Friday, Sept. 23, 2011 | 2:39 p.m.
More than 400 valuable collector and antique cars will cross the block and go under the hammer in the remaining 48 hours of the prestigious 40th anniversary Barrett-Jackson auto auction. It all kicked off with a parade Wednesday of 80 marvelous machines on The Strip from the Convention Center to Mandalay Bay, where the auctioneers will keep a sales frenzy going until late tomorrow.
Expect to see numerous celebrity enthusiasts there, including Mindfreak magician Criss Angel, actor Josh Duhamel, comedian and The Tonight Show host Jay Leno and stars taking time out from the IHeartRadio Music Festival rehearsals at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Twelve months ago, the auction here racked up more than $14 million in staggering sales, and 500 cars were traded. This year, the economy might dampen some of the action, but Barrett-Jackson officials think last-minute entries and heavy bidding for some prized vehicles will keep the stats about even or slightly ahead.
During the Road Rally along The Strip, traffic halted at some of the points. But it was amazed pedestrians who got the biggest thrills pulling out their cameras to snap the unique procession. Yesterday, the auction bidding began, and it heats up today and revs to a crescendo tomorrow.
Our Cirque du Soleil Believe star will add to the excitement at the auctioneer’s block tomorrow. Criss will be onstage with the auctioneers as they sell seven cars and motorcycles owned and restored with his older brother J.D. Each one has appeared on Mindfreak or displayed in casinos. The brothers admit that they’ve simply run out of room with the 100 cars and cycles they own.
The three-wheeled 2010 Campagna T-Rex, which he used for a spectacular stunt at the Grand Canyon, is one of them. It has only been used for six hours during the filming, and the winning bidder gets a copy of the TV footage. His modified Hummer H2 complete with $350,000 worth of Houdini-inspired custom features is another vehicle up for sale.
J.D. is selling his beautifully restored 1957 Pontiac Star Chief convertible with its original deluxe Electromatic push-button radio. Criss also is selling his 2006 custom Dodge Viper coupe and his 2007 MF 13 Lane Splitter riding machine. Although it’s appeared on many of his TV shows, it’s only been ridden 30 miles.
Speed will broadcast live today and tomorrow from “The World’s Greatest Car Collector Auction” until 8 p.m. both days. To mark the 40th anniversary, three unique collectors’ cars from that 1971 model year will be under the hammer.
Going, going, gone! Bid before the excitement roars off for another year. Will somebody break the record of $5 million for the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 sold four years ago at the first Las Vegas auction? We’ll have that answer and the wrap-up of all the action next week.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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