Car-Ismatic in Arizona

The Phoenix area is a moving experience every New Year.

The Valley of the Sun actually features seven automotive experiences in January: six unique collector car auctions and the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, Jan. 11, at the landmark Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.

Because of the robustness of the collector car market, this year could set the mark for Arizona Auction Week’s highest dollar sales in history, and possibly with many records also set for individual car models, with prices exceeding $1 million.

The second annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance will showcase approximately 90 collector cars owned by collectors throughout the United States, such as a 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow, one of just five built and one of the three known survivors. The car was part of the late William F. Harrah’s extensive automobile collection in Reno, NV, and is now owned by the Academy of Art University Automobile Museum in San Francisco.

In addition, the event will celebrate the automotive passion of Frank Lloyd Wright, who saw the car as mobile architecture. Wright is credited with consulting on the design of the Biltmore, which opened in 1929, so the venue is ideal.

The show will also welcome two cars from the famous Turin, Italy, designer and coachbuilder, Carrozzeria Ghia, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2015. The custom-bodied 1953 Cadillac, once owned by Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth, and a 1954 Plymouth Explorer dream car are owned by the world- famous Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Also at the Biltmore later that week, RM Auctions will hold its 16th annual two-day sale, Jan. 15 and 16. Approximately 120 blue chip automobiles will be offered: prewar classics, important sports and racing cars, great cars of the 1970s and 1980s and late-model supercars. These include two supercars that should fetch more than $1 million each from the bidders: a 1988 Porsche 959 ‘Komfort’ capable of 197 mph and Ferrari’s quick response, a 1990 Ferrari F40, which does 201.4 mph.

In general, the car shows are adult oriented, but the annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction offers lifestyle events such as country music concerts and other family activities. This year’s automotive event, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions, the largest in Arizona and one of the world’s car mega-shows, is Jan. 10 through 18 at WestWorld in Scottsdale.

This year Ron Pratte’s world-renowned collection of more than 140 cars, trucks and motorcycles, as well as more than 1,500 pieces of automotive memorabilia, will be sold. Pratte is a Phoenix-area businessman who acquired many of his stellar vehicles at previous Barrett-Jackson auctions. The collection includes the only remaining 1966 Shelby Cobra 427 Super Snake, signed by motoring legend Carroll Shelby, and a 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama concept car, one of two designed by GM styling great Harley Earl.

Pratt has directed that his collection’s very rare 1950 GM Futurliner (one of only 12 built) be auctioned off with 100% of the proceeds benefiting the Armed Forces Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to supporting and advocating for active-duty military personnel, National Guardsmen, Reservists, military families and veterans. If you remember the ’50s, Futurliners were mobile museums of the future, which traveled the country celebrating the future that all of us have lived in for the past six decades. The 15th anniversary of the Russo and Steele Scottsdale Collector Automotive Auction is Jan. 14-18 at the white tents on the corner of the Loop 101 and North Scottsdale Road.

Founded in 2001 by Drew Alcazar and wife, Josephine, Russo and Steele will offer 750-plus collector automobiles in its unique famous coliseum style “Auctions in the Round” experience. Among these will be a 1957 Porsche 356 speedster, a 1959 Ferrari Testarossa Sport Speciale by Creative Workshop and American muscle cars such as a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 Fastback and a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Superbird. This week as well, Silver Auctions will hold its 18th Arizona auction at the Fort McDowell Casino east of Scottsdale and north of Fountain Hills. Approximately 400 cars are expected for the Jan. 15-17 event.

The fourth Bonhams Scottsdale Auction, Jan. 15, at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale, is led by a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione, the 11th of just 12 built and winner in class at 1967 Le Mans, the 1969 Spa-Francorchamps and 1969 Imola 500 Km. Also docketed is a 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Roadster; a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, just one of the highly desirable 123 factory convertibles made; and a 1964 Aston Martin DB5 convertible, built by then-owner David Brown, sadly no relation to the writer.

Finally, the Gooding & Company auction, Jan. 16 and 17, at Scottsdale Fashion Square, will offer a diverse group of outstanding cars, including a 1990 Ferrari 641/2 F1, a magnificent classic bodied by the great house of Zagato, and a 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Zagato, which competed in a variety of signature events such as the 1961, 1962 and 1963 editions of the Targa Florio, the legendary Sicilian road race.

“We are particularly excited about the wide variety of vehicles we have to offer in Scottsdale this year,” says David Gooding, president and founder of Gooding & Company. From barn finds and on-trend collectibles to American muscle cars, there is something special for every collector and hobbyist.”

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