The 1948 Tucker Torpedo. Image: Barrett-JacksonEnlarge Photo
If you didn’t spend your weekend glued to the Speed channel watching the live coverage of Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction, don’t worry. We’ll feed you some highlights below, but here’s the important bit: rare and historically significant cars are selling again, and they’re selling at impressive prices.
The top dollar car of the weekend was a 1948 Tucker Torpedo, one of 51 built and described as the best survivor, which sold for a hammer price of $2.65 million (not including the 10 percent buyer’s premium).
That outpaced even a Franay-bodied 1947 Bentley Mark VI, which sold at $2.5 million, and a 4,000 mile 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, which changed hands at $2 million.
1954 DeSoto Adventurer II concept. Image: Barrett-JacksonEnlarge Photo
A one-of-a-kind 1954 DeSoto Adventurer II concept, formerly owned by King Mohammed V of Morocco, found a new home for $1.3 million. The price may be a bit surprising, given that the restoration is now three decades old. On the other hand, it’s only racked up 14,000 miles in its life, and it is one of one ever built.
Pony cars seemed to fare well, with a restored 1969 Camaro ZL1 selling for $410,000. While the car had a racing history (as did virtually all 69 of the 1969 Camaro ZL1s built), it wasn’t a famous car with a lust-worthy provenance. Still that bodes well for interest in (and the future value of) the 2012 Camaro ZL1.
It wouldn’t be an auction without a barn-find car, and this year’s prime example was an unrestored 1965 Shelby GT350. Owned by a single individual from 1965 to 2009, the car has racked up just 44,000 miles in its life, and has never had an interior or exterior restoration. We’d call the hammer price of $350,000 well bought.
Not every car fared as well in Scottsdale. The very first General Lee 1969 Dodge Charger, wrecked in episode one of The Dukes of Hazard and later rebuilt to original specifications, drew only $110,000, significantly less than the seller had hoped for.
The 1964 Miller-Meteor Cadillac hearse offered by Barrett-Jackson. Image: Barrett-JacksonEnlarge Photo
Likewise, a 1964 Miller-Meteor Cadillac hearse used to transport JFK’s body from Parkland Hospital to a waiting Air Force One sold for just $160,000, less than many speculated and only $40k more than the reportedly fake 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance allegedly used to transport the president’s coffin.
2013 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 PrototypeEnlarge Photo
If the Barrett-Jackson auction is a barometer for the U.S. economy, we’ll take this year’s event as a positive sign. Let’s hope that this is the beginning of good news for all of us.