Last year I covered every Barrett-Jackson auction except Palm Beach, so now, at last, I’ve come full circle.
One of the things I learned last year was that each auction and its location had their own vibe. Scottsdale is Barrett-Jackson’s home turf so it has to be the biggest event of the year, full of glamorous cars and people. The Reno auction took place alongside Hot August Nights and was all about hot rods and modified cars, muscle cars and customs. Las Vegas featured impersonators of Elvis and the Oompa Loompas joining outlandish vehicles as they crossed the block.
I hoped Palm Beach would mean fun in the sun, and it did.
There was perfect Florida weather all weekend so except for the auction arena and some displays, everything was outside at South Florida Fairgrounds which are covered in grass, sand and palm trees, a true vacation setting made even better by the hundreds of amazing cars under the huge white tents.
The docket fit the environment. Convertibles. Brightly colored muscle cars. Supercars. Even Jeeps and FJs for driving in the sand.
The event had a “Ride and Drive” course set up so people could climb into a Dodge Viper, Shelby Mustang GT350, the Challenger Hellcat or Corvette Stingray. For the less adventurous, tamer options included sedans, trucks, and vans from the various manufacturers’ 2016 lineups.
While such ride and drive attractions have become standard at Barrett-Jackson auctions, this one had bleachers set up for spectators to watch the action and they were filled from the first ride along of the day to the last.
However, the most unique thing I saw at the event was the utilization of this huge screen with rows of benches below it. The arena was so packed it was hard to find a place to stand, let alone sit down and watch, so this megascreen became a sort of outdoor theater for viewing the auction on Discovery or Velocity.
So while I can mark Palm Beach off my must-attend-before-I-die list, that list itself has expanded. Instead of returning to Reno, Barrett-Jackson holds its inaugural Northeast sale on June 23-25 in Connecticut.
Photos by Nicole James