Let’s say that you’re in the market for a new vehicle and you go to an auction to pick one up. You want it to be 100% original, numbers matching, the whole enchilada. If one comes across the block, how do you know it’s authentic? Is it the real deal, or did someone build it up from a lesser example?
This is the problem facing buyers and sellers at every collector-car auction.
Barrett-Jackson has come up with a way to solve this issue. They don’t offer a verification service with their sales. Instead, they confirm that the vehicle in question is, in fact, what the consignor claims it is in their description. This way, before the car even crosses the block, bidders know that what they see listed on the car card is what’s actually out in front of them. And for good reason, too.
On the one hand, it’s about liability. Say you bought your dream vehicle and you find out it’s not what it was purported to be. In that scenario, Barrett-Jackson has a problem to deal with, and they don’t want that at all. What if Barrett-Jackson makes up a tag for the window and makes a claim about something that the car doesn’t have? Then they’re not representing what’s actually for sale, and that’s not good for business, either.
Ultimately, they want to make sure that both the buyer and seller are happy. And to do that, they have to make sure that what’s coming in is what it says it is, and that it’s the same coming out.
This is not an easy process to do with a small amount of cars, but the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale event had more than 1,900 in January, and that makes things a lot more difficult. Fortunately, they’ve been doing this for almost 50 years now, so they have a good handle on how it goes down.
The folks at Barrett-Jackson took us behind the scenes to see exactly what it’s like going through the lanes, from initial inspection all the way to parking. Then they also showed us their verification area, where vehicles are checked out by experts such as David Wise (Mopar), Jason Billups (Ford), Jim and JB Mattison (GM), John Ballard (Corvette), Jerry MacNeish (GM), Mark Schwartz (Resto-Mod) and others in an effort to make sure the cars are what the sellers claim they are. It’s a fascinating deep dive into what makes this powerful auction tick.
But there’s one important thing to take away from this process: If you want to do this type of thing yourself, you either need to become an expert on the type of vehicle you want to buy or hire one to do the work for you. That encyclopedic knowledge of the model is critical to making sure that what’s in front of you is what it’s claiming to be.
Here it is: The spot where every car that goes over the block starts. Vehicles are unloaded here, put through a basic inspection, and then passed on to the more thorough parts of the process.
Sold! Sold! Sold! — that’s the goal when all’s said and done
Sign up for our free American Car Collector weekly newsletter here!
Please check your email and confirm your subscription.