Insider Tips From Local Experts

Scottsdale Stories

Famous Auto Auction Block Superstars

Every year, five of the nation’s most esteemed auto auctions roll into Scottsdale, their dockets filled with unparalleled collections of rare automobiles. To whet your appetite for the 2021 auctions (exact dates TBD), here are a handful of the most fun, famous and showstopping sales from years past.


Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

  • In “Thelma & Louise,” Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis costarred with a turquoise 1966 Ford Thunderbird that sold for $71,500  at the 2008 auction.
  • Two cars from “The Fast and the Furious” action film series have crossed the auction block at Barrett-Jackson: In 2013, the black 1969 Dodge Charger driven by Vin Diesel sold for $95,700 and in 2014, the electric-green 2001 Mitsubishi EVO driven by the late Paul Walker went for $46,200.
  • Showstopper: Holy guacamole, Batman! The original 1966 TV series Batmobile brought in a top bid of $4.6 million in 2013, setting a world record for the highest price ever fetched (to date) for a TV or movie car.


Russo and Steele

  • At the 2018 auction, a 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS Spyder sold for $379,500. This car is listed in Denny Schue’s online Dino Register as an original left-hand drive, European-spec model.
  • One of only 10  genuine Cheetahs know to be in the U.S. today, a 1967 Chevrolet Cheetah generated a lot of excitement and a winning bid of $660,000 in 2018.
  • Showstopper: A 1970 Plymouth Hemi ‘Cuda belonging to renowned actor Nicolas Cage sold for $440,000 in 2018. This original Hemi ‘Cuda boasted a Triple Black color combination – Black Velvet paint, black vinyl bucket seats and interior, and black vinyl top – a rarity for any original muscle car.


Bonhams Scottsdale Auction

  • At Bonhams’ 2017 auction a 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Sports Saloon sold for $110,000. This model was the last Rolls-Royce designed under the personal supervision of Henry Royce before his death in 1933.
  • The top bid for legendary racecar driver Carroll Shelby’s personal 1966 Shelby GT350H Fastback was $253,000 at the 2018 auction.
  • Showstopper: A 1963 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight Competition became both the most valuable E-Type and most valuable post-1960 Jaguar to ever sell at auction in 2017. The winning bid? A spectacular $7.3 made by a telephone bidder.


Gooding & Company Collector Car Auction

  • We suspect the seller of a 1960 Volkswagen Type 2 23-Window Deluxe Microbus was feeling pretty groovy when the gavel fell on a bid of $220,000 at the 2018 auction. 
  • Also in 2018, a stylish 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing topped out at $1.3 million.
  • Showstopper: At the 2015 auction, a stunning $7.7 million was paid for a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider, one of only 50 built.


RM Sotheby’s

  • A 1948 Tucker 48, the personal car of Preston Tucker until 1955 and then the “daily driver” of Governor Winthrop Rockefeller of Arkansas (and, yes, those Rockefellers), was auctioned in 2018 for nearly $1.8 million.
  • One of the highlights of the 2017 auction was a 1939 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster, a one-off, owner-commissioned vehicle originally built for Rolf Horn of Berlin. The successful bid for this gem was  $6.6 million.
  • Showstopper: In 2016 a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Special Roadster sold for a whopping $9.9 million. This car was  believed to have traveled only 10,277 miles from new at time of auction, and featured the rare and desirable “longtail,” “high door,” left-hand-drive configurations.