By Phil Skinner (Photographs Phil Skinner and Shari Bruton)
Barrett-Jackson’s “Super Saturday” has come and gone and yet again, former Goodguys Top 12 award winners and finalists occupied some of the national spotlight. It was a torrid pace, and we were running hard to follow our friends and their trips across the auction block. When it comes to classic car auctions, this is the spot to be, but more than that, Barrett-Jackson has evolved into the World’s Greatest Automotive Lifestyle Event. Craig Jackson and his team seems to keep topping itself year after year, with the 2017 spectacle encompassing nine days of cars, parts, cars, great food, some more cars, lots of side-shows and of course cars.
A lot has changed since the beginning of this mega-happening. Early on, Barrett-Jackson was dominated by the big classics of the 1930’s. Today, it is the hot rods, customs, and super muscle cars that seem to dominate a good part of the landscape. A number of top-sellers could trace their heritage back to our Goodguys events. Not one, but two different Trucks of the Year were brought to the block, as well as several Top 12 finalists.
We went off looking for several of our scene’s signature vehicles during the past few days.
We caught up with Tim Moltzen as he was providing last minute details to his 1962 Dodge Crew Cab pickup christened “Whiskey Bent”, and awarded the Good Guys Truck of the Year-Late Award for 2015. This radical build was a far cry from its first job out of the factory, running up and down the flight line on a U.S. Air Force base, most likely carrying a flight-crew to their B52 bombers in case war was declared. Moltzen declared war on plain and boring with this fabulous build, commissioning Roger Burman to steward the build. Finished in PPG Western Brown, it borrows parts from several different vehicles.
We just had to ask if he was little apprehensive about letting his truck roll over the block at no reserve. Moltzen said, “I have been to Barrett-Jackson before, the bidder’s come here for quality and I have never been disappointed.”
But would 2017 be different? As the big brown truck rolled up on the ramp Thursday evening, the bidding started at $50,000 and shot up. In under two minutes the bids were over the $100,000 mark, and they kept up-coming until the hammer came down at $117,000. No disappointments here, and surely the connection to its Truck of the Year-Late status only helped to bolster the confidence of the bidders.
Trucks were big at Barrett-Jackson as seen by two other rigs on our list. Doug Eldred’s famous Brass Monkey, the 1939 based Chevrolet pickup that took him four and a half years to build. Featuring flawless craftsmanship, it bedazzled the crowds on tour during the summer of 2016 as one of our signature trucks, and was surrounded during most of the preview this week. Prior to going over the block, Eldred was on pins and needles and told us he was looking for something in the $100,000 range. He must have been clairvoyant. He hit the nail square on the head as the auctioneer’s gavel came down at that mark exactly.
Back in 2010, The Good Guys awarded their Truck of the Year-Early to the 1932 Ford “Miller Hauler Special” pick-up of George Poteet. While this dark green truck with doors emblazoned with a lucky number “7” was on display at Barrett-Jackson, it was nearly impossible to get close enough to inspect it as the crowds were always three to four deep. Now this beauty’s name has nothing to do with any type of brew, but owning this rodded truck would be living the high-life. Wearing the beautiful Miller racing car inspired front end it featured superb paintwork, and countless details. It brought the people to their feet when it rolled onto the block Saturday. Bidding on this Top 12 winner came fast, jumping in $10,000 increments faster than the auctioneer could call out the numbers. Within 90 seconds of the first bid being called the hammer was coming down to declare the Miller Hauler Special sold at $130,000. An absolute steal!
They say as a writer, one should not pick favorites. That is sometimes hard to do as we could not resist warming up to Randy Weaver’s “Torc”, 1970 ‘Cuda. Finished in Torque Gray, the body featured a subtle chop accomplished by dropping the cowl and laying the windshield back. Weaver went way outside the box with Torc, stuffing a Cummins twin-turbo 6.7 Liter diesel engine. Riding of sleek Forgeline Dropkick wheels, they were prepared to take the 1500 HP delivered at the rear wheel. He knew that the Barrett-Jackson crowd was tough to please and he also was looking for something close to the six-figure mark. Bidding opened quick, went lightning fast with the hammer coming down at $118,000, bing-bang-boom “Sold!” We can only hope the new owner won’t hide this unique Plymouth away as it will still be quite a pleaser for years to come.
Barrett-Jackson is known for many things and muscle is among the top sellers on their list. We were awestruck by the beauty of a Mulsanne Blue 1970 Chevelle SS LS6 454, 450 HP beauty, considered the pinnacle of GM performance. George Lawrence had really transformed this car from the last time we saw it at auction in June 2012. At that time the car was little more than a shell needing everything including a power train. Today as a Goodguys 2016 Muscle Car of the Year finalist, it brought down the house when it crossed the block and rang the bell bringing $180,000, plus the commission.
In the past few years, race cars have picked up in the sales ring here. Don “The Snake” Prudhomme has been active recently and was back this year with one of our favorite funny cars of all time – his flaming white Hot Wheels ’72 ‘Cuda. The auction stages were jammed with prospective bidders and look-ee-loo’s alike trying to get a glimpse of this piece of drag racing history and winner of the ’73 U.S. Nationals. Presented with all the Hot Wheels and other sponsor logos, Snake’s 1972 Plymouth Barracuda based funny-car brought a giant roar from the crowd when it sold at $200,000! There were two other Prudhomme funny cars that also crossed the Barrett-Jackson block, both coming in far behind the famous Snake II.
One of the most innovative rods ever built, Boyd Coddington’s “Alumatub” designed by Eric Brockmeyer, was first sold here at Barrett-Jackson in January 2005 when it was purchased by collector Ron Pratte for a bid of $155,000. Ten years later in 2015, it returned as part of the Pratte Collection sale where it was hammered sold at $170,000 in 2015. Pre-auction speculation had thrown numbers out over the $200K mark, but when the bidding started, it was a bit more tame than two years ago seeing the hammer fall at $120,000. Somebody got a smokin’ deal!
Late into Super Saturday, the last vehicle we were watching crossed the block, but it was well worth it. Steve Keefer’s “Tenacity”, a powerful and swooping 1969 Chevrolet Camaro came up to the block. Completed in 2012, it competed rather successfully on tour, where it placed in the top 5 for Goodguys Street Machine of the Year. Sitting on a Morrison “Max-G” chassis power comes via a pumped up LS3 V8. When Keefer and his East Bay Muscle Car team finished this car, it was and still is one of our favorite muscle cars. It still draws a crowd from those who love and appreciate style and performance as we watched dozens of attendees closely inspecting the fit and finish of the coupe painted Audi Lava Gray. Even with the crowd thinning down later into Saturday evening, there were some serious bidders looking for quality. The bidding opened at $20,000 and then quickly jumped to over $100,000. As the night wore on the bidding continued at lightening pace until the hammer dropped at $138,000, declaring a new owner in the process.
Topping the sale as far as our hot rod fraternity goes, Dave Kindig’s 23-window ’62 VW Bus gaveled at $302,000, proving that the reality TV star and longtime Goodguys friend is at the height of his popularity thanks in part to his wildly successful TV show “Bitchin’ Rides.” Congrats Dave and crew! Kindig’s Micro bus just barely edged out Barry Blomquist’s Roadster Shop Built 1964 Corvette. The popular blue ‘Vette was a candidate for Goodguys 2014 Street Machine of the Year in Columbus. To nobody’s surprise, it was a high-seller bringing $300,000!
Over 1,700 cars were consigned to Barrett-Jackson’s 2017 Scottsdale sale, with all but a few being sold. Altogether these nine Goodguys-centric cars represented a cool 1.3 million dollars. Job “well done” guys & gals. We can’t wait to see what masterpieces show up on tour in 2017.