Friday, January 18, 2008

Fast Cars

Once again its time for that meddlesome portion of SPEED TV broadcasting, otherwise known as the Barrett-Jackson “LUV-Fest!” You know when SPEED devotes about 40 hours of programming showcasing the Rich ‘N Famous overindulging in the purchasing of “rarefied automobiles.

Apparently the over hyping of countless numbers ‘O Detroit iron led me to NOT watch last year’s Barrett-Jackson money-thon. Then again perhaps this will be a nice break from PINKS ‘N Unique Whipes… Yet, I did indeed manage to catch snippets of three particular past auctions below and I suppose I’ll drop in to see how crazy the SUCKERS are getting drawn in. (Must be nice to have so much $pare change, eh?)

Barrett-Jackson (Part 1)
Towards the end of March, 2006 by shear luck I tuned into SPEED’S Barrett Jackson Palm Beach auction. “Just-in-Time” to see some ‘ole wily codger extricating his lanky frame from the confines of a Ford GT he’d just driven up onto the block… Yup, it was none other then 83 year old Texan Carroll Shelby.

Ford had donated chassis #003 to be auctioned off to benefit Shelby’s Children’s charity. Carroll dribbled some ‘O Snake Oil to try and invigorate the potential bidders… Let the games begin…
The bid for this pristine 2005 Ford GT quickly vaulted to $200,000, where it began to simmer.

“Spanky,” the chief auctioneer had ‘Shel speak a little more, and if you buy the car you’ll even get an autographed book signed by the entire Ford GT team, Shelby noted. Bidding then continued and the price quickly zoomed up to $400k, where the price stalled again.

Another break to wind-up the price occurred as Spanky said; I’ll give you the hat off ‘Shel’s head, plus you’ll be guaranteed the rights to buy 1 of the first 50 GT 500’s. The bidding continued and then stalled again, with Spanky stopping the bidding once again. This caused audible groaning from the pit workers and remaining bidders. Yet, Spanky further “stroked” the audience by saying; “I’ll give you the shirt off ‘ole “Shel’s back!” Bang, a bidder’s hand went up as the price climbed past $475k, before Shelby ceremoniously dropped the hammer: SOLD-SOLD-SOLD! For a whopping $575,000! (+ 8% Auction commission)

Trying not to be outdone, next onto the block… Pete Brock emerged from a Superformance Daytona Sebring tribute Coupe. The car was a “one-off” special to be listed in the Shelby registry, rekindling the scheme of the Daytona’s first win at Sebring… The car quickly vaulted to $150k. Brock then threw in an autographed poster signed by him and Shelby. The Daytona sold for a cool $250,000…

R & M Auction
In early June, 2006 while surfing the late night TV shows, I ran across an interesting Auction airing on TLC. The R & M auction from Monterey, CA billed as “The Million Dollar Auction.” Although I missed the beginning portion of the show-where a Ferrari California Special was the first million + vehicle crossing the block and I think it went for $1.9 Million?

Yet, the car that caught my initial attention was a medium blue with twin white stripes mid engine super car… This turned out to be the prototype Ford GT 40! Although the Lola derived Mark I chassis originally debuted in solid white with flat black nose. (GT101)

The car looked absolutely stunning in its Viking blue paint scheme. The bidding was unbelievable… As the car went to the Shelby American museum in Colorado for a cool $2.275 million…

Another interesting car was the Dragon-snake Cobra. The ’64 Cobra was campaigned as a “Privateer.” Legend has it that the owner hid the Dragon-snake in his basement, completely enclosing the car along with extra parts behind a brick wall... The car remained hidden for 15 yr’s before being “un-earthed.” The Dragon-snake (CSX 2161?) sold for $410,000…

Another interesting find was another white 289 Cobra. Affectionately known as “The Cobra in the Barn.” (Of which I’ve just purchased the book)
It was a lucky “find” in a Barn after 30 year’s of storage. The book’s author’s restored the car and it sold for $345,000…

Barrett-Jackson (Part 2)
“Fifty seven channels and NOTHING ON!”

(Nope, not Bruce Hornsby, the other Bruce… Springsteen) Once again while scouring the endless channels ‘O TV spam… I settled upon a rebroadcast of a Barrett Jackson Palm Beach auction…

What I found hard to follow was the amount ‘O “moohlah” being spent upon “replicas.” For some reason the “Eleanor” re-incarnations seemed to be extremely popular.

I watched two of these creations cross the auction block. The first up was a nice black ’67 Eleanor Mustang with NOS, fuel cell, 351 Winsor “crate” motor, (430bhp) selling for $93,000.

The second ’67 Mustang seemed even more “suspicious,” claiming to have Shelby plates attached-including ‘Shel’s signature. This car sold for $102,000…

Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend the money on a REAL Ferrari, eh?

Barrett-Jackson (2008)
And I have to say I’m NOT impressed with the number of “Muskle” cars crossing the block at this year’s Barrett-Jackson “GRAB-ATHON,” as the promoter tries hyping the crap outta the vehicle as the “Real Deal!” When the original motor most likely has been blown up since it’s got a different “Lump” in it, and yet people are paying extreme money to have the non-original chassis. Yet Barrett-Jackson has neatly covered itself by making the consigner responsible for noting the vehicle’s authenticity…

So it was funny watching a 1980 Hummer go across the block Wednesday night. Only problem with this, as the SPEED commentator caught on when they were looking over the motor, was that Hummer’s weren’t produced until 1985!

Yet, I’d have to say so far my best buy pick goes to the astute collector who paid $42,000 for a 2006 Hertz Shelby GT500, as it was car No. 8. This is the first year of ‘Ol Shel’s reincarnation of the original Hertz “Rent-a-Racer.” Of course realize that all sale prices don’t include the 8% Seller’s commission fee as well as the 10% Buyer’s commission fee that Barrett-Jackson collects for this mass hysteria! (With a 12% Buyer’s commission fee for telephone/internets sales)

Yet I simply do NOT understand the nature of the Bidder’s frenzy, as this auction appears to be more of eBay phenomena than true Connoisseur’s of collecting. Who most likely are attending the other various auctions taking place in the Valley of the Sun.

Thursday action saw some strange bidding occur, as a souped-up Land Cruiser CUSTOM with non-original 350cid Chevrolet V-8 complete with blower assembly went for MORE than a extremely RARE 1969 Ford Talladega, which was a real original car with the only option available… Wimbledon white paint. Ford homologated these street cars with a production run of 745 units in order to obliterate its RASSCAR rivals in 1969.

Yet, the Land Cruiser fetched $57,000, while the Talladega snuck away for $41K! Meanwhile I watched a 1969 Shelby GT350 sell for $70,000, while a Chevrolet Nomad commanded a stout $97,000 from its new owner. Another Blue Oval product, a 1971 Mustang Mach 1, 428 SCJ/4 speed garnered a hammer price of $70,000. And this is before we even get to the weekend’s “Heavy Hitters…”

And think Barmen ‘N Bailey has a “Big Top” circus event? The Barrett-Jackson tent has to be “Juan ‘O” the world’s largest, as it stretches 1,800’ long and peaks at 90’ high with a square footage of 350,000’, which is large enough to park a 747 underneath, as well as hold 10,000 warm bodies…