Your typical Barrett-Jackson auction is a powerhouse of noise, no-reserve auction car sales, and all the greasy junk food and beer you can stuff in your stomach. Unfortunately, the experience didn’t translate very well for Barrett-Jackson’s “Online May 2020” auction which saw just 45 of the 84 cars auctioned sell to the high bidder, leaving a dismal 53-percent sell-through rate in the auction’s wake.
As an online-only auction, Barrett-Jackson’s latest event wasn’t able to capitalize on the carnival-like atmosphere that envelops its live auctions, and sellers weren’t forced to list their cars without a reserve price, leaving just four of the 84-car-strong car docket as no-reserve entries. The result was 47 percent of inventory not meeting optimistic reserve pricing and therefore failing to sell—this in contrast to the typical near-100-percent sell-through of most live Barrett-Jackson auctions, where nearly all cars are sold to the highest bidder, regardless of price.
1992 Dodge Viper RT/10
John Elway may be one of the highest-rated football quarterbacks of all time and a pretty successful car dealership franchisee, but he’s no Lee Iacocca. That was evident in Elway’s personal 8,000-mile 1992 Dodge Viper roadster not meeting reserve with a high bid of $42,000. While that’s at least 50 percent more money than the market would value a Viper without Elway’s name on the title, Iaccoca’s first producton Viper sold for $285,500 at Bonham’s 2020 Scottsdale auction. Certainly, the high bid should have gotten the deal done. Maybe Elway should have thrown in a signed football and a free meal at his eponymous Elway’s Denver-based steakhouse chain to sweeten the pot.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe Resto-mod
Sometimes it seems no one can sell a resto-mod quite like Barrett-Jackson can. Case in point, this ’63 “Split Window” Corvette coupe built with a 540-hp Chevy LS3 engine and automatic transmission. With a custom Art Morrison sport chassis, aftermarket anti-roll bars and shocks, and Wilwood multi-piston brakes front and rear, this Corvette should perform on a level much closer to contemporary Corvettes. A fresh red leather interior, modern air conditioning , plus power windows and steering should mean this resto-mod will make a good road tripper too. With a sales price about four times what a decent, low-options ’63 Coupe would normally bring, we can only call this one well sold, no matter how much it cost to build.
2006 Bentley Continental GT
When it was new 14 years ago, this 2006 Bentley Continental GT was a $176,000 car. Just 56,000 miles later, it sold at Barrett-Jackson for $35,750. A deal? Depends on how you look at it. While buying a late-model Bentley for the cost of a new Camry seems like a bargain, the 552hp, twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter W-12 engine, and all-wheel-drive chassis certainly won’t rival a new Camry for servicing costs. We’re also a little concerned about the tacky 22-inch wheels and what that may say about this Bentley’s previous ownership. There’s really only one question to ask with a car like this, “are you feeling lucky?” Apparently, this car’s new owner was.
2014 Ford GT500 Super Snake Convertible
These 2014 GT500 Super Snake Mustangs were some of the first cars built on Shelby American’s Las Vegas production line and were ordered as an upgrade package on top of the standard GT 500. As one of the last cars Carroll Shelby personally had a hand in, they’re valued somewhat emotionally by Shelby enthusiasts. This example is a well-equipped version with the optional “wide body” kit, plus a bump from the standard 662 horsepower to 750 horsepower, in addition to the standard Wilwood big brake conversion, 20-inch Shelby wheels, fiberglass hood, and Shelby Performance cooling package. Sticker price on this car as ordered would likely have exceeded $100,000, so a return of $93,500 after over 12,000 miles of use has us congratulating the seller.
1965 Sunbeam Tiger
Toward the end of the Cobra program, Carroll Shelby began stuffing Ford 260-ci V-8s in another British roadster: The four-cylinder Sunbeam Alpine. While not as powerful or as popular as the Cobra, Tigers were decent hot rods, and make an excellent budget option if a period-built Cobra is beyond your means and a modern re-creation (or continuation series, in Shelby-speak) doesn’t do it for you. Despite developing the car for Sunbeam owner Rootes Group, after a working prototype was built by Shelby, Rootes decided not to give him the production contract, instead choosing fellow English automaker Jensen to build the cars. Shelby made do with a royalty on each one sold. This car had an extensive restoration recently and came with an original hardtop, hence the fairly strong sales result.