We have to preface this with the disclaimer-we are not a Barrett-Jackson site nor do we expect to be one in the future.
But you can’t ignore these guys and the effect that they’ve had on the mainstream car hobby.
Barrett-Jackson has taken the old car world into prime time television-they’ve made armchair quarterbacks out of committed car guys and drawn new fans from the masses thanks to their splashy televised auctions.
This means more married guys can run an old car by their wives simply because owning one can connect you with celebrities: “Honey, that was Jody Foster’s VW Beetle that just sold and look-there she is signing the roof. Isn’t that cool?”
You need every advantage you can get in the eternal struggle between old car, husband and wife. Jody might be your trump card.
Barrett-Jackson has had another huge influence on old car world. They’ve driven the average market in interesting directions-the Amphicar suddenly became a six-figure item under the B-J spotlights. Mopar fin cars went from the under 10,000 range to well into 200,000 for mint Chrysler 300 G convertibles.
And as we all know, the lesser cousins of these cars like the 58 Dodge Coronets get caught up in the vortex of this spike in prices.
But there is always collateral damage with a sudden spike in prices-just ask anyone who bought a $500,000 house in the Phoenix area about 3 years ago. The same process happens with old cars-suddenly some hillbilly with a rusty ’66 Chevelle gets stars in his eyes and you enter the land of the 25,000-dollar project car–that’s very,very wrong.
You can’t blame B-J for pumping up these no-minds who think that a car that’s 70 % iron and 30 % rust is suddenly worth its weight in gold when it’s advertised in the local Bargain Finder. But the old car market, like every market, is relentlessly and mercilessly self-correcting. So every dreamer with a 65 Buick that needs 50,000 worth of work just to pass an insurance inspection will eventually end up with what he deserves. An un-sellable parts car.
But in all fairness to Barrett-Jackson, the surge in prices that they helped establish meant that cars were saved and reproduction parts were made. The Chrysler fin cars are a great example of this phenomenon because 15 years ago you couldn’t buy a reproduction floor pan-the best you could do was hold a fabricator at gunpoint for several days as he hammered out a new trunk pan.
Now there are several competitors in this field-you can actually comparison-shop.
So, to celebrate TV Old Car Auction Week, we are going to go through an imaginary exercise and pick a “Car of the Day” at the Barrett-Jackson auction. We’re going to approach this from the perspective of an imaginary buyer-a married guy who has some wiggle room on his buying power and the conditional consent of his wife. And we’re not going to pick cliché cars.
But we are going to throw a wrinkle into the formula and give you our sober bid and drunk bid on the same car because let’s face it-the odd cocktail is spilled at B-J and this has influenced prices. A lot.
We’re also going to pick one of these cars to be a “divorce car”. In other words, our fictional buyer is going to come home to a broken marriage after a drunken bid. Take that, reality TV.
It’s going to be fun and we’ll give you the actual selling price on our dream cars after the auction ends, so stay tuned every day this week for the adventures of our Barrett-Jackson, average, married, sober/drunk, fictional bidder.