Day 209 – Barrett-Jackson Auction

Despite having come to the land of sunshine and outdoors, we are spending our first day in Arizona at an indoor event – the Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale. Walt and I both love vintage cars and I’ve longed dreamed of attending the huge Concours d’Elegance show in Pebble Beach.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: going to a car auction where all of the 1,500 or so cars are for sale is a lot more dangerous than going to a car show. Sort of like going on safari when you should really just be watching the National Geographic Channel at home.

But we’re very practical people. We don’t have room or a need for another car right now. And we certainly don’t need a vintage car.

Plus, I tend to fall in love with the really expensive cars (e.g., 7 figures instead of merely 5).

And, as a failsafe, in order to bid at the auction, Barrett-Jackson requires pre-registration and proof that one has funds. Since we haven’t done that, we simply buy day passes and walk through the cars for hours on end before watching the actual auction for a while.

No harm done.

But, oh the cars!

The auction is taking place at a convention center, to which huge tents have been added for the “salon” cars (the crème de la crème) and a couple hundred or so of the “better” cars with 5 additional outdoor tents, each holding more than 150 cars.

My Dream Car


The first salon car that I see stops me in my tracks: a 1961 Jaguar E type convertible. It is slate gray with red leather interior. I don’t actually need to see any more cars. This sleek, long-nosed convertible is the car of my dreams, in my exact color scheme and everything. It’s a 12-cylinder, manual transmission. It could only get better if I could start it up and take it for a spin.

Walt humors me by taking my picture next to the Jag before we move along.

And he is immediately caught by a 1930 Cord (I didn’t know what one was either, but it was gorgeous.) More pictures.

More Beauties


There’s several Rolls Royces, a phenomenal old Cadillac, dozens of early Mustangs and Corvettes. Shelbys, 1950s T-Birds (yum). I take a photo of a De Lorean, one of my Dad’s favorite cars. We are just in awe of how beautiful these cars are. The bodies are sleek, the paint glistening.

As we continue, we see things we didn’t expect, such as old Volkswagen buses, tricked-out Jeeps, and lots and lots of trucks – everything from 1939 Dodge Power Wagons to 1907s Chevrolets. Walt tells me trucks are hot right now. Too bad for me. I have a bit of a dream of getting a 1950s Ford or Dodge pickup truck cheap and restoring it (in my gray-and-red color scheme) with modern power steering, disc brakes and an upgraded (although not too-powerful) engine so I have a really cool putting-around-town car that can haul groceries and plants and such. Someday.

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After cruising up and down the aisles of the tents outside, we head for the actual auction. Again, no worries that we will “accidentally” bid on something. There are plenty of staff guarding the chained-off sections of sitting where the pre-approved bidders get to sit. We are on bleachers to the side of the huge room.

I’m enjoying the people-watching more than the auction (you get a better view of the cars as they’re auctioned if you’re watching it at home on the TV). Just like any place where crowds gather, there are all sorts of people wearing all sorts of clothing – from super fancy to super casual.

We leave, empty-handed, having thoroughly enjoyed our first day in Arizona.

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