The economy may still be in trouble but one would have had a tough time believing it in tony Scottsdale, Arizona over the weekend, where bidders flashed their cash in a bidding frenzy that generated tens of millions of dollars in sales during the city’s annual classic auction extravaganza.
Final figures from the well-known Barrett-Jackson and five other auctions indicate they generated about $182 million in sales, with a rare aluminum-bodied Mercedes-Benz gullwing coupe commanding $4.62 million after commissions were added in. Meanwhile, charities netted a cool $600,000 for the first-off-the-line Chevrolet Corvette 427 Convertible – as much as eight times what it would go for in a dealership later this year.
The final sales total was up from $157 million in 2011, and was well beyond initial expectations, McKeel Hagerty, head of the classic car insurance firm, Hagerty Insurance, telling TheDetroitBureau.com that, “Across the board, everybody had solid sales.” Hagerty added that a number of collectors returned to Scottsdale after being out of the market for several years.
On the other hand, he said, there was “definitely not the irrational exuberance (of a decade ago). It’s a smarter market.”