ATLANTA - The 42nd annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction began Tuesday evening in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event, long considered one of the premiere events of the car-auction community, is expected to draw record numbers.
Founded as a car show in 1967 by Tom Barrett and Russ Jackson, the company held its first auction in 1972. The feature car at the first event was believed to be one of Adolf Hitler's personal Mercedes-Benz 770Ks, though the car's actual original owner has since been questioned. Owing largely to the car's assumed pedigree, it more than doubled any previously recorded price paid for an auctioned automobile.
In 1997, Craig Jackson, son of co-founder Russ Jackson, became company president and immediately organized a broadcast agreement. Due to the increase in popularity of both the auction and the classic car market as a whole, Barrett-Jackson expanded to include an event in Palm Beach. The company now hosts four events each year, with the new additions located in Reno and Las Vegas.
The 2014 event will be the first since the rebranding of broadcast partner, SPEED, to Fox Sports 1. The rebranding allows the event to be shown on multiple networks, including Fox, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, Fox Business Channel and National Geographic. In all, 36 hours of programming are scheduled across the five channels.
The event is known for its star power, with celebrities buying, selling or promoting various vehicles and/or charities. Former American Idol judge Simon Cowell will be selling his 2008 Bugatti Veyron at this year's event, and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gene Simmons is also expected to be in attendance.
Highlighting the event is what the Barrett-Jackson is calling its Salon Collection. The collection includes such rare vehicles as a 1929 Duesenberg SJ LeBaron, a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom and a 1998 Ferrari F300 Formula 1 race car driven F1 great, Michael Shumacher. The collection is slated to roll across the auction block Saturday evening, a time auction enthusiast have begun to refer to as Shatterday due to the number of records the cars occupying the time slot usually break.