The Best of Barrett-Jackson 2013

This week is the world-famous Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction is the premier classic and rare car auction in the world. It’s the sort of thing that rich people go to for buying new status symbols and where real men go to drool over what basically is automotive erotica. It’s basically a week-long celebration of the car where gearheads are king. So to celebrate the year’s biggest car show where the cars and not the manufacturers are the stars, here are ten of my favourite cars from this week’s auction.

1958-studebaker-station-wagon1958 Studebaker Station Wagon (Lot 114)
The thing I love about the early days of the Scottsdale auction is that you can find some bargains and cars you’d be willing to use as a driver. Take this ’58 Studebaker, for example. The seller’s description may be short on maintenance details but it’s from a collection has also been featured in Hemmings Classic Car magazine so you know it’s a fine example of the breed. The fact that it has 69,000 miles on the clock also says to me that you can still take her out for a drive. Isn’t that the point of having a cool car?

1989-dodge-shadow-shelby-csx-vnt1989 Shelby CSX-VNT (Lot 333)
Remember when Carol Shelby did high-performance Mopar vehicles? Yeah, I don’t either. Shelby Dodges were an 80s thing that I’m not sad we left behind. Anyway, the Shelby CSX-VNT was a heavily modified Dodge Shadow hatchback. Yes, Carol Shelby made a hot hatch. I don’t quite believe that. The Shelby modifications included a new intercooler, a variable vane turbo, remapped engine increasing torque and lightening the car. This particular CSX-VNT is one of only 500 ever made and one of 15 ordered with 225-wide tires. We need more Shelby hot hatches like this one.

2011-chevrolet-camaro-sms-bondurant2011 Chevrolet Camaro SMS Bondurant (Lot 504)
When high performance vehicle tuning and manufacturing entrepreneur Steve Saleen and F1 and sports car vet and legendary performance driving instructor Bob Bondurant team up to build a car, the result is likely to be scary fast. This specially tweaked Camaro has been tuned in excess of 620 hp and has an Eibach suspension, 20″ HRE wheels, Pirelli tires and Borla exhaust. I’d say this car is going to burn rubber.

1947-ford1947 Ford (Lot 767)
Young whippersnappers, like me, have heard of car designer and fabricator Chip Foose. But did you know that his father, Sam, was in the car customizing game long before Chip? And that brings us to this Sam Foose designed 1947 Ford Coupe. It may look fairly stock but there’s a Chevy V8 under the hood (sacrilege, I know), a custom paint colour and most of the bodywork has subtle design differences from the stock design.

1960-chrysler-saratoga1960 Chrysler Saratoga (Lot 924)
Show of hands: How many of you have heard of the Chrysler Saratoga? Yeah, I haven’t either. That’s understandable as the Saratoga nameplate’s mid-20th Century run was all of four years. The 1960 Saratoga was its last year in the US, though it lived on in Canada through 1965 on mid-level Chryslers. Anyway, the Saratoga was part of Chrysler’s “Forward Look” styling and I’d say that the name was appropriate. It has some 50s design staples in the headlights and tail fins but that big grill wouldn’t look unusual today. While the odd looks for the time probably limited the car’s potential, not offering the popular Hemi V8 as an option likely sealed its fate as a short-lived car.

1954-kaiser-darrin1954 Kaiser Darrin (Lot 1250)
Not that you can tell but I like digging up rare or obscure gems in the Barrett-Jackson auction listings for these posts. One such obscure car is the Darrin sports car made by Kaiser Motors. The company started life in 1945 as Kaiser-Frazer before becoming Kaiser Motor in 1953 after Joseph Frazer left the company. Kaiser left the business in 1970 when they were bought out by American Motors. Anyway, the Darrin was in production for only the 1954 model year and had a run of 435 units. The seller didn’t include any restoration or maintenance info about this car but who wouldn’t want a rare collectible such as this.

1922-rolls-royce-silver-ghost-custom1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Custom (Lot 1302)
When it comes to luxury cars, the discussion begins and ends with Rolls-Royce. The Silver Ghost isn’t the original premium Rolls but it is the original iconic luxury Roller. Perhaps unfortunately, this one isn’t restored to original factory condition. However, the custom update includes a modern Rolls-Royce Phantom V12, a racing rear end, independent front suspension, modern brakes, air conditioning and real wood in the custom interior. It’s a vintage car with modern improvements. You won’t win a concours event but you’re sure to draw some eyes.

1970-ford-boss-302-mustang1970 Ford Boss 302 Mustang (Lot 1565)
The legendary Boss 302 Mustang is one of my all-time favourite cars. If I ever win the lottery, I would cash buy a Boss 302. The Boss 302 was brought in at the height of the pony car wars to fight the faster Camaros that Ford’s standard 289 and 390 V8 couldn’t match The 302 cu. in. V8 didn’t use the standard Windsor or Cleveland engines but the Windsor block with the Cleveland heads. A bit of the best of both worlds to battle with bowtie brigade. Anyway, this Boss 302 was given a complete nut and bolt restoration. It’s also going across the block on Sunday. Barrett-Jackson doesn’t let the cheap stuff through on the weekend.

batmobileThe Batmobile (Lot 5037)
It’s the much-anticipated first-ever sale of the Batmobile. But we’re not talking about the Christopher Nolan Batmobile. It’s the classic Adam West Batmobile. It started life as a 1965 Lincoln Futura concept car that was sold to car customizer George Barris for $1 before getting a rushed makeover into the iconic Batmobile for filming of the Batman TV series. Sadly, it won’t come with the dozen-plus iconic Bat gadgets that Batman used on the show. Still, it’s the original Batmobile. The kid in me who watched the classic Batman in syndication is geeking out over this.

1968-chevrolet-corvette-l-88-racecar1968 Chevrolet Corvette L-88 Racecar (Lot 5041)
If you’re a Chevy fan, this is an iconic race car in your mark’s history. This particular L-88 Corvette was one of the most dominant GT cars of all-time. It won the 1969 and 1972 SCCA National ‘A’ Production Championships and the 1969 and 1970 GT class in the 24 Hours of Daytona. There’s also 1969 12 Hours of Sebring GT class 2nd place to its credit too. It’s won the top award for non-street cars from the Corvette Restorers Society, participated at concours events and even been a museum piece. This one won’t come cheap but it’s a fine example of a painstakingly restored race car. Being restored to original specs means you might have a shot to win a vintage race while you’re at it.

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