As we enter year three of a brutal pandemic, many in-person events still haven’t returned. Auto auctions are no exception, but 2022 promises to be a good year for well-heeled collectors and enthusiasts alike. Barrett-Jackson, one of the most recognizable names in the automotive world, is counting on strong demand from a car buying public tired of being couped up inside to power its 50th anniversary auction, taking place this week in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The event runs from last Saturday, January 22, through Sunday January 30. The anniversary festivities will include special video memories and other throwback segments throughout the event. Additionally, automakers and other sponsors will be on hand with vehicle experiences, product demonstrations, thrill rides, and live music. Celebrities will be on hand to auction vehicles for charity and some events will feature well-known automotive personalities such as Wayne Carini and Ken Lingenfelter.
Barrett-Jackson was established in 1971 and is headquartered in Scottsdale. Company CEO Craig Jackson has been integral in building the auction events we see today, with heavy television presence and a variety of big-name cars, including first production units auctioned off for charity. Jackson has been involved with the company, co-founded by his father, since he was 12, when he would help manage the cars, and has worked his way through almost every job the company had to offer. His background in computer science helped him code the early Barrett-Jackson websites, and he was able to take the company online in 1994—well ahead of the competition. Following the death of his brother in 1995, Jackson took the reins of the company as CEO.
The televised auctions we all know and love today got their start just a year after Jackson took over the company, as he struck a deal with the cable channel Speedvision into televise the auctions in 1996. Coverage has been handled by various networks over the years, with 2022’s event running on A+E Networks, which include History Channel, FYI, and others.
Though 2022 is technically Barret-Jackson’s 51st anniversary, the pandemic put a damper on festivities in 2021. The move to celebrate this year doesn’t come with its own set of risks, but all signs point to Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction being a cautious return to form for splashy automotive events. Jackson says his team worked with the city and event venues on upgraded air and filtration system, and to plan an event with a layout that is safe above all else, but that also provides an engaging experience for attendees.
As has been the case for decades, the auction will feature a strong focus on charities and auctions with proceeds benefitting community organizations. This year, stars such as Pitbull and Bret Michaels will be on hand auctioning their personal cars off for charity. Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley will attend, and a special De Tomaso Pantera will cross the block to benefit Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.
Jackson is cautiously excited about 2022, though it’s important to note that Barrett-Jackson isn’t waiting for the action to come to it. Last year, the company bought Collector Car Network, which brought ClassicCars.com, AutoHunter.com, Journal.ClassicCars.com and The Future Collector Car Show under the Barrett-Jackson umbrella. The deal not only expands the company’s presence in other vehicle sales and auction formats, it gives Jackson and his team an effective weapon to compete against the rise of popular online auction sites like Cars & Bids and Bring a Trailer.
Restomods and blue-chip cars will likely remain big sales drivers for Barrett-Jackson, though plenty of supercars and contemporary models draw the interest of bidders. Jackson credits the pandemic with motivating people to get out and enjoy life, which combined with the urgency created by a volatile used and collector car market, has driven strong auction results even with smaller crowds and fewer cars in attendance.
Scottsdale 2022 could be a sales-dollar record breaker for Barrett-Jackson. The number of cars and interest from sponsors, bidders, and OEMs indicate that this year could be one of the company’s best. Jackson notes that the Detroit Auto Show’s move out of January has given his auctions a chance to shine as a top-tier automotive event, with new vehicle unveilings and other activities taking place during the week.
The focus may be on an anniversary event, but Jackson knows better than anyone that folks tune in for the cars over everything else. To that end, the Scottsdale will be one of Barrett-Jackson’s most eventful auctions to date, with over 1850 cars to cross the block, all of which feature no reserve. Jackson notes that 2022’s auction will be televised as usual but says that the planned 38 hours of live coverage is unprecedented. The History Channel will run coverage of the event, and the most anticipated cars will be auctioned off in primetime.
Out of all the cars involved in the auctions this week, a few rise above the rest for rarity and desirability. Though all of the cars will be auctioned off with no reserve, the three cars listed here should easily attract big-dollar bids.
2014 McLaren P1
McLaren built just 375 units of the world’s first hybrid supercar, all of which sold out shortly after its introduction. The car features a twin-turbocharged 3.8-liter V8 paired with an electric motor making a combined 903 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. This 2334-mile example is finished in McLaren F1 Racing Chrome, and features desirable options such as ceramic brakes and a Meridian sound system.
2015 Porsche 918
The 918 is an absolute masterpiece of a car, and with just 918 units produced, it’s also one of the rarest vehicles on the planet. The screaming naturally aspirated 4.6-liter V8 works with two electric motors to produces a total of 887 hp and 944 lb-ft of torque. This one has just 377 miles and features a gorgeous white-over-red color scheme.
2020 Ford GT Carbon Series
Ford created an exclusive and highly desirable supercar that easily competes with the most ferocious cars from Europe. The GT’s starting price of $500,000 is staggering, but its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is equally impressive. Producing 660 hp and 550 lb-ft of torque, the engine is capable of propelling the car to 60 mph from a standstill in around three seconds and on to a top speed of around 215 mph. This one features the Carbon Series package, which shaves around 40 pounds from the already svelte supercar.