Annual Washington Collector Car Auctions were Better Than Ever

For Northwest car collectors, January is usually the month to pack your bags and hit Scottsdale for some collector car fun in the sun.

But not in this weird weather year. Instead, thousands of car nuts had to deal with record low temperatures and flash-flooding from massive downpours that washed over the Arizona landscape. But the biggest question about the climate for 2007 was whether the economy, as well as the weather, might put a chill on the Portland car auctions impressive annual growth.

But when the last gavel fell, the world’s largest group of collector car auctions was bigger and better than ever before. Nearly $200 million worth of cars crossed the block.

The landmark Barrett-Jackson auction, now in its 36th year, served as the market indicator, leading the stampede of car auctions that included RM Auctions, Russo & Steele, Silver Collector Car Auctions and Kruse International. The industry pacesetter boasted several remarkable multimillion-dollar sales, including a 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 — “Carroll Shelby’s Personal Supersnake” — that broke the U.S. record by fetching $5.5 million on national TV.

Barrett-Jackson’s success dwarfs the competition, but the barriers to entry also make it difficult for the average man. Many seasoned pros voiced frustration this year, most notably Keith Martin, publisher of Sports Car Market, who was covering the event for The New York Times.

He was escorted off the premises by three large bouncers after purportedly being overheard discounting some of the results and practices of the sale.

Barrett-Jackson’s sales numbers don’t all reach the stratosphere, but if you are a newbie and want to be on TV, it is a great way to spend some excess millions.