If you’ve never been to the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction be sure to put it on your list of destinations. For a Northerner like me a few days in sunny Arizona surrounded by thousands of beautiful classic cars is the perfect anecdote for the winter blues. A Barrett- Jackson auction feels like as much a sporting event as it does a car auction. The usual classics are well represented and the thirst for American muscle is as strong as ever, in fact I think I saw more Mopar Hemi cars in this single auction than I had seen in my entire life. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see unusual cars you’ve never seen before or didn’t even know they existed. Some of these were well promoted concept cars and others are just rare models or customs.
Here is a list of 10 of the more unusual or rare cars I saw at Barrett-Jackson:
1) 1968 Plymouth Barracuda “Mod Top”
Flower Power collided with the automotive world in 1969-70 when floral interiors and tops could be ordered for a $98 charge on Plymouths. The idea was panned by the automotive press and only 937 Barracudas were ordered with this option. Today only 118 are believed to exist. This Barracuda had a 2 year restoration that was completed in 2010 and sold for $33,000
2) 1957 Studebaker Provincial Station Wagon
Station Wagons were avoided like the plague by collectors for many years probably because of our negative associations many of us had to them as children. After all, why did Dad have to get a Kingswood when we could be driving a Chevelle SS396 instead? Now Station Wagons are cool and of the coolest ones I saw at Barrett Jackson was this 1957 Studebaker Provincial. As it is 1957 Studebakers are fairly rare to see but a Studebaker station wagon is a rare sight indeed. This fully restored Provincial was absolutely stunning and a bargain selling at $26,400
3) 1959 Fiat Jolly
Micro cars have become extremely collectable in the past few years and like a puppy dog they’re hard to pass by without a smile. The Fiat Jolly body was built by Carrozzeria Ghia and used the Fiat 600 chassis. The fringe cloth top and wicker seats add to the Jolly’s adorable demeanor. Jolly’s were popular resort vehicles among the European jet set in the 1950’s. This beautiful example sold for an astounding $71,500.
4) 1967 Pontiac Beaumont
To avoid Canadian tariffs placed on Chevrolet in the 1960’s some unusual hybrid Pontiac-Chevys were created. This Beaumont was a Chevelle utilizing a Pontiac grill and tail lights with a GTO dash. Powerplant was a Chevy 396. Anyway you slice it, it’s still a beautiful car. This example sold for $47,300.
5) 1951 Crosley Hook and Ladder Firetruck
Built as an amusement park attraction this firetruck is a Crosley pickup truck with a custom ‘Hook and Ladder’ trailer. Kids sat safely between the ladder rungs and fun was had by all! This example was lavishly restored to include all the fire equipment details and sold for $115,500
6) 1929 Ford Custom Pickup “Gone Fishing”
This bar on wheels is the perfect partymobile for any event. Vintage tractor seats create the bar stools and a fold down bench provides seating for extra party goers. A fold down staircase provides easy access for guests. A 4 cylinder Flathead engine powers the truck. Hopefully a bar owner purchased this as it would make for a great promotional vehicle for any drinking establishment. Sold for $44,000.
7) 1990 Concept Sky Commuter Aircraft
It seems like flying cars were every futurists vision in the 1950’s. The idea of flying above the traffic gridlock in your own personal vehicle at speeds far exceeding anything a conventional car could obtain was the ultimate exercise of personal freedom. Ford created the ‘Mach I Levacar‘ concept that floated on a thin layer of compressed air but that was about as far as development went in the 1950’s.
In the 1980’s a team of Boeing engineers working for Concept Sky developed 3 prototypes of a personal aircraft called the Commuter Aircraft. Although this prototype is non functioning, power for the Commuters was to be provided by an onboard gas turbine engine linked to each fan via helicopter-based drive shafts for both flying and driving. Sold for $71,500
8) 1954 Kaiser-Darrin Convertible
Conceived in part to compete with the European roadsters that were increasingly being imported to U.S. shores, the Kaiser-Darrin was arguably the first true American sports car. With sliding doors that rolled on tracks into the front fender and a fiberglass body that preceded the Corvette the Kaiser-Darren truly was an innovative automobile. Unfortunately difficulties with production, a high price tag and a lack of consumer confidence quickly killed the Kaiser-Darrin. Only 435 were built and just a handful remain. This spectacular example sold for $187,000
9) 1950 General Motors Futurliner
Used for “GM’s Parade of Progress” the Harley Earl designed Futurliner was used to show futuristic exhibits to towns and cities across the U.S.. Microwaves, jet engines, televisions and radar were just some of the technological achievements on display. Weighing in at over 30,000 pounds, nearly two stories tall and with a top speed of only 38mph it must have been quite a site to see when a caravan of these rolled into town. Only 12 were ever made and just three remain that are restored to “Parade of Progress” configurations. The Barrett-Jackson Futurliner sold for $4,000,000 with proceeds going to charity.
10) 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special
One of the better known Motorama Concept cars the Harley Earl designed Bonneville was reportedly conceived after Earl witnessed land speed records being broken at the Salt Flats in Utah. Two were built, a bronze one that debuted at Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf in New York and this green one that was first seen at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles. The green version eventually toured GM dealers throughout the U.S. This one sold for $3,300,000