From January 14-22, 2017, Barrett-Jackson’s flagship auction at WestWorld Scottsdale had its moment in the sun. Aside of the poor weather, the auction set 40 sales records among 1,719 consigned vehicles totaling $102.5 million (the most expensive being a 1964 Aston Martin DB5). The spirit of giving was also in force, with the auction raising more than $2.2 million for several charities.
Also receiving the spotlight were over 1,800 automobilia items totaling more than $2.5 million. Even the Big Three were in on the act, with Chevrolet and Ford providing “ride ’n drive” activities, plus FCA hosting Dodge Thrill Rides.
Yet, despite the money, Barrett-Jackson is really about the cars and car culture. To give you a taste, below you’ll find several vehicles that may not have received TV glory, as well as several dark horses that could easily have been overlooked:
1934 Ford Custom Pickup
Barrett-Jackson is always a fine place to find vintage hot rods, but the great ones aren’t always from back in the day. In the case of Jimmy Shine’s bare metal ’34 Ford pickup, it has garnered accolades from Rodder’s Journal and just about everyone else that matters. What started out as a $500 cab, bed, and frame in 1997 turned into a multi-fabricated, underslung milestone. As you’d expect from a throwback, this Ford is powered by a 1949 8AB Flathead V-8 with Potvin camshaft, Edelbrock 7.5:1 heads and dual-carb intake, and a set of pretty Stromberg 97s. For $95,700 (including buyer commission), it could have been yours.
1939 Chevrolet C1500 Custom Pickup “Brass Monkey”
Yet another hot rod pickup, Doug Eldred and the Eldred Hotrod Shop in Pennsylvania took a different route with the Brass Monkey. What’s most notable about this build is that it now features an integrated custom-build frame resulting in full unibody construction. Motivation comes from an SBC 355 complete with aluminum heads and quad Strombergs, all hooked up to a GM 700R4 automatic overdrive with 4.10 final drive ratio. Clever engineering with a nod towards creativity was the formula for the Brass Monkey to garner $110,000 when the hammer went down.
1954 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom Convertible
While the above two vehicles were full-on customs, this Chevy ragtop is a subtler affair. One of several cars from the Gordon Apker Collection, this ‘54 was inspired by “Moonglow,” a Car Craft (1957) cover car built by Duane Steck. The impact on Gordon was so great that he commissioned a Moonglow-inspired convertible years later. With purist’s intent, only vintage parts were used in the build, including a mildly modified 235 “Blue Flame Six” with twin carbs paired to a stock Powerglide. As a testament to Steck’s fine sensibility, Moonglow continues to have a certain je n’ais se quoi, and for $42,900, it may have been the best value of the week.
1964 Pontiac Grand Prix
The Grand Prix stands tall among American cars from the 1960s, but it’s a GTO world so their prices have never matched its influence. With a 1962 introduction and a 1963 restyle that set several trends, the 1964 iteration tends to get lost in the shuffle. The classic Pontiac 8-lug wheels, deep Marimba Red paint, and fancy bucket-and-console interior replete with gauges hide the fact that this GP is completely pedestrian with the standard 389/303 and automatic, but driving in style doesn’t necessarily require speed. $35,200 is strong money for one of these, but this Grand Prix was a strong car.
1965 Chevrolet El Camino
Along with the introduction of the mid-sized 1964 Chevelle was the reintroduction of the El Camino after a respite of several years; for 1965, Chevrolet upped the performance options to include the mighty L79 327/350. Only 6,021 were installed among all A-bodies, so you can imagine what a rarity an El Camino would be equipped with this performance engine. Like most L79s, this Tahitian Turquoise “Elkie” is equipped with a 4-speed manual, but the goodies continue: Positraction, factory gauges, and simulated wood steering wheel, among others. $42,900 sounds rich for a light-duty hauler, but have you priced a Honda Ridgeline lately?
1966 Shelby GT350
It’s easy to poo-pooh 1966 Shelbys because they were watered down versions of the ’65, but this one is different: When new, car #6S1066 was shipped to Lima, Peru, where Teodoro Yangali raced it in the 3,000-km Caminos del Inca Rally (among other events), winning the event twice in 1972-73. The Shelby returned to the U.S. in 2002, receiving a mild restoration with respect in preserving its race history; a complete restoration was performed in 2015 to return the GT350 to its factory specifications. The $132,000 auction price wasn’t cheap, but what Shelby Mustang is?
1967 Mercury Monterey Convertible
When it comes to land barges, 1967 Mercurys are not on anyone’s must-have list, but this ragtop is a testament that deals can be found at Barrett-Jackson. The Monterey isn’t even a top-line trim level, so why the attraction? A 345-horse Super Marauder 428 and a 4-speed. According to Marti Auto Works, only 10 were built in this combination, but eight of those were Montereys with the S-55 Sports Package (buckets, console, and more), meaning this cruiser is one of two. For $22,000, someone lucked out.
1969 Hurst/Olds Convertible Clone
When the Hurst/Olds debuted for 1968, it was characterized as the “Gentleman’s Supercar.” But there was nothing gentlemanly about the 1969 edition, which was completely in-your-face thanks to bright gold accents and monster hood scoops. Among the 900+ built, it is believed only two or three were convertibles. This one is a recreation of the real thing, so naturally it’s powered by a “period-correct” 455/380 with chrome valve covers and vacuum-operated air induction, plus a TH400 automatic with Hurst Dual/Gate shifter. Fresh from a body-off restoration, the H/O clone cost the buyer a rich $71,500.
Mustangs are a dime a dozen at Barrett-Jackson, but these two stood out as being off the beaten path. The Boss 302 may appear unremarkable upon first glance, but it is painted in the subtle hue of Pastel Blue, a light blue that looks white in certain light. It’s not your typical high-performance color, which is why only 66 Pastel Blue Boss 302s were built out of 7,014 total. The Medium Blue Mach I also initially appears unremarkable – just another 351C Mach I – but this one is a T5. A German company already owned the rights to the Mustang name, so Ford marketed the pony in Deutschland as the T5 (which was the Mustang project’s name several years earlier); only 143 SportsRoofs were exported to Germany in 1970, including Mach Is. The Boss sold for $56,100 while the 4-speed T5 achieved an astounding $110,000.
1972 GMC Sprint SP
Generally you could count on Chevrolet and GMC offering similar vehicles, but what about the El Camino? GMC didn’t produce one until 1971. Called the Sprint, it differed little from its Bow Tie brethren, including available engines – that’s right, it was possible to order a 454 Sprint SP with Cowl Induction. Much like the SS, the SP package (its meaning is unknown, but the parts book says “Special Performance”) was available with any “Invader V-8”-equipped Sprint plus domed hood, front power discs, black grille, hood pins, styled wheels, fat tires and, for 1972, SP badges and rear-quarter decals. Only 749 1972 SPs were built, with this 402-equipped example hitting $33,000.
For even more Barrett-Jackson goodness, take a glance at the below gallery and let us know which was your favorite.