The Best of Barrett-Jackson Orange County 2011

This week is the world-famous Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Orange County, California. The Barrett-Jackson Orange County auction is the most recent addition to the Barrett-Jackson auction circuit. While there aren’t as many cars (or as high prices) as the original Scottsdale auction, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a proper man’s weekend where guys go to drool over what basically is automotive erotica. So to celebrate California’s biggest collector car show where the cars and not the manufacturers are the stars, here are ten of my favourite cars from this weekend’s auction.

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE (Lot 17)
If you think that the shape of the 280SE is vaguely familiar, chances are that you’ve seen The Hangover a couple of times. The Mercedes in that movie was the 1969 280SE coupe which was modified into being a convertible. Anyway, this particular 280SE is a museum piece. It was actually in the North Texas Auto Museum from 2004 to 2010. That’s got to make up for the fact that Lot #17’s odometer doesn’t work.

1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (Lot 52)
Maybe it’s just me but I feel like I always pick DeLoreans for these posts. Maybe I’m just inspired by Vancouver going Back to the Future with the big riot. Anyway, only about 6,500 DMC-12s are believed to still be in existence today. This particular one was part of a large collection so it has spent most of its life in a garage rather than being driven which explains it only having 9,000 miles on the clock. Everyone loved the DeLorean and if I could afford it, I would take a run at this one myself.

1993 Dodge Viper RT/10 (Lot 73)
This is one of the original Dodge Vipers. We all know that the Viper is one of the greatest cars that has ever been produced in America. The car was built using a sort of minimalist design with a big engine and great performance. That was the basis of the old Shelby Cobra which was the inspiration of the Viper. This particular Viper has only 23,000 miles on the clock with only a couple aftermarket additions so it’s a fine example of the classic Vipers.

1929 Fiat Gipsy (Lot 335.2)
If you’ve never heard of the Gipsy, that’s probably because it’s a bit of a misnomer. This Fiat race car is powered by a Gipsy Major 6.2-litre four cylinder engine that was normally used to power aircraft. No power figures are readily available for the Gipsy engine but you have to think that this Fiat can really fly (pun intended). It’s actually ready to run and has done so at some events. It also has a full historical log book documented by the Australian motorsports authority.

1955 Ford Thunderbird (Lot 338.1)
We might have mentioned once or twice on the blog that I’m a Ford guy. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that a T-Bird from its first year of production makes this best of list. The T-Bird was originally introduced by Ford to combat the Corvette but was billed as a luxury car rather than a sports car. Despite this, the Thunderbird outsold the Corvette at a rate of nearly 23-to-1 in 1955. This particular T-Bird was fully restored in 2001 complete with rebuilt transmission, new upholstery and a new cloth top for the convertible roof.

1959 Chevrolet Apache (Lot 374.3)
The Apache was part of the Chevy Task Force line of pickup trucks. The Task Force ran from 1955 to 1959 and saw several different models fall under the Task Force umbrella. The Apache was the name of the 1/3-ton GM trucks in 1958 and 1959. This particular Apache just underwent a complete body-off restoration which means that you’re probably going to get one of the finest examples of the breed on the road today.

2006 Volkswagen Jetta Bio-Diesel Touring Car (Lot 629)
This car raced in the series formerly known as the SCCA Speed World Challenge in the Touring Car Division. (It’s now known as the Pirelli World Challenge and airs on Versus in case you were wondering.) It was the world’s first bio-diesel touring car to be raced professionally. I have no idea if it’s still compliant with SCCA rules but it sure would be fun to take a race car out for a drive. At the very least, you’ll get everyone out of the corners because of the torque of the diesel engine.

1964 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40 (Lot 664)
I think this is the first time that I’ve called an SUV one of the best cars at a Barrett-Jackson auction. However, this is one of the iconic 40 series Toyota Land Cruisers. The 40 was the longest-lived generation of the Land Cruiser and therefore among the more famous and fondly remembered Land Cruisers. This particular FJ40 was given a complete restoration that lasted four years. I’d hazard a guess that the daring drivers would find this thing just as capable off-road now as it was 40 years ago.

1970 Plymouth Duster (Lot 650)
This is one 24,000 Dusters sold in 1970 that came with the 340 V8. Overall, there were 217,000 Dusters sold in the first year of production (1970). The Duster was originally designed to compete with the Ford Maverick and the Chevy Nova in a sort of semi-fastback segment of the market. Of course, that segment was so popular that the Duster died in 1976, the Maverick in 1977 and Nova in 1979. This particular Duster has a celebrity connection, though. It was once owned by FunkMaster Flex. He had a short-lived car show on Spike if memory serves.

1958 Pontiac Star Chief 2-Door Custom (Lot 5800)
This ’58 Star Chief has been rebuilt as a complete custom job. Countless hours and countless dollars were spent to create this custom Pontiac which has a high performance 455 cu in V8. How do I know this car is likely to be a big deal? Barrett-Jackson only has scheduled times for cars that are certain to command big bucks. Check this one out tonight at 7:00 PM PST for your chance to buy it.

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