“Mr. President, sell that car!”
Those are five words I would have never imagined hearing on our auction block two decades ago.
I’d like to extend my most sincere gratitude to all who made our 47th Annual Scottsdale Auction one of our most memorable events to date. At this year’s Scottsdale Auction we crossed the $100 million mark in funds we’ve helped raise for charity, hosted a former president of the United States, were seen by millions around the world on live television, and had an incredible number of exhibitors and automotive sponsors on hand.
Twenty years ago we had the vision of turning a car auction into a world-class automotive lifestyle event unlike any other, and these milestones prove that is exactly what it has become. Today, I couldn’t be more proud of the work our team has put in to make that vision come to life, and more grateful for the continuous support of the collection car community.
Barrett-Jackson was incredibly honored to welcome former President George W. Bush to the 2018 Scottsdale Auction. We are also so grateful to General Motors, who not only brought the former president as a guest, but generously donated a 2018 Carbon 65 Edition Corvette to benefit the Bush Center’s Military Service Initiative. It was another of those unforgettable “Barrett-Jackson moments” when we started to auction the car, then surprised the crowd in the arena by suddenly stopping the auction to introduce the 43rd President of the United States.
As you can see in the photo I captured (above), the arena literally exploded with applause and cheers when he appeared, which only escalated when bidding on the car quickly went higher, culminating in the winning bid of $1.4 million as President Bush brought the gavel down.
The Carbon 65 Corvette was one of a number of vehicles we sold to benefit a variety of charitable organizations during the 2018 Scottsdale event, but it was the auction of the tenth and final charity car – a rare, brand-new 2017 Ford GT donated by our friend Ron Pratte – that had the most significance to our company. When that exceptional car sold for $2.55 million to help those with autism, it pushed us well over the $100-million mark in the amount raised for charity through the platform of Barrett-Jackson since its inception. I can’t help but wish my father Russ, mother Nellie, brother Brian and Tom Barrett were still around to witness that meaningful moment; it was their spirit of community involvement and philanthropy from day one that put us on the path we are today.
Another memorable sale was the auction of a 35th Anniversary Corvette that belonged to my wife Carolyn and me to benefit the American Heart Association. (You can read more about that and other elements of our “Driven Hearts” charitable initiative kickoff on page 96 of the latest Barrett-Jackson Experience magazine.) It was an overwhelmingly moving moment when Michelle Mauzy, the widow of our great friend and longtime customer Greg Mauzy, had the winning bid on the car and then – in an unquestionable nod to her husband’s memory – stood up and shouted the three words for which he was most famous: “Sell it again!” The car was then quickly purchased by the one and only Joe Riley, who also donated the car back. The kindness and generosity exhibited by Michelle and Joe exemplifies that of so many of our bidders and consignors, without whom we never would have reached the $100 million milestone.
President George W. Bush brought the crowd to its feet and John Staluppi’s electrifying bidding kept them there. When the hammer dropped on the Carbon 65 Corvette for the Bush Military Service Initiative, the room knew John was going home with that car. That determination and goodwill is typical of John and his wife Jeanette, who are often in attendance at our auctions around the country and have contributed millions to our charitable efforts over the years. I’m honored they have chosen our upcoming Palm Beach Auction to sell their extraordinary Cars of Dreams Collection, which is filled with iconic vehicles spanning 100 years of automotive history, many of them convertibles from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s (see page 52 of our magazine for more on this amazing collection).We’re excited to not only showcase the 140-plus vehicles from the John Staluppi Cars of Dreams Collection in April, but also more than another 100 exemplary cars from the South Florida Collection (see page 30 of the Barrett-Jackson Experience magazine). There are so many incredible offerings coming in for our Florida event, in fact, that we’ve added a fourth day to the auction to accommodate them all.
As always, we’ll kick off each day of our Palm Beach Auction with an astonishing array of automobilia. We had a record number of these nostalgic pieces representing our motoring past at our Scottsdale auction, with a number of notable sales – including a spectacular transportation-themed carousel and a very rare Husky Gasoline porcelain service station sign from the late 1930s (see page 94 of the magazine). From neon signs to impeccably restored gas pumps and everything in between, our automobilia auction provides a great opportunity for enthusiasts to pick up that perfect, authentic piece to complement their car collection or provide a focal point for their garage.
We are always tremendously thankful for the support of the collector car community, and we are excited to see what the future holds and what new dreams are realized. I hope to see many of you at our upcoming Palm Beach Auction, which is a not-to-be-missed South Florida event!
For a look at the Spring 2018 issue of the Barrett-Jackson Experience magazine, click HERE.