Barrett-Jackson: the best deals you might have missed

Photography by Tim Suddard

Where are the deals at an auction? You have to know where to look.

Each auction caters to its own audience. RM Sotheby’s, Broad Arrow, Gooding and Bonhams tend to attract high-end collectors looking for high-end cars, so the odds of stealing a car become very rare.

Barrett-Jackson and Mecum, plus some of the smaller auction companies, add in cars for those shopping at a lower price point. Go to one of these auctions, and you can find cars going for less than $50,000–and, in many cases, also less than $20,000.

The auction calendar can also matter. Monterey, Scottsdale and Amelia are going to attract the big players.

Then there’s the day of the week. If you’re bidding on Friday and Saturday nights, under the lights and with the crowds and TV cameras swarming the event, excitement builds while deals tend to shrink.

So, everyone should stay where they belong, right? Not necessarily. While some of our higher-end friends avoided this past weekend’s Barrett-Jackson sale in Palm Beach, Florida, we went on Friday, the first day of the three-day event.

This event is big: hundreds of cars and thousands of people with vendors hawking everything from lifts to automobiles to huge golden eagles (to do what with a huge golden eagle we have no clue).

We saw some good deals on that Friday, too:

A clean 1948 Allard L-Type Roadster that looked nearly perfect sold for $37,400, not quite Hagerty No. 3 money for “good” condition.

An unrestored 1936 Bentley 4¼-liter Park Ward Drophead Coupe went for $55,000. It looked cool and had great patina. It had been sitting in a garage since the early ’70s. Last summer, Bring a Trailer got more than $100,000 for the same model.

The deals were not just confined to older cars as we saw a 1995 Mercedes-Benz SL 500 roadster go for $7150. Hagerty’s No. 4 price for one in “fair” condition is $7200.

Whether you’re buying or not, we’d still recommend putting this sale on your calendar. It has nearly as much excitement as Barrett-Jackson’s famed Scottsdale sale with the huge combination of cars and pageantry.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/19/23 10:28 a.m.

I noticed a bit of a rare bird in the docket for the West Palm Beach Barrett-Jackson sale: a 1992 Nissan NX1600. (And not the NX2000 but the 1.6-liter NX1600.)

I had a Sentra SE-R, so same chassis, boxy styling and that wonderful SR20DE engine. This one, while not offering nearly the same performance, might be the real rarity. Someone paid $3850 for it. I’m going to call that well sold. 

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