January in the Valley of the Sun means just one thing: Car auctions are back. But you don't have to be a car aficionado to love the auctions, as just about anyone can get excited about the high-stakes bidding, flashy autos, and great people-watching opportunities that abound.
While Barrett-Jackson is arguably the most well-known auction, there are several others worthy of the spotlight. From high-end international sports racers to collector cars, here's where to spot the coolest drives in town.
The famous Barrett-Jackson auction bills itself as the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction,” and somehow it always manages to live up to that reputation. From January 23 to 31 at Westworld of Scottsdale, the weeklong event features high-dollar and famous cars, including the only remaining Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from Burt Reynolds’ iconic film Smokey and the Bandit, which will go to auction on Saturday, January 30. Celebrity sightings at Barrett-Jackson are nearly a guarantee, too, as famous folk such as Jay Leno have purchased cars in previous years. Tickets can be purchased online and cost $175 for adults and $125 for seniors, students, and those with military ID.
Russo and Steele
It may not be as famous as Barrett-Jackson, but Russo and Steele is a close runner-up, known as "The World’s Most Exciting Collector Automobile Auction.” The north Scottsdale event, which takes place January 27 to 31, features a vast collection of automobiles which sell for between $50 thousand and multiple millions of dollars Over the course of five intense days, participants and car-aficionados can catch the “auction in the round” during energetic, high-stakes bidding sessions. Tickets cost from $25 for a single-day pass to $75 for all five days and are on sale now.
Gooding & Company
Gooding & Co.’s auction is a festive affair that takes place near Fashion Square Mall and Old Town Scottsdale. Last year, the auction sold 162 lots for $51.5 million in sales, and this year will feature similarly priced cars including a 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster estimated to sell for $300,000 to $400,000. The auction will take place on January 29 and 30, with viewing days beginning on January 27. Admittance will cost $40 for one event and $100 for two. Children under 12 will be admitted free of charge.
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RM Sotheby’s car auction occurs from January 28 to 29 at the glamorous Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, and like the glamorous locale, it will boast some of the most “valuable cars sold in Arizona auction history.” Last year’s event saw the sale of a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM that went for nearly $9.3 million, while this year has the potential to top that record with its collection of imported, sports, racing, and contemporary “supercars.” While attendance to the auction itself is limited to registered bidders, daily previews occurring January 27 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and January 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. are open to the general public.
From January 26 to 28, car fans can watch the sale of international cars during Bonham’s auction at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Connoisseurs of sports-racing cars from Germany and Italy can catch the auction of vehicles including one of five 1953 FIAT 8V Zagato Elaboratas ever made. Previews begin January 26, while the auction itself will occur on January 28 beginning at 11 a.m. Tickets cost $25 for one person, $100 for two.
Editor's note: This post has been updated from its original version.