Car auction: $15 million in sales

COSTA MESA — Who says cars depreciate in value the moment they're driven off the lot?

In what company officials are calling a strong showing, the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car auction at the Orange County Fairgrounds last month reported more than $15 million in sales.

It was the auction company's first foray into Orange County, with already well-known annual auctions taking place in Scottsdale, Ariz., Palm Beach, Fla., and Las Vegas.

Officials credited Southern California drivers' well-known affinity for classic American cars and hot rods as key to the inaugural auction's success.

In the three-day auction from June 25-27, more than 400 cars from Ford Model Ts to obscure European mini-cars went on the auction block.

The auction, however, wasn't for the collector looking for a pretty Sunday drive who wasn't willing to spend some cash.

At the end of the second day of bidding, the most expensive car to go off the lot was a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible, which sold for $110,000.

But by the conclusion of the auction, two cars had sold for more than twice that.

Costa Mesa officials said that a breakdown of how much sales tax revenue they would receive from the weekend auction would not be available for a few months because it goes through the state first.

More than 58,000 people attended the weekend event. Barrett-Jackson will return to the fairgrounds next summer and has added Orange County among its annual events, officials said.

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