The big-dog collector cars hit the stage at Barrett-Jackson on Saturday, with a number of multi-million-dollar sales as superb classics and unique concepts thrilled the gigantic crowd in the main tent.
All told, eight cars ran into the millions of dollars. Through Saturday, total sales for the Scottsdale auction exceed $76 million.
Not surprisingly, the headline collector car of the Scottsdale auction, the 1948 Tucker Torpedo, became the top sale of the event with a resounding bid of $2.65 million, plus 10 percent bidder fee.
One of just 51 cars built in the short life of the Tucker car company, the gleaming-blue, rear-engine sedan with its signature triple headlights rolled onto stage with a round of applause from the massive auction crowd that didn’t stop until the Tucker was hammered “sold” by auctioneer Spanky Assiter.
“The best Tucker in the world in my opinion,” Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis said of the car consigned from the Ron Pratte collection in Chandler, Ariz.
Another star of the Scottsdale auction, the 1947 Bentley Mark VI with its glorious Franay body, climbed quickly to a winning bid of $2.5 million, plus 10 percent bidder fee.
Widely considered to be the most beautiful Bentley ever built, the auction car was also brought to the auction by Pratte, a Barrett-Jackson regular and renowned car enthusiast.
“An English chassis with a beautiful French coach on it,” auction CEO Craig Jackson said before the bidding. “This has to be the most beautiful Bentley ever produced.”
The all-original 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing driven just over 4,000 miles was the first car of the evening to hit $2 million, before 10 percent bidder fee, which is a towering price for a steel (rather than alloy) Gullwing but not unexpected considering its pristine condition.
Next up was the exotic and extremely rare 1933 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow, also from Don William’s Blackhawk Collection, that equaled the Gullwing sale at $2 million, before fee.
All of these cars were from Barrett-Jackson’s recently established Salon Collection of top-value offerings. Other cars from the collection that struck gold in Scottsdale were:
• The wonderful 1954 DeSoto Adventurer II concept car that hit a well-deserved $1.43 million, including bidder fee.
• The ultra-luxurious 1928 Daimler Royal Limousine, the biggest British car every built, which reached $1,155,000, including fee.
• A lovely 1930 Isotta Fraschini Cabriolet with just over 13,000 original miles that was hammered sold at an even $1 million, plus 10 percent bidder fee.
• The top-drawer 1930 Duesenberg J limousine sold for $1,045,000, including fee.
But of all the sales, the most exciting during Saturday’s “prime time” auction has to be the second act of the custom 1964 Ford Fairlane donated by Steve Davis and sold for $700,000 at the Las Vegas auction to benefit the Armed Forced Foundation, only to be donated back to Barrett-Jackson by winner Ron Pratte to be sold for the foundation once again.
This time, the Fairlane soared to a solid $1 million, bought by Ted Mcintyre, founder of Marine Turbine Technologies in Louisiana, before a cheering, flag-waving crowd as a Marine color guard stood at attention on stage.
Pure theater and every penny of the seven-figure sale goes to the Armed Forces Foundation, which helps military families in need.
Another top sale was rung up by the “crown jewel” of General Motors muscle cars, a rare 1969 Camaro ZL1 with its aluminum 427 V8 that was bid up to $410,000 on the block, plus bidder fee. Only 69 ZL1 Camaros were built in a back-door deal with GM’s COPO division, and the drag-strip racers have achieved mythical proportions among collectors.
Saturday sales at the Scottsdale auction continued through midnight ET, with Sunday as the last day of the six- day event. SPEED is broadcasting more than 39 hours of live auction action.
Bob Golfen, Automotive Editor for SPEED.com, is a veteran auto writer based in Phoenix, Arizona, with a passion for collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle.