Cars As Art

Think of another industry where an “old” product—yet a product that is still in production—sells for millions of dollars.

Think of another industry where an “old” product—yet a product that is still in production—sells for millions of dollars.

Although automotive auctions aren’t something that we ordinarily write about here, looking at the results of the 44th Barrett-Jackson automotive auction made us realize that the designers and engineers in the auto industry are truly artists and artisans because some of the works that they’ve created—paint-on-metal—rival the paint-on-canvas works we read about when there’s an auction at Sotheby’s.

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The scene at Barrett-Jackson in Scottsdale

That is, according to Barrett-Jackson, there were more than $130-million in vehicle sales during the 10-day event. “We smashed records at every level,” said Craig Jackson, the outfit’s chairman and CEO.

The sale of the Ron Pratte Collection accounted for some $40.44-million.

One car in the collection, the 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, sold for $5.1-million.

Rounding out the top-10 in the Pratte collection:

• 1950 GM Futurliner Parade of Progress Tour Bus– $4 million
• 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama Concept Car– $3.3 million
• 1949 Talbot-Lago T-26 Grand Sport Franay – $1.65 million
• 1965 Shelby Cobra 427 Roadster– $1.595 million
• 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing – $1.1 million
• 1937 Mercedes-Benz 320B Cabriolet– $1.045 million
• 1936 Delahaye “Whatthehaye” Street-Rod– $671,000
• 1991 Ferrari F40 – $643,500
• 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet– $643,500

And contemporary cars didn’t do too badly, either.

For example, several OEMs donated cars for charities. Like BMW, which brought in a 2015 M5, which sold for $800,000. That was the amount also raised by the GM-donated “first-retail” 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Convertible.

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And in what is almost a closed loop in some senses, Ford donated VIN number 001, the first production unit, of the just-introduced Shelby GT350R Mustang. It raised $1-million for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Yes, cars aren’t just cars. They are treasured art. Well, at least in some cases, such as those here.