The streets of downtown Phoenix were filled with the Sound of Speed for the second year in a row as part of a collaboration of cars, racing, and music played by the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. This unique event included the Barrett-Jackson pit road street festival as well as Frankie Muniz, actor and race car driver, who served as the master of ceremonies.
“The most important thing is that we want people to have fun,” said Jim Ward, president and chief executive of the Phoenix Symphony, “this is a collision of cars, racing and music and on stage we will celebrate moves, commercials, TV, what people do to their cars, NASCAR, Formula 1, 24 Hours of LeMans, and honor military vets and their service.”
According to Ward, the sound of speed is a different kind of concert from what people normally see and hear when they attend the symphony, “It’s a great way to be introduced.”
Another function of the event is to raise money for the symphony’s charity which benefits it community engagement education programs. “We have helped impact over 120,000 families, we are second only to the Department of Education,” Ward said, explaining that symphony musicians go to classrooms, homeless shelters, elderly homes and hospitals to volunteer their time.
“I had never been to the symphony, and when Jim invited us down to see it, I loved it and I got hooked,” said Craig Jackson, head of the Barrett-Jackson auction company. Jackson told Classic Car News that he wanted to bring Barrett-Jackson customers to the symphony and that many of them are philanthropic and “it’s great to have them help us in this endeavor.”
Jackson attributed the idea for the pit road experience to his wife with the goal of showing some “fantastic cars that help choreograph what you will see inside.” Jackson said the event really tries to tie car culture with the symphony in a casual, fun way, with visual effects.
Some of the notable cars on display included the 1966 Batmobile by George Barris, as well as the Ford GT40 that won the 24 Hours of LeMans, and the 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Yenko re-creation coupe driven by Paul Walker in the 2003 film 2 Fast 2 Furious.
Many of the cars on display were privately owned in Arizona, some came from the Barrett-Jackson showroom, and a few were early consignments for Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction, including a 1963 Pontiac Catalina “Swiss Cheese,” a 1957 Chevrolet “Black Widow” stock car, a 1957 Chevrolet “Quicksilver,” the Purple People Eater and VIN 001 Corvettes from 1955-1957.
Ward said that the event helps bring many new people to the event and “what we found last year is that many people who attended this event, came back to other shows.”
Photography by Matthew Fink