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Barrett Jackson Classic Car Auction in Scottsdale: Classic and Celebrity Cars

Reinhard Schmid
Classic car auction in Scottsdale
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D he voice threatens to overturn. The auctioneer's singsong rattles through the hall like a square dance song played too fast. Individual words can only be understood in between when the speed drops: '50,000 dollars', then the pace picks up again. Time is money. After all, around 250 cars from pre-war classic cars to muscle cars have to go under the hammer. The purple and white painted Plymouth Hemi‘Cuda, built in 1971, with the number 1246 is just one of many. Even if the owner is a star: Al Jardine, guitarist for the Beach Boys. He's up on the stage with a white guitar. The successful bidder will get an autograph of the surfer boy, who is visibly aging, free of charge and of course a souvenir photo.

At the weekend the cars are sometimes ridiculously expensive

But for them That doesn't seem too tempting for car fans. The price is only slowly rising. After about two minutes the hammer falls: 'Sold for 74,000 dollars.' Briefly put the 'Sold' sticker on the window, then the car rolls off the stage. The next please. Anyone who imagines a rather classy event under a classic car auction will be taught better in the Arizona desert. Even if the prices climb into the six-digit range, only the auctioneers and their assistants wear suits and ties here. The audience prefers jeans, so it is difficult to guess the amount of their credit card limit. Only in the auction hall itself does the distribution of seats help a little with the allocation: The chairs in front of the stage and on the stands are reserved for the registered, potent bidders. Gary Cassidy is one of them. With his gray mustache and denim shirt, the mid-fifties looks like the prototype of the muscle car fan. From wintry British Columbia, he comes to Scottsdale for auction week every year. Is it worth? 'At the weekend the cars are sometimes ridiculously expensive, but there are real bargains to be had during the week,' grins the Canadian. He has already bought a red 1960 Chevrolet Impala for $ 63,800 - “in top condition”.

Celebrity cars are in

What Cassidy thinks is overpriced also attracts most visitors. Around 300 highlights are lined up in a tent right next to the auction hall. Typically American: In addition to muscle cars and chrome-decorated Cadillac, a Batmobile and a car park hereGhostbusters combo. Right on the other side of the aisle is a bright green Lincoln Zephyr Custom built in 1939, which hard rocker Alice Cooper had built for his album 'Billion Dollar Babies'. Celebrity cars are in. A piece of American history is represented by the Ford Model A, with which 'Public Enemy Number One' John Dillinger escaped an FBI ambush in 1934. The hammer falls at $ 165,000.

If you see the US cars, you will quickly realize how different the car scenes are on both sides of the Atlantic. Cliff Brace, 38-year-old amateur restorer, remembers his high school days with burnout competitions in the schoolyard with bright eyes. Potent V8s were as naturally a part of the teenage fleet in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s as the VW Beetle and Duck in Germany. Last but not least, the nostalgic memories have been causing a boom in the muscle car scene for around ten years.

Outside in front of the halls, the smell of food is in the air

Brace, which every year up to restored to 20 cars, has a 1970 Buick GSX Stage 1 with it. There wasn't much to do: apart from the carpets on the floor and the hat rack, the coupé is in its original condition, the paintwork in Apollo White - a year after landing on the moon - is immaculate. 'The first owner was a real racer,' suspects Brace. 'To save weight, he did without the air conditioning.'

Outside the halls, the smell of food is in the air. Whether forearm-length hot dogs or grilled turkey legs in Stone Age leg format - Americans love everything a little bigger. The sound of large-volume V8 engines repeatedly drowns out shop talk. The less exclusive vehicles line up in tent pavilions. There are hardly any blenders among them. The organizers take care of that. If you want to be included in the catalog of the world's largest car auction house Barrett Jackson, you have to apply. Only 1,200 cars are accepted - just a third of the aspirants. And even if the majority of vehicles change hands for more than $ 50,000, some classic cars achieve less than $ 20,000. Sometimes you start pondering. What are the costs of transport and customs when importing a classic to Germany?

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