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In the Trenches at the Barrett-Jackson Auction

by Paul Saulnier
July 6, 2017

For the past bazillion years car lovers in the Northeast have had to travel south and west to attend a Barrett-Jackson auction. But now we have our own B-J right here in Connecticut.

Badged with my first ever press pass, I had access "behind the lines" at the Barrett-Jackson auction at the Mohegan Sun Casino.

Get a sense of the auction in the short video above.

The press pass definitely made it easier getting around the grounds of Mohegan Sun and through security. Barrett-Jackson staff was always very helpful, seeking me out when I looked confused or lost. It didn't seem to matter that I wasn't Keith Martin or wasn't representing Hemmings Motor News.

I chose Friday as I figured it would be busy but not crazy like Saturday would be. A little more elbow room and more cars to view as well.

First stop was at Media check In to get our credentials (that's my equipment Sherpa, son Phil, signing in)

Then we pass the vendors and slots as we follow the signs to the cars.

The wall of famous people that preceded me (barely room for my signature)

Getting close, as the first car to be auctioned today pulls up to start the line.

Finally in the garage and this flamed Merc stands out as sold on Thursday.

If you missed out on the Merc, still time to bid on a Polish Fiat - undoubtedly very rare.

This seriously customized Vette had many potential bidders checking it out.

By 10 AM all levels of the garage were busy with interested bidders. Phil and I canvassed every level looking for the one car from Holliston, a White Land Rover that we learned was scheduled to go on the block sometime Saturday. It was not in the garage but we guessed that maybe it would be in later today or tomorrow.

We left the garage and headed for the stadium where memorabilia was being auctioned off. This was our first exposure to the live auction and the sounds of the auctioneer. It was really cool to see and hear the action.

Then over to the outdoor area that included some of the Saturday night feature cars, vendors and a test track where the Big Three were giving rides in their special order high performance cars driven by professional drivers. I had the pleasure of riding in this Mustang equipped with 526 Hp Voodoo V8 and an 8,250 RPM rev limit.

I asked my driver if I needed the seat belt as I wanted the freedom to move around with my video camera. He told me that if I didn't put it on my face would be planted on the dash. He wasn't kidding. As he hit the go pedal, my camera jumped up towards the ceiling, and again with every shift. Then it dropped as he jumped on the binders. Hard left at the 180 degree turn and my camera swings towards the door. Back down the track and then one more time around. The Mustang had been thrashed on the track all morning and showed no signs of fatigue or brake fade. I captured the run in the video. What a ride.

Inside the tent the exotics and feature cars are behind a rope but I'm allowed on the other side to take pictures and video.

We discover the Holliston Land Rover parked in this area. I left my card but the owner never called. I watched it (on TV at home) cross the block Saturday night for $104,000 high bid. These Rovers have been hot lately.

After a quick lunch in one of the many eateries, we enter the auction area. The place is jumping. Watching the auctioneers, the TV cameras, the bidders and all the professional staff work the auction is amazing. Every vehicle gets to shine in the light. If the bidding slows down the announcer reminds bidders of the special features of this particular car of truck and the auctioneer then calls for a higher bid. Sold.

One of the details that sets Barrett-Jackson apart from other auctions is that most cars are being offered with no reserve which can be a little unnerving for a consignor, especially a first timer. I interviewed one who was offering his custom truck on Saturday. He was nervous but confident that the Barrett-Jackson auction would bring in the bidders. See his thoughts in the video.

I spent the afternoon down by the stage watching the B-J staff perform what I would compare to a Broadway production. Bidders' assistants passing on bids to the auctioneer as several cameras catch all the action on stage and in the bidders gallery.

. B-J is simulcasting the event live on its web site and The Velocity Channel is taping the event for TV.

One vehicle after another is rolled onto the stage and sold to a new owner. This young lady, below, puts the "SOLD" sign on the window as the cars roll off the stage.

Familiar faces to Barrett-Jackson fans, Craig Jackson, second form the left, and Steve Davis to his left, produce and direct this amazing show. Put the Barrett-Jackson auction at Mohegan Sun on your bucket list for next year. For more on the Barrett-Jackson auctions, go to http://www.barrett-jackson.com/

 

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Comments (1)

Paul that 442 was from Framingham I new those guys. Nice article I would love to go and see this. Nice job!

- Tom Chipman | 7/6/17 11:42 AM

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