The Best of Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas 2011

Barrett-Jackson only runs four of its world-famous collector car auctions each year. The final auction is one of its newer ones. This week is Barrett-Jackson’s Las Vegas auction which appropriately takes place on The Strip at the Mandalay Bay Resort. Every year, millions of people drop billions of dollars in casinos looking to win the big jackpot. At Barrett-Jackson, car buyers will spend millions of dollars hoping to hit the jackpot by buying the car of their dreams or a collector car that will increase in value. So here are ten of my favourite cars from this week’s auction that will at least be cool for the lucky buyer that hits the auction block jackpot.

1959 Edsel Ranger (Lot 23)
It’s an Edsel! I don’t recall ever having seen an Edsel cross the block at a Barrett-Jackson auction before this. Naturally, a car as rare as this has to be on the list. Only 12,800 4-door sedans were produced in 1959 so it’s likely that this is one of the rare few that have survived. I’d like to say some more nice things about this car but Edsel’s has a reputation for being unreliable and occasionally leaving the assembly line unfinished. Still, if it runs well and looks good, this one could be a show stopper.

1957 Nash Metropolitan (Lot 26.2)
While Nash was an American company, the car was actually manufactured for Nash by BMC over in England and imported after construction. The idea was that the car would be cheaper if it was built using the cheaper BMC parts and manufacturing process. The Metro was designed to be the opposite of the giant American cars popping up in the 50s with a wheelbase shorted than a VW Beetle. As a result, the Metro was considered to be the first car actively marketed towards women.

2001 Chrysler Prowler (Lot 101)
The Prowler was a controversial car. You either loved the retro pseudo-hot rod styling of the car or you thought it looked ridiculous. Well, I don’t think we have enough fun looking cars today, though American and Italian manufacturers are getting better about it, so I loved the look of the Prowler. It wasn’t a particularly fast car so it sort of simulated an old hot rod in that sense that it felt faster than the numbers suggested it went. Only 3,170 Prowlers were produced under the Chrysler marque. This particular Prowler has been kept in a garage for most of its life and has less than 8,000 miles on the clock. Not too bad for a ten-year-old car.

1927 Ford Model T (Lot 319)
I believe that this car needs no introduction. The Model T brought the car to the masses. It was the first mass-produced car using the assembly line method which allowed for reduced prices compared to other cars of the day. When it first rolled off the line, the Model T was priced at less than a third of other cars on the market. Anyway, 1927 was the last model year in which the Model T was produced before being replaced by the Model A. The seller didn’t give away too much info on this particular example of the breed but I do know it’s a two-door coupe and recently underwent a complete restoration.

1996 #88 Dale Jarrett Ford Taurus NASCAR Winston Cup Race Car (Lot 332.2)
The seller didn’t give away much in the way of specifics for this car which is a shame. In 1996, Robert Yates Racing added the #88 to their stable to run Dale Jarrett who spend 1995 as Ernie Irvin’s injury replacement in the #28. That year, Jarrett won four races, including the Daytona 500, Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400, en route to 3rd in the championship. If the seller would’ve identified which race(s) this car won, it could actually be a six-figure car. Instead, it’ll probably go for five figures because it could’ve been the car that broke its crankshaft at Pocono leading to a 38th pace finish.

1971 Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia Convertible (Lot 407.2)
Here’s a fun fact about the Karmann Ghia. It’s actually a three-way collaboration in the designing and building of the car. The chassis and mechanical parts are from the VW Beetle. The body was designed by the Italian design firm Ghia. And the bodywork was built by German coach builder Karmann. This VWKG was recently given a complete restoration with both the paint and interior restored to their original condition. The motor and transmission were  also restored to their original specs.

1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 Twister (Lot 638)
In 1970, Ford produced 96 Twister special edition Mach 1s which featured a special paint scheme and decals. In keeping with the Mustang tradition of offering several trim levels, this was the performance model of the Mustang from 1969 to 1978. This particular one has a Cleveland 351 V8 on-board. Although it’s not as good as the Windsor V8, it’s still a pretty good small block. This car was full restored in 2006 and has a complete photo documentation of the restoration job.

1998 Chevrolet Corvette 50th Commemorative Edition (Lot 651.2)
Alright, this one is going to be a tough one to explain. This is a 1998 Chevy Corvette C5 which was rebuilt in 2003 to look like a C1 Corvette to celebrate by the 50th Anniversary of the Corvette. Got all that? This one is #105 of the 200 or so 50CE ‘Vettes that were built by Advanced Automotive Technologies. So what we have here is a modern sports car that looks like an absolute classic. Vintage muscle car folks might call this sacrilege but I actually kinda like it.

1954 Austin Healey 100 Roadster (Lot 690)
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m a fan of small roadsters. Maybe that’s because I always wanted to drive a vintage British roadster when I retired. Anyway, this particular 100 has the Le Mans kit so this car would have originally had 100 hp. It recently underwent a complete frame-off restoration which was fully photo documented. It also comes with a British Heritage Trust certificate so you know you’ve got the real deal.

1964 Ford Fairlane 500 (Lot 6400)
Normally, I wouldn’t include a completely custom classic car in my ten favourites. There are a few reasons for putting it here though. First, it’s a Ford and I’m a Ford guy. Two, the restoration of this car and all of the custom parts are from Roush Performance which is the place to go for Ford parts. And third, it’s a car actually owned by Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis that is being sold for charity. A pretty piece being sold for charity is enough to put it on my watch list.

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