Cars for Collecting--or Investing

From stumbling beginnings as a cluster of cars in a baseball stadium parking lot, the Barrett-Jackson Car Auction has evolved into a global showroom of classic, vintage, celebrity and collector automobiles.

Next month, 28 years after that first hammer fell at the opening, Tim Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Reggie Jackson, David Spade and other celebrity collectors are expected to join an estimated 1,700 bidders from 14 countries in spending upward of $17 million on 800 cars.

Crossing the block will be a 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V once owned by John Lennon, the 1976 Cadillac Seville SSK that Elvis Presley bought a few weeks before his death and a 1956 Ford Thunderbird convertible driven by Frank Sinatra.

Auction planners say that despite a wobbling domestic economy and shaky Asian markets, classic cars have returned as an investment leader. If buyers know what they are doing.


“When acquiring stocks, people rely on the expertise of their broker,” says the auction’s president, Craig Jackson. “So before purchasing a car, it is imperative to gather all available information from a credible source--someone who can advise you on the authenticity, rarity and value of the car as it relates to the current market.”

The Barrett-Jackson Auction runs Jan. 21-24 at WestWorld, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale; hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Public viewing will be held Jan. 20 from noon to 4 p.m. Tickets are available at the gate and cost $15 a day for adults (a four-day adult package costs $50); senior citizens and students, $10; children 6-12, $6; children under 6, free admission.

For information, call (602) 273-0791 or visit the Barrett-Jackson World Wide Web site at