Every year, serious buyers, the well-to-do, celebrities, people-watchers and punters head for Scottsdale, Arizona to see some of the world’s finest cars find new owners. Barrett-Jackson, Gooding and Co., RM Auctions, Silver Auctions and Russo and Steele put on a week’s worth of amazing events. Here’s how to be a part of it, even if you haven’t purchased a plane ticket.
Gooding & Company
Gooding has been at this auction for about eight years now, but it’s still the new kid in town. It’s a high-end, high dollar operation, featuring a list of only about a hundred cars, in opposition to the volume events going on elsewhere in town.
One of the featured lots this year is a Scaglietti-bodied 1963 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, one of about 350 ever built. It’s about as close as you’ll come to a driver in this class of cars, and it’s expected to sell for between $1.6 million and $1.8 million.
Viewing Tip: If you’re in Scottsdale, the Gooding & Company event is an intimate, relaxing auction, and it’s probably easier to park here than at any other event this week. You can probably wait until later in the day to get here than the other auctions, so take in something else in the morning, and arrive mid-afternoon. If you’re not there, there’s unfortunately no way to see the event live, but you can stay in touch via their Facebook and Twitter feeds. Be sure to check out the catalog that’s available online.
Gooding & Company – The Scottsdale Auction
Scottsdale Fashion Square
E. Camelback Road & N. 68th Street
Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
Preview Days: January 14 & 15, 2015
Auction Days: January 16 & 17, 2015
Admission: $40 per person, or $100 for two including an auction catalog
Russo and Steele
Russo is the antithesis of the reserved atmosphere at Gooding and Co. It’s a bullring of an auction, with non-stop action over five days, with over 700 classic and exotic cars on offer. Russo and Steele is celebrating its 15th anniversary this year, so the event should really be a blast.
Featured this year is an amazing one-off creation by the artisans at the Creative Workshop in Dania Beach, Florida. Their Sport Speciale was inspired by the big-bore European racecars of the late 1950s and early 1960s with styling cues from such icons as the Ferrari TR 59/60, Aston Martin DBR1, and Maserati 450S. It’s a hand-formed aluminum body, powered by a custom-built aluminum BMW V-12 by Dinan Performance.
Viewing Tip: If you’re in Arizona, parking at Russo and Steele is a bit of a challenge. If you have folks with you that aren’t big walkers, drop them off and find a spot to park in the big lot. If you’re anywhere else, you can watch the auction live online.
Russo and Steele – Scottsdale 2015
101 Freeway and Scottsdale Road
Preview and Auction Dates: January 14 to 18, 2015
Admission: $20/day, $55/three-day, $80/five-day
This is where people like you and me go to buy cars. It’s a fair bit out of the way in Fort McDowell, Arizona, and it’s cheap to get in and see the vehicles. They’ll sell a few high-dollar cars, but this is the place to go and find cars that aren’t going to be on the cover of the next Sports Car Market.
Viewing Tip: You have to be there in Arizona to see it, and you’ll have a hard time finding out what cars sold for afterward if you’re not present. If you go early in the morning, be sure to bring a jacket, because it gets cold out there.
Silver Auctions – Fort McDowell Arizona Auction
Fort McDowell Resort Casino
10424 N. Fort McDowell Road
Fort McDowell (near Fountain Hills), Arizona
January 16 to 19, 2009
Preview: 8 a.m. every morning
This is the grandpappy of high-end automobile auctions. It’s an affair where you wouldn’t be surprised to see someone bidding wearing a top hat and a monocle. The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Biltmore Resort and Spa is the setting and it’s magnificent. Beyond the cars this year, watch for a tribute to actor Edward Hermann, who was a regular fixture on stage at RM’s events as a master of ceremonies. He passed away just last week.
Viewing Tip: It’s a haul from the big auction out to the Biltmore, so plan to spend the day there. They have lunch onsite and the last time I was there, it was pretty decent. You can see a live feed of the auction while it’s happening, and keep up with the Facebook and Twitter feeds for reminders. The live feed page also allows you to register and bid live. Also, the preview in the garage at the Biltmore is open to the general public for free.
RM Auctions – Automobiles of Arizona
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
24th Street and Missouri
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
January 16, 2009
Preview: January 15 to 16, 2009
Admission: $200 (includes admission for two and an auction catalog)
The hundred-million dollar gorilla in the room. It’s so big you could see it from space. The big deal for 2015 is the Ron Pratte Collection, which has pretty much been amassed at previous iterations of this very auction. The collection is being divested and includes cars like the 1950 GM Parade of Progress Futurliner that sold for $4.1 million here in 2006. Proceeds from this go to the Armed Forces Foundation, which is pretty cool.
Viewing Tip: If you’re there, get there early in the day any mid-week day. You’ll be amazed at how affordable some of the cars are that aren’t selling at the peak times on Friday and Saturday nights. The event streams live on Fox Sports if you’re not in Arizona.
Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction
7400 E. Monte Cristo Avenue
January 13 to 20, 2009
Preview: January 14, 2009
Admission: $15 (Family Preview Day in advance) to $150 (Nine-Day Pass in advance)