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Barrett-Jackson: Restoration for Fun and Profit

By Jerry F. Boone

SCOTTSDALE, AZ -There are a few truisms about sales such as the annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction.

You can pay too much for a car.

You can get good cars at a bargain price.

You can make good money selling a car.

Or you can lose your shirt.

Craig Jackson won’t argue with any of those statements. Jackson has been involved in the auto auction business ever since his parents, Russ and Nellie Jackson and partner Tom Barrett began the annual sale 40 years ago.

While it is the high end and cars with unusual history that make the news, the Barrett-Jackson auction includes lots of cars an average collector can afford to buy and drive home.

“Early in the week we sell lots of cars for $10,000 to $20,000,” he says. “Most of the cars are in the affordable range.”

Jackson says that in many ways, an established auction such as the annual winter opener in Scottsdale is an excellent place to find a collector car.

“We go through the paperwork, and the car, to be certain that what is represented is accurate,” he says. “We’ll turn away a car that isn’t what it is advertised to be.

“We won’t sell a car as a GTO if someone shows up with a Pontiac Le Mans that has been converted,” he explains. “That doesn’t mean we won’t sell that car...we just won’t sell it as a GTO. The owner will have to advertise it as a conversion or a GTO replica.”

Jackson says his company also works with potential sellers to help establish a price for a car, explaining that some people have an inflated ideas what their vehicle may bring at auction.

“They see a car like the one they own bring a lot of money and assume they can get the same kind of money for theirs, without recognizing theirs isn’t on the same scale.

“We get people who think what they own should get $110,000, but we see it as a $50,000 car. Because this is a no-reserve auction, we want to be sure sellers don’t go away feeling badly about how things turned out. We try to explain to them what is a realistic price before we accept the car.”

Jackson says it’s important for buyers to look closely at the cars they may want to bid on, and do their own research on what similar vehicles are valued at and being sold for.

In other words, don’t blame the auctioneer if you pay too much.

Of course, he’s not disappointed if you do. The Barrett-Jackson fee is based on the selling price.

The veteran car enthusiast also says it is important for sellers to be at the sale before their car goes to auction to talk about what they have to sell and create interest in it.

“I see guys with million dollar cars fly in the morning of the auction and then be unhappy with the sale price,” he says.

“These cars sit outside under a tent for days,” he explains. “If you don’t take care of them and don’t clean them -and if you aren’t around to talk to people about your car -then you can’t expect top get top dollar when it goes to the auction.

“There are a lot of cars here,” he says. “You have to convince the bidders they want yours.”

See related interview: 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle

Recommendations
Click on any item below for more details at Amazon.com

Larry Edsall
Barrett-Jackson: The World’s Greatest Collector Car Event
Motorbooks, Hardcover, 2006-11-15
Tom Barrett had a 1933 Cadillac V-16 Town Car he wanted to sell; Russ Jackson came to see it. How this simple meeting between two car buffs in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1960 started what would someday be the most prestigious collector car auction in the world is the story told in Barrett-Jackson: The World’s Greatest Collector Car Event. Highlighting some of the most important collector cars ever offered, and featuring photographs from Barrett-Jackson’s extensive collection, this book follows the unfolding of a lifelong friendship and partnership-and the building of a brilliant tradition. From the 1967 fund-raiser “Fiesta del los Auto Elegance” to the first classic car auction in 1971, from the trend- (and record-) setting events that made their name to the high-tech, family-run enterprise Barrett-Jackson has become, the book chronicles a legend built on a mutual passion-an American success story founded on that most American of icons, the classic car.

Larry Edsall
Barrett-Jackson’s Ultimate Collector Cars 2010
Motorbooks, Calendar, 2009-08-01
Barrett-Jackson’s Ultimate Collector Cars 2010 highlights some of the most important collector cars ever to cross the auction block and features photographs from Barrett-Jackson’s extensive archive. From its founding as a 1967 fundraiser “Fiesta de los Autos Elegantes,” to its first classic car auction in 1971, to today’s multi-day extravaganza, Barrett-Jackson’s collector car events have become the barometer for the car collecting world.

James Mays
Savvy Guide to Buying Collector Cars at Auction
Indy-Tech Publishing, Paperback, 2006-06
You may have seen the collector car auctions on TV. The cars are beautiful and sell for thousands and thousands of dollars. But collectible cars are also sold at local and regional auctions all across the country every weekend, and car buffs just like you should attend if you are searching for the car of your dreams.

Buying a collector car at an auction is not all about spending six-figures on a car. It is about finding the car you want, and having the chance to pay less than you thought you could for it. Unlike many other auctions, the stakes are a bit higher. Dropping $5-$10,000 on a car at an auction is something many of us don’t do very often.

Avid car enthusiast and author James Mays will help you through the process. From understanding the role of the auctioneer, to local and federal laws you need to be aware of, Mays covers the road with this indispensable guide. . Common sense writing from an experienced car afficianoto is combined with the formula of the Savvy Guide series from Indy-Tech Publishing. This means you have a book that will give you the guidance you need to feel comfortable and confident when you bid on that collector car you’ve been dreaming of.

Topics addressed include: Scoping out the Competition, Financing, Legal Issues, Auction Rules, and What to Expect.

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