Hondas will go for $100,000.

Once I looked into what it takes to be a bidder at one of these auctions. You have to be able to wire the money you bid for the car (if you win the auction) almost immediately. And there's a 6% buyer's fee on top of the bid price. That's in addition to what the seller pays (a percentage of the selling price, I'm sure). They won't take checks.

I like sixties-era Mustangs and Camaros. Not real crazy about stuff made by Chrysler (Dodge, Plymouth) although those seem more popular. My dream car is a restored, pre-1969 Mustang Shelby GT 500. They usually go for well over $100,000.

Well, it's fun to dream.

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