Barrett-Jackson’s 12th annual East Coast collector-car auction happens April 11-13 at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. As customary, the emphasis is on classic cruisers, convertibles and luxury cars that suit the relaxed Florida lifestyle.
The Palm Beach Auction comes after January’s highly successful sale in Scottsdale, Barrett-Jackson’s signature event that marked its 43rd year with a record $113 million total. Expectations are running high that the Florida auction will continue the level of success for Barrett-Jackson and the booming market for collector cars.
People like to get cars that they can just buy and drive.”
— Craig Jackson
South Florida is known for its winter vacationers, and Barrett-Jackson has timed its auction to catch seasonal visitors before they head back home, many of them to the Northeast and Canada, said Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson chief executive and chairman. The beach-resort atmosphere is reflected in the event.
“It’s more laid back in a lot of ways,” Jackson said in an interview. “There’s a different selection of cars. People like to get cars that they can just buy and drive, and convertibles are popular; you can use them year round.”
Which explains the high number of late-model specialty cars that are on the docket, including 15 Bentleys (with two Azure convertibles and a 2006 Arnage sedan once owned by NBA star Lebron James) and a number of modern-era Jaguars and Mercedes-Benzes. Two of the featured cars are recently minted: a 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder with less than 1,000 miles and a 2005 Ford GT.
Ford hit a grand slam with its instantly collectable GT mid-engine sports coupe, Jackson noted, making them a staple at auctions and in high-end collections. “Those are hot as heck,” he said.
Naturally, there is a wide variety of Camaros, Mustangs, muscle cars and customs that make up the heart of Barrett-Jackson auctions. Resto mods – vintage cars that have been restored in appearance with modern drivetrains and suspensions – are popular in Florida because they are designed to be driven.
“Typically, resto mods bring even more money there than they do in Scottsdale,” Jackson said.
Consignments for the Florida auction have been solid, he added, which he attributes partially to the impressive results of the Scottsdale auction.
“We’re north of 500 in the catalog right now, and they’re still processing some,” Jackson said Tuesday. “That’s pretty strong. We’re riding the wave of Scottsdale.”
Last year’s sales for the Palm Beach auction totaled nearly $21 million, including $1.8 million raised to benefit charities. Among charity cars this year are the first retail production 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, donated by General Motors with all the proceeds benefitting the Karmanos Cancer Institute, and the radically modified 2013 Ford Mustang featured in the movie “Need for Speed” donated by Ford with all proceeds benefitting the Henry Ford Health System. Both cars go over the block during the “prime time” sale on auction weekend Saturday.
Live television coverage of the Palm Beach auction will total 21 hours with a multi-platform, interactive broadcast with three Fox networks trading off time slots. Broadcasting begins Friday, April 11, at noon (Eastern) on Fox Sports 2, then continues on Fox Sports 1 at 3 p.m. At 6 p.m., the broadcast switches back to Fox Sports 2, then to Fox Sports 1 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The National Geographic Channel provides eight hours of continuous coverage on Saturday, April 12, starting at noon. Fox Sports 1 covers the final day Sunday, April 13, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Interactive features include the Barrett-Jackson Social Garage of Facebook postings and Twitter connections driven by @Barrett_Jackson and #BarrettJackson.
Viewers can compete for prizes in the popular Hagerty Fantasy Bid Game, in which contestants vie to estimate the sales results for select cars on the docket. To sign up, see www.foxfantasybid.com.
For more information about the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction, see www.barrett-jackson.com.