Barrett-Jackson Northeast Collector Car Auction 2017
By John Legan
As a kid I would watch coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction on tv and admire the variety of cars going across the auction block. I always dreamed of attending the auction but being set across the country it was never possible for me. Since assuming control of the family business in 1995, Barrett-Jackson Chairman & CEO Craig Jackson brought the collector car auctions into the mainstream with televised coverage and with that came exponential growth. The auction locations grew to include Palm Beach and Las Vegas, then in the fall of 2015 it was announced that they would expand again to include an auction in the Northeast.
This past June I attended the 2nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Northeast Collector Car Auction at the Mohegan Sun Casino Resort in Uncasville, CT. This was my second time at this event and in all ways this year was bigger and better than the first. The event included an extra day, more vehicles on the docket, and a bigger and better thrill ride area. I spent two days covering the event and was able to see quite a few eye catching Mustangs go across the auction block. The great thing about the way these auctions are set up is that you get to walk around outside and have a close up look at the vehicles destined for the block. For the enthusiast there were countless vendors to check out as well as event merchandise available for sale. My trip wouldn’t be complete without a new Barrett-Jackson T-shirt for the collection! For the adrenaline junkie there was a track set up outside the auction arena with Ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge giving thrill rides in their latest performance car offerings. While I enjoyed the white knuckle ride in the Dodge Charger Hellcat, as a Ford enthusiast the highlight of my trip was a lap in a Shelby GT350R.
There was a wide selection of Mustangs available at this year’s event including a wild custom first gen fastback, at least 3 Eleanor Mustangs inspired by the hit movie “Gone in 60 Seconds”, a low mile Boss 429, a fully restored foxbody GT convertible, and Vaughn Gittin Jr’s RTR drift car. Inside the Ford Performance garage area fans were able to catch their first glimpse of the all-new 2018 Mustang GT. Looking for something with a little more horsepower? Roush Performance and Petty’s Garage had their fully customized ponies on display, the latter with a 1,000 horsepower option.
The beauty of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions is that you don’t need to be a car nut to enjoy them (It certainly does help though!). There truly is something for everyone and this extends into the wide variety of vehicles on the docket. It is a family friendly event and one that can be shared across many generations.
Craig Jackson has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most respected collector car experts and owner of a few nice Mustangs himself. I wanted to gain some insight to the latest trends in the collector car hobby. While I didn’t get to catch up with Mr. Jackson during the event I was able to get a couple of questions answered:
Q: The regional Barrett-Jackson auctions seem to be increasing in popularity every year, including the Northeast auction. Can we expect to see it here beyond the original 5 year contract?
A: We’re proud to call Mohegan Sun our home for our Northeast Auction. There has been unprecedented excitement by our fans across the region and we even delivered our first double sellout in our company’s history last year. We’re creating the kind of experience that only Barrett-Jackson can deliver at Mohegan Sun’s spectacular venue. After telling Mohegan Sun at the first auction, ‘we need a bigger boat,’ they continue to adapt to our needs to help grow the event. In the past year alone they added a third tower of hotel rooms and also fast-tracked the development of a 240,000 square foot expo center that is scheduled to debut with our event next year. To really grow these events year after year it is important for a strong partnership and we certainly have that with Mohegan Sun. Much like our event in Scottsdale, which is heading into its 47th consecutive year in January, our goal is to establish a successful event that our fans can enjoy for many years and our hope is that Mohegan Sun will continue to be our partner in that venture in the Northeast well beyond our current five-year contract.
Q: Any emerging trends among younger buyers being the next generation of enthusiasts?
Some of the cars that Gen Xr’s grew up with are starting to appear on our block with greater frequency
For example, who didn’t dream of owning Tom Selleck’s red Ferrari, Burt Reynold’s Trans Am or the Cannonball Run Lamborghini?
These cars are crossing the block at a time when Gen Xr’s have the means to buy them
The cars they memorialized on their Trapper Keeper, or plastered on their bedroom wall can now be a car they park in their garage
One of the key things that are driving Millenials into car collecting is the ability to customize their vehicles
Millenials love to trick out their car with high tech
They enjoy buying entry-level vehicles they can tailor to their heart’s content
For Millenials, we’re starting to see some of the imports come through (Mazda, Toyota, Honda)
Cars like the Toyota Supra, for example, can be modified or easily customized, plus they have solid performance capabilities
Some of the domestics, like the Mustang, are relatively inexpensive to buy; there are countless aftermarket parts (from wheels to high tech) to really make it your own
1970s and 1980s big Cadillacs and Lincolns are also popular as reasonably priced vehicles to customize
Q: What Mustangs/Shelbys do you have in your extensive personal car collection?
I have a few really great Mustangs that I’m proud of including:
2008 Shelby GT “Barrett-Jackson Edition”
1968 Shelby EXP 500, also known as the “Green Hornet”
1966 Shelby GT350 Convertible 4-speed
1965 Shelby GT350
2015 Shelby GT350R
1969 Mustang 428 Convertible 4-speed