It was one of those distinctively Barrett-Jackson moments. “Eastbound and Down” started playing, bringing the capacity audience in the arena to their feet as one of the most recognizable Trans Ams in the world rolled onto the block. The original 1977 “Smokey and the Bandit” movie promo car also had one very special passenger: Burt Reynolds, the movie’s star. The Hollywood legend went up on the block and joked with the crowd before he got the bidding rolling – and roll it did! The Trans Am trend that has been growing all week only got better as the Bandit car sold for $550,000. It will be headed to a great new home: John Staluppi’s Cars of Dreams Museum in Florida.
Another incredible Hollywood moment happened today when Transformers stars Optimus Prime and Bumblebee entered the arena to much fanfare, with impressive video introductions produced by director Michael Bay. Bay was on the block along with stunt driver Randy Peters to encourage bidding ‒ and they sweetened the pot by offering walk-on roles in the next Transformers movie to the winning bidders on the famous vehicles.
Collectors cars started out strong on the block even early in the day, with the first six-figure sale happening before noon. But the collector cars offered in Barrett-Jackson’s Salon Collection today were the biggest stars. An extraordinary 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Weissach (Lot #1392) was auctioned for $1.76 million, a new auction record. The top sale of the night was a trio of extremely rare VIN #001 Corvettes from consecutive years – 1955, ’56 and ’57 – that sold for $1,815,000. A stunning 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K with a “Cabriolet A” Body Conversion attracted a lot of attention, bringing in $1,485,000.
Three more cars for a cause were on the block today, with 100 percent of the hammer price of each vehicle going straight to the chosen charities. A 2016 Chevrolet COPO Camaro, VIN #001 (Lot #3008), was sold for $500,000 to benefit Kettering University; a 2016 Ford Focus RS (Lot #3009) hammered for $550,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; and a 1932 Ford Hi-Boy (Lot #3010) that was a McGee tribute car brought $105,000 to the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts.
There were plenty of famous faces on hand today in addition to Michael Bay and Burt Reynolds, including Detroit rocker Ted Nugent; two-time masters champ Bubba Watson; professional rally driver Ken Block; NASCAR greats Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon; major league baseball players Marco Estrada, Jacoby Ellsbury and Paul Konerko; and NHL players Shane Doan and Mike Smith of the Arizona Coyotes, as well as Andrew Ladd of the Winnipeg Jets.
Enjoy tonight’s gallery of today’s top sellers and memorable moments at the auction. Join us tomorrow for another morning of automobilia followed by the final round of collector cars.