All posts by Nicole James

Nicole James has been involved in the automotive world her entire life. Her dream car is a 1965 Ford Mustang which she bought as her first car at the age of 16. She currently drives a 2005 Mustang affectionately known as Marilyn, and uses the car to participate in track events. Nicole joined the Content and Marketing team in 2014. Nicole is Editor-in-Chief of Car Street Journal, an online publication catering to the Arizona car enthusiast community, as well as a contributor for Follow Nicole on Instagram (@Nicole_ellan), Twitter (@nicoleeellan), and Facebook. Use her hashtags: #highheelsandhorsepower #V6withsomebite

Window shopping with Nicole at Barrett-Jackson

Being born and raised in Scottsdale, Arizona, the Barrett Jackson auction has always been an event for looking. Never once in my years of going has it been to purchase a vehicle or even sell one. I have always gone because to me, as a little girl, as a teenager, and now as a young adult it is a car show and an opportunity to see some of the most unique and rare cars in the world.

What appeals to me about Barrett-Jackson is its diversity. You never know what you will come across. I remember running around with my dad, looking at all the beautiful cars and what I love so much about that is that each car has its own story from its own time. I love the glamorous long hoods and rolling fenders from the ’20s and ’30s, to the more angled and bubble-esk cars of the ’40s and ’50s into the powerhouse ‘60s and ’70s muscle cars, and the more modern cars I see roaming the streets today.

As I walked around Barrett-Jackson today I had a new appreciation for these cars that can be attributed to fond memories of riding shot gun in some of my dad’s old hot rods and hearing him passionately talk about his dream cars the years before. This year I took Barrett-Jackson in stride and decided to look at the cars as if I was window shopping for my future car collection.

Here are some of the cars I wanted to take home with me and why:

1968 Jaguar E-type roadster
This is a fairly new addition to my dream garage. Something is so intoxicatingly sensual to me about the long nose on this car (Lot 805). The pearlescent blue paint sucks me in and leaves me wanting more. This particular year represents a transition between the early Series I and Series II, giving the driver/owner the best of Series I styling cues and the technical improvements of the Series II.
1957 Chevrolet 210 custom
I am instantly taken back to a time when I was sitting on the grandstands of the drag strip at Firebird International Raceway. As a young girl, and still to this day, there is nothing more captivating than a ’57 Chevy speeding down the quarter mile. This one (Lot 793.1) is a Resto-mod housing a healthy Z06-LS6 motor and a six-speed-manual, and in seductive red.
1968 Ford Mustang custom convertible
There is nothing more that I love than race cars and Mustangs. Put the two together in this white convertible with beautiful red stripes (Lot 1010) and what do you get? Pure awesomeness. I love the aggressive styling of the hood scoops combined with the sleep side scoops and aggressive no-nonsense front grill area.
1935 Ford custom pickup
This speaks to me on so many levels. It has the aggressive front grill with defined and sharp edges, the swooping rolling fenders, and that classic hot rod look. Missing side panels leaves the built ’59 AB Flathead motor exposed. Add in those three beautiful chrome Stromberg 97 carburetors with rare Sharp intake manifold and Sharp aluminum heads and you got yourself a real winner (Lot 455) dripping in gorgeous purple paint.
1966 Shelby Daytona recreation coupe
What I loved about this car is that it is 100-percent unique, something I have never seen before. Complete with a fixed hard top and a wide body stance, this Shelby Daytona Coupe (Lot 495) is an eye catcher. The build list on this car is incredible and includes a 406-cid stroker motor, Edelbrock carburetor, and all the fun shiny extras like a polished aluminum intake, aluminum radiator, headers, and a chrome exhaust.
2008 Shelby GT500 KR
What I love so much about this is simple: it looks like Marilyn (my very own 2005 Ford Mustang). I look at this Shelby as an inspiration for what my car could become. I love the front bumper, the splitter is sexy as all heck, and I have been lusting after the GT500 hood. What makes this car (Lot 440) even more spectacular to me? It’s the same Torch Red as mine. I also love the Carbon fiber mirror covers and side skirts.


Teenagers’ walls likely show the future of the hobby

From left, Larry Edsall, John Carlson, Dave Kinney and Tom Cotter discuss the classic car market | Nicole James photo
From left, Larry Edsall, John Carlson, Dave Kinney and Tom Cotter discuss classic car market | Nicole James photo

If you want to invest in classic and collector cars, look to see what is on the walls of a teenager’s bedroom. At least that was some of the advice shared Saturday at the sixth annual Phoenix Automotive Press Association Arizona Auction Week Preview, held at the Arizona Biltmore on the eve of the Arizona Concours d’Elegance.

“Anything that resonates with that generation,” said Dave Kinney, classic car expert and publisher of the Hagerty Price Guide. “They might be too young when it came out, but as they get older they will be able to get that car they always wanted.”

Among those cars, said Kinney, concours chief judge John Carlson and barn-found car expert and author Tom Cotter, are the so-called JDM cars — JDM is short for Japanese Domestic Market, which includes cars produced in Japan but not always exported to the U.S. — as well as 1970’s Datsuns, cars such as the Subaru WRX, 1990s’ Ford Mustangs, and even, Cotter added, “obscure British cars.”

And the panelists are putting their money behind their words. Carlson, who has a collection of hot rods and American muscle cars, shared a story about how at the Arizona auctions last year he bought a rare Alex Zanardi-edition Acura NSX, and Cotter talked about recently starting the restoration of his 1972 Datsun 510, a car he used to race.

However, Kinney suggested that people with cars such as the NSX or WRX need to take very good care of them. Many such cars have been hot-rodded and raced by their initial owners. Twenty years from now, he said, it will be nearly impossible to find one that hasn’t been all but destroyed, thus increasing the value of those that are in excellent condition.

Kinney noted that the Ford GT, a mid-engine supercar launched less than a decade ago, already is accelerating in value. He also pointed out that the least-popular color option among buyers when the Ford GT was brand new has become the most sought-after look for collectors.

That color scheme is known as the Heritage version and is based on the blue and orange colors of the Gulf-sponsored Ford GT40s that race at Le Mans in the 1960s.

The panelists also noted that we are in what really is the golden age of the automobile. Cars are faster, lighter, safer, get better gas mileage and are the very best ever been built, and will be sought as collectible classics by future generations.

During an open question and answer segment, people in the audience asked about the future of the hobby as it faces generational changes.

Panelists said that millennials are interested in cars, but not necessarily the same sort of car events as their parents and grandparents.

Kinney noted that what younger owners aren’t interested in awards and trophies. Instead, what they want to do is to enjoy their cars, to drive and have fun with them, which includes going to “cars and coffee” style events where they can hang out with friends for a couple of hours.

The panel was moderated by Larry Edsall, editorial director for and founding editor of the Phoenix auto press group.

Eye Candy: Barrett-Jackson Day at the Scottsdale Pavilions car show


Photos by Nicole James

It was Barrett-Jackson Day last Saturday at what is believed to be one of the longest-running weekly car gatherings in the country. Officially called the McDonald’s Rock ’n’ Roll Classic Car Show, the every-Saturday-of-the-year event it is more commonly known as “the Pavilions,” or even “Pavs” to Phoenix area car enthusiasts. Despite having classic in the name, all different years, makes and models attend the event blending the classic car crowd with new model enthusiasts and everything in between.

The show is held in the parking lot of the Pavilions at Talking Stick, a shopping mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. Barrett-Jackson stages its 44th annual collector car auction starting Saturday, a few miles up the road from this location.

As sort of a kickoff to the auction, Barrett-Jackson displayed some of the cars that will be offered at the auction and also handed out posters, bags and key chains to fans.

As usual, as many as 500 cars and around 150 motorcycles were displayed by their proud owners. This week, Party Time DJs provided a steady supply of 1950’s era music.