Buyers and spectators converge on Mandalay Bay for The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction presented by Barrett-Jackson
by Kiko Miyasato
More than four decades ago, Russ Jackson and Tom Barrett held their first car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. Barrett wanted to unload some automobiles from his personal collection, including one of his classic Mercedes that fetched $153,000 that day, a price practically unheard of at a car auction in those days. The auction was so successful that the two men decided to hold the event again the next year. Fast-forward to 2012, and Barrett-Jackson has become one of the world’s biggest collector car auctions, pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars each year. And, for the fifth year, the company brings one of its largest car auctions to Las Vegas, Sept. 20-22, at Mandalay Bay.
“A ‘car auction’ doesn’t do it justice; (it) truly is a lifestyle automotive event,” said Russ’ son, Craig Jackson, now the company’s chairman and CEO. Craig Jackson had worked alongside his father fixing and restoring cars since the age of 10. At 15, he bought and restored his first car, a Pontiac LeMans, which he still owns today. He now has more than 30 cars in his personal collection.
And take it from that avid car collector that this year’s event in Las Vegas will knock people’s socks off. “(Attendees) are going to see stuff that they’ll never get to see unless they visit our showroom in Scottsdale,” he said. While the main event, broadcast live on the Speed network, is the two-day car auction—hundreds of cars are on the block—Barrett-Jackson is also presenting a preview of the Scottsdale salon’s collection of cars. Viewable to all guests of the event, it “will be quite a show to see,” Jackson said. More than 20 vehicles will be on display in a specially designated area in one of the event halls. These are cars that many people have never seen or heard of, and each car is worth millions of dollars.
Other notable happenings are the road rally on Sept. 19, where more than 80 classic cars will cruise the Las Vegas Strip beginning at 2 p.m. And, in addition to lounge areas and sponsored booths inside the convention center at Mandalay Bay, on Sept. 21-22, the automotive company Meguiar’s will conduct car care seminars.
In the auction, buyers go head-to-head bidding on an amazing collection of cars, most of them set with no reserve. Even the wives get in on the action, Jackson said, noting that when husbands get blown out of the water on a bid, it’s the wives that get very territorial. The action and vibe in the showroom and throughout the entire event is truly exciting and electric, said Jackson. “There are other people and companies that try to copy us and our event, but there is simply only one Barrett-Jackson.”