The reasons to get excited for today's Barrett-Jackson automotive auction at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas are manifold, distinct and redolent of rubber, gasoline and urethane-based paint.
It's a grand affair — the auction house's annual cornerstone, and accordingly, features their most exceptional rides (pro tip: there's live online bidding if you can't swing Sin City this weekend).
- A 1950 Mercury custom “Wasabi” customized by hall-of-fame builder Dick Dean
- Pawn Stars host Rick the Spotter’s Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost (hellooo suicide doors)
- John Wayne’s station wagon
- Frank Sinatra’s Jaguar XJS
- A landspeed contender baptized “Bombshell Betty”
- And the flame-emblazoned stoner's delight Pacer from Wayne’s World, but the verdict is out on whether or not it includes a cassette tape of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody
And there are more — hundreds more. There’s the ‘47 Studebaker “Black Bart” that we’d swim through hot lava for, five notable charity rides and no less than 80 special makes from the Tammy Allen Collection alone.
So, who better to assist in sifting through this petrolhead wonderland than head of the hoopla himself, CEO and Chairman Craig Jackson. Over the next three days, many a rare beast and beauty will cross the block, but here are the Top 10 on Jackson’s radar — and why.
1970 PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD "THE EPA BIRD"
“This car’s unique story has cemented its place in automotive history. When the EPA formed, they were tasked with finding the leading causes of environmental air pollution. There were many theories as they looked at both airplanes and cars, but they needed data and they figured collecting the air samples in the field would lead more accurate results than designing lab tests. They needed a car that was capable of following a jet on takeoff and the Superbird became the logical choice. This is that car and they’ve done a fantastic job at restoring it back to the specs done by Nichels.”
1962 JAGUAR XKE ROADSTER
“This highly collectible European sports car comes from the 82-car Tammy Allen Collection selling in Las Vegas and is one of the highlights of her collection. It’s a beautiful, matching-numbers, early E-type with welded bonnet louvers and flat floors and also features a 4-speed manual transmission and Heritage Certificate documentation.”
2009 MOSLER MT900 GTR TWIN-TURBO CUSTOM PROTOTYPE "IAD LAND SHARK"
“This is a very unique car selling at No Reserve. It’s a one-of-a-kind supercar that is the product of years of work since it began life as Mosler Photon and packs incredible power behind its 401.9 cubic inch twin-turbocharged engine.”
1969 FORD MUSTANG BOSS 429 FASTBACK
“Anytime you can find a car like this, it’s special. Rarely do you find a car still in the care of its original owner. It’s matching-numbers, unrestored and only has 21,400 miles on the odometer. It’s an automotive time capsule selling at No Reserve. That’s just not something you see every day and one lucky bidder is going to take this Boss home.”
1967 PONTIAC FIREBIRD CONVERTIBLE VIN #001 and 1967 PONTIAC FIREBIRD VIN #002
“Anytime we are selling an early production car, it’s a big deal. We have a history of selling VIN 001 vehicles and I’m excited to see these two cross the auction block. These are the very first Pontiac Firebirds ever built, making these iconic pieces of American automotive history. They were found together, restored together and have been together all these years. That’s why they will be auctioned as a pair in Las Vegas, to ensure these special vehicles stay alongside one another.”
1989 PORSCHE 930 TURBO
“This is an extremely rare 930 because it came from the factory with a unique set of options. It features the special wide rocker panels and the factory air ducts in the rear fenders that are standard options for the slant nose package, but this Porsche was not equipped with the slant nose front fascia. It’s documented with the Porsche Certificate of Authenticity to confirm its specifications and it still retains the matching-numbers engine and transmission.”
1966 FORD MUSTANG CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE - "SONNY'S" and 1966 FORD MUSTANG CUSTOM CONVERTIBLE - "CHER'S"
“These two special cars are selling as a pair in Las Vegas and are a part of the 82-car Tammy Allen Collection that has been consigned at No Reserve. During the boom of Sonny and Cher’s popularity, Ford pulled these two Mustangs from the assembly line to have them customized to reflect the personas of these megastars. They then sent the Mustangs off to legendary customizer and my late great friend, George Barris, who passed away last November. George, as he always did, put together two incredible pieces of art with these vehicles. They are a spectacular mesh of American automotive and pop culture history.”
1968 SHELBY GT500 CONVERTIBLE
“We see a lot of fantastic Shelbys cross our auction block and I love it because Carroll was such a dear friend of mine and a big part of the Barrett-Jackson family. This is a beautifully restored, matching-numbers, Acapulco Blue GT500 with the rare combination of automatic transmission and air conditioning.”