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Auction Insanity Underway in Arizona

By Autosaurus Published: January 23, 2010

Last week I asked a fellow collector is he was attending the Arizona car auctions.  He said that, instead, he was staying home and watching wrestling on TV.  Many collectors must wonder if the only way to buy or sell a collector car any more is at an auction.   There are so many auctions now it's hard to believe that there are actually that many collector cars available. In fact, some of these cars seem to be perpetually for sale; they appear in one auction after another.  Nowhere is all of this more apparent than in Arizona in January, where all of the major car auction companies are now conducting auctions.   Thousands of people head to Arizona to take in one or more auctions€”Barrett-Jackson, RM, Gooding, Russo & Steele and Kruse.  (I may have missed someone.)  

Although there are some great cars in these auctions there are also a plenty of cars to avoid.  If ever the Latin phrase €œCaveat Emptor€ applied, this is it!  When considering a car at auction it's absolutely imperative that you do your homework€”or as some folks like to say your €œdue diligence.€  I have first-hand experience as both a buyer and seller at high-end auctions.  Learn everything you can about the car prior to the sale.  If you have any doubts about certain aspects of a car, bid accordingly€”or don't bid at all. I once bought a car that had been judged nearly perfect by a national car club€”only to discover that everything that had been done to the drive train, including the motor, was cosmetic.  It was a tired car that needed major mechanical attention.  Had I made a couple of strategic phone calls prior to the sale I would have learned more about the quality of restoration on that car.  I learned my lesson. (In fact, the best auction houses will tell you the same thing€”do your homework.)  If you enjoy the auction scene, have fun€”but proceed cautiously.

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