Barrett-Jackson 2019

Scenes from the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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Remembering the crowds at Barrett-Jackson 2017, I stayed home in 2018. The memory faded, and when my friend Ed said he was going this year, I asked to come along. We drove to Westworld in Scottsdale yesterday, accompanied by Ed’s son Nick and grandson Andrew, who were making their first pilgrimage.

Last year excepted, I’ve made every Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction since 2009. It’s part car show, part auction, and part state fair: lots of shiny cars to ogle, food and drink vendors on the midway, crowds of people. This year was no exception.

We entered through the main exhibitor and auction tent, densely packed with gawkers and bidders, but as soon as I found an exit door and stepped out onto the midway … well, as you can see in the top pair of photos, the crowds thinned out. Once I wandered into those football field-sized tents, though, the feeling of being crushed in the middle of a rugby scrum returned. And the rental scooters, my god. They were everywhere, at least half the people sitting on them not even remotely disabled, and who knows how many innocent toes they silently snuck up on and crushed? Gah!

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As I explain in virtually every car show post, I’m not a muscle car buff. I like the old stuff, the real classics, along with oddball mini- and micro-cars, orphan cars from companies that went out of business when I was still a kid, and motorcycles.

The tents this year were packed with muscle, resto-mods, well-preserved daily drivers from the 1980s and 90s, and tons of pickup trucks from the 1940s and 50s, I suspect cheaply restored and repainted. In past years, indoor exhibitors included Rolls Royce, Bentley, and Porsche. This year it was pretty much the Big Three and Tesla. At previous auctions outdoor exhibitors displayed airplanes, helicopters, and cigarette boats … this year, electric bicycles. The whole affair seemed more downmarket than in the past.

Happily, a few of the cars on display spoke to me. Here are some that caught my eye.

BMW Isetta

’58 Buick Century

1970s Moto Guzzi V7 Ambassador

1949 Case Streamline tractor

1947 Crosley pickup truck

1951 Frazier Manhattan convertible sedan

Click on any thumbnail image to see the full-sized photo on Flickr. You can see my entire Barrett-Jackson 2019 album (95 photos) by clicking here.

Note: I edited this post a few hours after posting it, adding observations I meant to include but didn’t have on the tip of my tongue the first time around.

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