Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction
Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 | 2:01 a.m.
Final figures from the weekend Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction at Mandalay Bay released Tuesday indicate the best of the six annual events held to date. On the block and under the gavel were a record-breaking 657 cars that drew $32 million in sales, a whopping 41 percent increase over 2012.
Nearly 70,000 enthusiasts witnessed the world-class auction that was the company’s highest-grossing Las Vegas event ever.
“It was a very good day for us — the best,” Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, told me backstage shortly after he presented Masters of the Impossible Siegfried & Roy with the first check for $10,000 toward the launch and official unveiling today of their endangered animals foundation Sarmoti.
Incredibly, other collector-car enthusiasts stepped forward with additional gifts that totaled $95,000. Brett Torino of Las Vegas; Rick Hendrick of Hendrick Motorsports; Mike Helton, president of NASCAR; director Bryan Singer; Don William; and longtime Barrett-Jackson customers Grey Mauzy and Robert Tyler made the donations.
Celebrated American cars — Lincolns, Corvettes and Shelbys — rocked the arena, including Rick’s stunning pair of 1963 Chevrolet Corvettes that broke the bank at $106,400 and $110,000. Also adding to the excitement was the 1999 Chevrolet Suburban from “The Sopranos” Seasons 1-4 that brought in $110,000. Barrett-Jackson will offer the late James Gandolfini’s 1972 Oldsmobile 442 convertible at the Scottsdale event Jan. 12-19.
The sale highlights included a 1967 Ferrari 330GTC for $495,000; a 1931 Lincoln Model K Convertible brought in $352,000; a 2005 Ford GT 2 Door Coupe went under the hammer at $275,000; a 2006 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 2 Door Coupe fetched $258,500; and a 1967 Shelby GT500E at $242,000.
The festivities kicked off with a performance from country star Clay Walker at Mandalay Bay Beach. He also performed the national anthem and his hit “All American” on the auction block during the military tribute on the first sales day. Also in attendance: boxing legend and Las Vegas resident Mike Tyson and 2012 Playboy Playmate of the Year Jaclyn Swedberg.
“Results from the Las Vegas auction demonstrate that the collector-car market is incredibly strong within all segments of the hobby,” said Craig. “In addition to the impressive sales numbers, Barrett-Jackson continues to set the trend in the collector-car market by providing incredible vehicles to car enthusiasts and continues to give all audiences compelling charitable moments, celebrity appearances and activities for everyone.”
The event was broadcast on the Fox family of networks, which included 22 hours of live, high-definition coverage that was available to nearly 100 million homes, plus, the National Geographic Channel, marking the largest viewership in auction-house history.
“This event marked the most successful in Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas history with the most diverse docket we have ever offered,” said Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis. “After coming off of an amazing inaugural Reno event in August, our Las Vegas results achieved a milestone and reinforces once again why our company is the industry leader.”
Barrett-Jackson and Sopranos SUV/Richard Corey
I talked with James Florczak from Cooperstown, N.Y., who brought his life savings to Las Vegas to secure the “Sopranos” SUV. “I brought cashier’s checks for $110,000. It was all I had. Fortunately, that’s exactly what it sold for, but it was a heart-stopping moment waiting to see somebody outbid me before the hammer went down, ” he told me.
The Suburban was the vehicle driven by the show’s protagonist, Tony Soprano, played by James Gandolfini. The late actor autographed the sun visor on the driver’s side with the message, “Take care of my car.” It also was the vehicle he drove in the opening credits of every show — until he was promoted to “boss” and upgraded to an Escalade.
“The truck itself is unique because it became its own character in the first four years of the dramatic series,” explained Craig. “There were several screen-used props and production items inside the vehicle, including that final last script and 20 blueprints, so it captures an extremely rare and fascinating time in the age of modern television. It’s not only a standout vehicle but part of American pop culture.”
James, the buyer, told me he had watched every episode of the award-winning HBO series but wanted the SUV because his company had sold the actor all the baseball bats he gave to friends and fans as autographed gifts. The actor had friends in the upstate New York town where he’d helped open a restaurant.
“He was a true gentleman,” said James. “Really warm and kind to everybody. He would always stop for his fans. I knew him from the baseball bats we made for him, so I really wanted his car as a memory. It came in at just the right price.”
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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