It’s April again. And for car lovers, that means it’s time for the second quarterly Barrett-Jackson collector car event. While the one-hundred-million-dollar-in-sales Scottsdale, Arizona, event in January is the “mother ship” of the four annual Barrett-Jackson events, Florida is smaller, but just as likely to attract interesting Dodge vehicle consignments as Barrett-Jackson’s Connecticut (June) or Las Vegas (October) shows. In this post, let’s take a peek at the behind-the-scenes preparations as the South Florida Fairgrounds get transformed into a car lover’s paradise and readies for the sale of 719 special interest and vintage vehicles at no reserve.
Let’s also preview five interesting Dodge offerings that’ll hit the block during the Thursday-through-Sunday (April 12-15, 2018) sale, some of which may be covered during the live Velocity Channel auction telecast. Speaking of which, your author is one of the on-camera vehicle commentators who will “give each car a voice” as it crosses the auction block. The 2018 West Palm Beach auction marks my 16th year working the broadcast and it’s always a pleasure to point out the cool details as each car finds a new home. Let’s kick it off!
A dense crowd of auction bidders and spectators will soon be filling this space to near capacity as over 700 cars cross the block. Here, the many rows of seats have not yet been installed.
The world-famous Barrett-Jackson auction podium begins to take shape. The many microphone channels allow multiple speakers to address the crowd. Celebrity car owners like Jay Leno, Justin Bieber, Don Johnson, Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons, Wayne Newton, President George W. Bush and Dodge’s own Richard “Gas Monkey” Rawlings have all addressed bidders from this location.
This 1957 Dodge D100 Sweptside pickup truck (Lot 675) marked the very first of the “streamlined” pickup box offerings from Dodge. Previously, Dodge pickup boxes were smaller with bolt-on fenders. Introduced mid-way through the 1957 model year, the Sweptside added flair – and extra cargo capacity – to the Dodge pickup truck line. Little-known fact: the finned quarter panels were adapted from the Dodge 2-door station wagon parts bin! Just over 1,000 Sweptsides were built in this inaugural year.
Inside, the 1957 D100 Sweptside features push-button controls for its optional Load Flite automatic transmission. One of the very first automatic transmissions used in Dodge pickup trucks; before its arrival, if you couldn’t operate a clutch, you weren’t driving a Dodge truck! A 315-cubic-inch polyspherical head V8 powers this restored beauty.
Lot 718 is a pristine 1959 Dodge Custom Royal convertible with the Super D500 engine option. The final year for body-on-frame construction (unitized construction was adopted for 1960), many historians say the D500 was the first Dodge muscle car – years before the 1967 Coronet R/T.
For 1959, the Super D500 option featured the 383 Wedge loaded with dual Carter AFB four-barrel carburetors. The “football” air cleaner housings are ultra rare. One year later – for 1960 – Dodge added an optional “ram induction” option to the top-level D500 as many Chrysler Corp. engines took advantage of acoustically tuned intake manifold architecture.
Don’t let the Bumble Bee tail stripe and R/T grille emblem fool you. This 1968 Dodge Coronet convertible (Lot 332) was “born” a basic 318 small block (with engine code G in the fifth spot of the VIN). That said, a hopped-up 440 with aluminum heads has been swapped in place, making this a good alternative to the real thing (which would show engine code L for the 440 Magnum). Clones and tributes like this can usually be bought for a fraction of the price of numbers-matching muscle models. It can be a cost-effective way to enjoy a vintage Dodge.
This 1971 Dodge Charger R/T (Lot 341) packs the “base” 440 Magnum (VIN code U) and shows off the Charger’s third-generation body style. Sadly, the first muscle car era was winding down in 1971 and the R/T was dropped for 1972 and replaced by the Charger Rallye in 1972. While the 440 Magnum and 440 Six Pack were still offered in 1972, the mighty 426 Street HEMI® was not.
Under hood, the R/T’s 440 big block is correctly restored complete with dual-snorkel air cleaner and high-flow exhaust manifolds. For 1971 (only), the Super Bee was transferred from the Coronet line (where it lived from 1968-70) to the Charger. Being one rung below the R/T, the Charger Super Bee came with a smaller 383 V8.
First-generation 1971-72 Dodge Demons are enjoying a revival thanks to the bright light cast by the amazing, wheel standing 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT® Demon. This 1972 unit (Lot 72.1) was “born” with a 318 small block but now has a 440 Six Pack surprise under its dual hood scoops. A member of the compact A-body family, the original Demon (like its Dart and Duster cousins) is an ideal big block swap candidate. In fact, for decades, Direct Connection sold engine mounts and K-members to ease the conversion.
Big block A-bodies used to be the street racer’s choice and were usually the quickest Mopar® vehicles on the scene. The Demon’s wide engine bay easily swallows the 440. During the first muscle car era, it was a big deal to run the quarter-mile in under 12 seconds. Today’s SRT Demon cranks NINES with the air conditioner on. Times have changed!
Speaking of the new SRT Demon, at least two will cross the block this week at Barrett-Jackson. This as-delivered unit (Lot 672) carries a window sticker price of $88,356. Will it sell for more? With 3,300 demons being built, it is likely there will always be more demand than supply. The buyer of this one will face a tough choice: the angel on one shoulder says, “Leave it in the wrapper and park it like a time capsule,” while the little red guy with the forked tail on the other shoulder says, “Go stomp some Mustangs!” What would you do?