The American collector car auction year has just two seasons. One is the end-of-summer Monterey Historic extravaganza, with six months worth of activities crammed like a pkzipped computer file into 96 crazy hours. The trends we saw in Monterey boded well for the market, with high selling rates from all three companies there (Christie's, Brooks and RM Classic Cars).
Christie's, under the leadership of David Gooding, should be acknowledged for continuing to raise the bar at Monterey-each year, they lead in quality of consignments, thoroughness of catalog research and communication with potential bidders. RM and Brooks also continue to improve the quality of their presentations, to the benefit of buyers and sellers both, but it is Christie's that is setting the tone in Monterey.
The second season in the collector year arrives each January. In the Sonoran Desert on the outskirts of Scottsdale, Arizona, the Barrett-Jackson auction springs to life, its magnificent white tent acting as a beacon for car enthusiasts from all over the world. The combination of the spacious setting, the (usually) glorious weather, the more-than-800 cars and the 100,000-plus attendees makes this event unique.
In the dozen years we have been attending Barrett-Jackson, we have watched as the auction has adapted and changed with the times. Where Saturday afternoon prime time was once a parade of over-priced dinosaurs, Craig Jackson has fine-tuned his selection so that cars from the hottest market segments, American muscle and exotic Italian, German and English sports cars, now dominate.
As we've told so many of our collecting friends, if you go to just one auction in your life, it should be Barrett-Jackson. There is simply nowhere else where you can see so many cars, so many people, and learn so much about the hobby in such a short period of time.
Even more than the cars, Barrett-Jackson acts as an annual convention for the collector car industry. We invite you to stop by our booth at Barrett-Jackson, say hello and take a demonstration tour of our web-based searchable database of over 20,000 collector cars and auction results. Plus, Cindy tells me we've got just a few spaces left in our Insider's Tour, a highly-popular event where we help you learn how to tell a metal-flake paint job from one where the painter just got a lot of shiny dust in his spray gun.
This year, in addition to Barrett-Jackson, Silver, Kruse and RM will be hosting auctions nearby. Each has its own flavor, and contributes to the critical mass that makes January in Arizona a collector car month.
WELCOME ABOARD, MR. BROWNELL
SCM is pleased to announce that Dave Brownell has joined our staff in the position of Auction Editor. Brownell has a long and respected career in the collector car industry, being the founding editor of Old Cars Weekly and of the Old Cars Price Guide. For 21 years, he was the editor of Special Interest Autos magazine and concurrently for 15 years the technical editor of Hemmings Motor News.
As Auction Editor, Brownell will be coordinating the team of SCM auction reporters at events all over the world, including newly expanded on-site reports from European auctions. He is implementing a standardized electronic reporting form for all SCM auction reporters to use that will flow easily into our web-based searchable database. Brownell plans to upgrade the quality and consistency of the SCM auction reports, and to post complete results for every auction on the SCM web site.
"I've got a lot of respect for what SCM has accomplished, and I look forward to working with Keith and the SCM gang to broaden the scope of our reports, and give the readers more of the quality information they need to make informed decisions in their collecting," remarked Brownell.
An enthusiast as well as a scribe, Brownell's collection includes a 1924 Bentley 3-liter (S/N 564) still fitted with its original one-off four-seat tourer body by Bamber of Lancashire, and on sunny days he can be seen motoring down the back roads of Vermont.
TAHITI IN MARCH
If you're looking for an excuse to hop on Air France and head for Tahiti, SCM is here to help. We have twice gone to the Bali Hai Hotel and Resort on Moorea, mixing business with tropical pleasure, and have just made the last-minute decision to go back again this March. The reasons are simple. In Moorea like everywhere else, progress marches on. The Bali Hai stands as an example of French Polynesia in the '50s that is fast disappearing. While hi-rise hotels with antiseptic lobbies and rooms are proliferating, the Bali Hai continues to exude its rustic native charm, with rooms perched on stilts over the fish-rich lagoon. We fear the opportunity to experience Moorea like this may be slipping away under the crush of cruise ships and multi-national resort chains.
We're inviting you to join us, and be a part of our exclusive group. We'll have seminars presenting an insider's perspective on the collecting world, as well as plenty of opportunties to chat casually about Ferraris, Jaguars and Porsches while sitting on a white-sand beach, sipping an exotic drink out of a coconut shell. Moorea is extremely child-friendly, making this an excellent family vacation opportunity. Tentative dates are March 17 to 26, 2000 and we've put together a package that includes nearly everything, at a cost from LA of just $1,699 (per person, double occupancy, accompanying children much less) with upgrades available.
For details, call Cindy at 503-261-0555, fax 503-252-5854, email email@example.com. Space will be limited, and available on a first-come basis.
This month's cover takes us back to the third hour of the 18th annual 12-hours of Sebring, on March 21, 1959. The painting by Argentinian artist Alfredo de la Maria shows the Behar/Allison number 9 Ferrari 250 TR-59, S/N 0768, the eventual second place finisher, when it was in the overall lead. It is followed closely by the Bonier/Voltreps Porsche 718 RSK, most likely S/N 718 017, which charged on to a third place finish.
The Aston DBR1, carrying number 1, and driven by Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby, lost its clutch and finished 61st overall.
Alfredo de la Maria's paintings have been featured on of several our covers. While this particular work is not for sale, other de la Maria paintings and prints are available at www.blackhawkart.com. We thank Bill Noon of Symbolic Motor Car Company in La Jolla, California and Chris Nixon, Aston Martin specialist, for providing the historical background of this artwork.
SCM is always looking for original paintings, drawings and watercolors to showcase on our cover. Please send samples to: Art Director, SCM, 6833 SE Pine Court, Portland, OR 97215.