Jim’s Blog: Firing Up a New Year

The auction year rumbles to life this week, with Barrett-Jackson, Russo and Steele, RM, Gooding, Bonhams, and Silver all hosting auctions in sunny Arizona.

The Arizona stats speak for themselves. Typically, we see about 2,800 cars cross the auction blocks in the Grand Canyon State, and last year, 2,300 of them sold for a combined $253m — a highest-ever auction total out of the Janaury week. High-end million-dollar cars always steal the spotlight here, but the sheer number of cars available makes it a fantastic destination for buyers at every price point — from $200k Corvettes at Gooding in downtown Scottsdale to $5k pickups out among the catcus at Silver in Fort McDowell.

I expect we’ll see business as usual with regard to the market and sales total this year, with one big difference — and it’s a whopper. Barrett-Jackson’s addition of the Pratte Collection to their consignment lists is sure to boost not only their own final figure, but I think it’ll make a huge difference in the week’s grand totals as well. How much? Well, it’s been a while since I’ve dusted off the old crystal ball, but considering where the market has been going overall and the addition of Pratte’s very high-profile consignments, I think we might see $300m when the dust settles. Pratte’s cars, like the Shelby Super Snake and the Parade of Progress GM Futurliner, were all multi-million-dollar headliners when they sold at Barrett-Jackson in years past, and here we have them all together, for sale again. It should have a pretty significant impact on the market and our total.

Our staff is at all the auctions and events this week. Publisher Martin is filming episodes of “What’s My Car Worth” at Barrett-Jackson. We’ll have a booth at Gooding starting on Wednesday. We’re also hosting our ACC Seminar on Wednesday morning at Barrett-Jackson (inside Monterra, the building behind the long display tent), and we’re hosting the Sports Car Market seminar at Gooding on Thursday monring. If you haven’t already signed up for the seminars, it’s not too late.

If you’re not going to be on-site, don’t worry — we’re putting all of our coverage together for ACC #20, which includes profile cars and auction reports from all the sales in the area. The Arizona issue hits mailboxes in February.