JANUARY 19, 2015: YOU NEED TO DO THIS ONE THING IN LIFE–GO TO BARRETT-JACKSON

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I live in a northern climate area where winter is a long and grim prospect.

 

I will not see a vintage ride here on the streets until at least April (optimistically) or May (realistically).

 

Car guys hit dangerous levels of cabin fever during the winter months and, if there “ain’t no cure for the summertime blues”, there is less on the shelf for winter cabin fever-except for the Barrett Jackson cure.

 

 

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Full disclosure-I saw my first Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction on TV back in the 90s and was hooked forever on this event.

 

What could be better than the world’s greatest car show in the middle of January under the warm sunny skies of the Arizona desert?

 

I watched as the Scottsdale auction became bigger and better over the years. The vehicles range from the highly affordable to the expensive stuff of dreams in the car hobby, and the ceiling gets higher every year.

 

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Every year I envied the hundreds of thousands of people who are smarter than me and took the trip to Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction.

 

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They were able to enjoy the world’s greatest hybrid of a car auction mixed with a car show, because this event is all about both for visitors.

 

This year I was finally lucky enough to attend the 2015 Barrett-Jackson and one thing was immediately evident to me: this baby was even bigger than my expectations.

 

The first thing you notice at Scottsdale is the sheer size of the event.

 

My first reaction is how do I cover this amount of territory and see everything along the way?

 

The place is a series of giant tents and buildings that surround the bidding area where the auction action takes center stage.

 

The major players in the commercial display area were the Big Three, somewhat appropriate given the large scale representation of vintage American iron at Barrett-Jackson.

 

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They showed the best, brightest and fastest of modern day Detroit.

 

However, I was at Barrett-Jackson to see the best and brightest from yesteryear and I was not disappointed-I was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.

 

 

The first day was a recon mission so I could get the lay of the land at Barrett-Jackson. I covered as much territory as possible to get a feel for the place and started to catalog the most interesting rides in the show for future reference.

 

The looming question is how do you pick the stars in a sea of stars?

 

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Do you concentrate on the high end rides with million dollar-plus pedigrees, low end stuff within the budget of many car guys, wild rides, terminally cute rides, custom rides- because Barrett-Jackson is all things to all people.

 

Barrett-Jackson is essentially a series of events under one umbrella. The atmosphere is an odd combination of the sheer excitement of a world class auction and the laid-back vibe of a really good car show.

 

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Throw in the carnival atmosphere of music, food and vendors outside the tents and the place becomes a complete sensory overload.

 

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I will chronicle my biggest impressions of my first Barrett-Jackson in future features while they are still somewhat fresh in my memory.

 

Suffice to say it was a huge life moment and I highly recommend a pilgrimage to this car guy Mecca.

 

Jim Sutherland

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