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Geared for the Automotive Life

Five to Watch at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale

The big week is here — Barrett-Jackson’s flagship sale is underway at WestWorld in Scottsdale, AZ. For the past few months — really since Monterey, where prices climbed into the stratosphere — we’ve been watching and waiting to see what was in store for Barrett-Jackson’s return to its typical January timeframe. And with Mecum Kissimmee bringing record prices just two weeks ago in Florida, the scene is set for some big numbers from Barrett-Jackson’s 50th anniversary event.

Here are five lots I’ll be watching over the next several days, and why:

Image: Barrett-Jackson

Lot 490, 1972 Chevrolet K5 Blazer

350-ci V8, TH350 auto, 4×4. Stock restoration in stock colors. Couldn’t be more brown, inside and out.

Why: The Blazer market has been on fire lately, with restomodded rigs featuring LS power bringing top-level pricing wherever they appear. Six-figure numbers are the norm rather than the exception they were just a year ago. So where does that leave a more factory-correct version?

One thing the market misses when it comes to SUVs is originality — any aftermarket upgrade resets the clock on a vehicle’s depreciation curve, as those hot, new crate engines are going to be yesterday’s tech in short order. An OE-style rig, for all its quirks, doesn’t have that problem, and while it may not be as expensive as some overdrive-fitted injected rig, I do think it’s the better of the two in terms of value outlook. And it’s just as drivable — especially a ’72, as it’s the most developed of the line. 

This one isn’t totally stock, with squarebody rims, lift and BFG tires, but it’s close enough while still being appealing in the right ways.

This one has the condition and the original eyeball to do well. Just how well in this heated market will be interesting to see.

Image: Barrett-Jackson

Lot 514.1, 1981 DeLorean DMC-12

5-speed version with Sony stereo and Cooper tires the only deviations from stock.

Why: DeLoreans have been on the upswing over the past several months, and the best examples are now trading at well above the $30k they had been seeing just a few short years ago. There are several in the Arizona area this week that will be expensive due to extreme low miles, but I’m more intrigued at what a slightly more usable car is going to go for these days. This car also has the desirable 5-speed manual, which is a bonus.

What’s the dream of the ’80s worth? We’re about to find out.

Image: Barrett-Jackson

Lot 1400, 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird

Said to have 6,000 original miles and original matching-numbers 426 Hemi. Repainted in original color, fender and body tags intact. Automatic. One of 135 and comes with Wise Vehicle Validation Report.

Why: Winged Mopar’s are peak muscle car — particularly those with Hemi power — and that has made them both quick to rise and quick to fall in the midst of a tumultuous market. They flew high prior to 2008, then they dropped when the market crashed, and now they’re flying again.

So what’s the best worth? Well, we can argue over what “the best” really is, but I think something like this low-miles Hemi needs to be in the conversation regardless. This car has all the right stuff to do well at an auction such as Barrett-Jackson, so the real question here is how the market is going to act right now. If other recent sales have any bearing on the outcome here, and I think they do, this is going to be an expensive sale.

Image: Barrett-Jackson

Lot 1037, 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 RS

One of 602 Z28s built in ’67, and one of only a few finished in Tahoe Turquoise. USCC Nationals Gold Award winner. Comes with “restoration” 302 block, fitted with warranty replacement 302 under the hood. Camaro Hi-Performance Certificate.

Why: We can argue over whether or not this is blue-chip muscle due to that warranty replacement engine block, but I think the price will be telling here either way. That additional 302 leaves the door open for someone to restamp and reinstall a “correct” block with the proper casting date in this already top-notch car, should they feel the need to bring it up a level in terms of “correctness.” This is the right car in the right condition, and I think the extra engine will bring a few more bidders in when they sense some possible upside, which should drive the price higher.

Image: Barrett-Jackson

Lot 1039.1, 1969 Chevrolet C10 Custom Pickup “Limbo”

Dry-sump LS7 V8, 4L70E automatic, stock exterior trim. Porterbuilt suspension with AccuAir e-Level air ride. Billet wheels made to look like original P01 full wheel covers.

Why: Trucks again, eh? Well, as my hot rod friend who just returned from Mecum Kissimmee pointed out, “nobody is building hot rods anymore. It’s nothing but *#$@ trucks!” This black ’69 is a good example of the current taste du jour for custom trucks — stock colors and trim, much modified running gear and powertrains. I think this has a certain appeal that the $330k ’67 at Kissimmee didn’t have. In hitting those stock styling metrics, there’s pretty broad appeal here, at least among a subset of the market. But how long will it continue? I’ve been asking that for years now… it just keeps chugging along, like a 350 with a flat cam and leaky Quadrajet.

This one had money spent in all the right places to score big among those playing in this section of the market, so while this look is likely a fad that will change with time, right now, I see dollar signs.

Check out the complete Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale docket here.