The third running of the Barrett-Jackson Northeast Auction (June 20-23, 2018) concluded just days ago, setting numerous records and raising funds for several worthwhile charities. In particular, FCA/Dodge’s “Ultimate Last Chance” two-for-one-bid, no-reserve sale of the final production 2017 Dodge Viper and the final production 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT
® Demon generated an astonishing one million dollars for United Way, FCA/Dodge’s charity of choice for more than 60 years.
Your author (that’s me!) has been part of the live broadcast team since 2005 and this event marked my 46
th televised show with the Barrett-Jackson/Velocity Channel TV team. When not busy describing what’s on the block, I sneak my trusty digital camera into the mix and grab pictures of special moments and cool cars. Here’s a review of some hot Challengers – vintage and new – and some behind-the-scenes shots from the “calm before the storm” set-up and preview period.
Though typically used for musical acts, wrestling, comedians and dance troupes, the Mohegan Sun Arena has proven to be an ideal automotive auction venue. It takes hundreds of carpenters, electricians, laborers and computer experts to set the stage for Barrett-Jackson. Much of the auction block structure is owned by Barrett-Jackson and is transported to each of the four Barrett-Jackson auction locations by truck.
The Mohegan Sun Arena back stage walls are signed by some of the world’s biggest names. One of your author’s favorites – the Smashing Pumpkins – takes the stage July 29. The Pumpkins’ lead man, Billy Corgan, is a regular Barrett-Jackson visitor and bidder.
Here’s a stage-eye-view taken moments after the Ultimate Last Chance Viper and SRT Demon took the stage. Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson is on the microphone describing how the 10% seller fee is being donated entirely to the American Heart Association/Driven Hearts research charity. Standing between Jackson and Steve Davis is Dodge executive Mark Malmstead, who is about to described that the combined horsepower of the two Dodges is 1,485.
Snapped just before it left the screen, the record-smashing one million dollar bid goes entirely to United Way, and the entire 10% seller fee ($100,000) goes to the American Heart Association/Driven Hearts charity.
Closer to Earth, this tastefully executed 1970 HEMI® Challenger convertible resto-mod (Lot 668) sold for $100,100. Originally built as a basic 318 small block car (G-code in fifth spot of VIN), its been fully rebuilt with improved brakes, tubular front control arms and a Tremec TKO 5-speed manual transmission.
A Mopar® Performance 472 crate HEMI with dual Edelbrock 650s sits beneath the reproduction steel Shaker hood. Today’s best records show Dodge installed only 408 Challengers with N96 Shaker hoods (184 in 1970 and 224 in 1971, n/a in 1972-74). Happily, since its re-introduction as a factory option in 2015, thousands of Shaker-equipped HEMI Challengers roam the streets today.
With its correct fiberglass hood, rear-mounted radio antenna, stagger-sized E and F-series tires, side-exit exhaust, console shifted TorqueFlite automatic and 340 6-barrel small block, this well-restored 1970 Challenger T/A (Lot 740) hammered for $72,600. Born with the optional 3.91 rear axle ratio (3.55 was standard on T/A), it still has its original matching numbers engine block, a rarity due to the 340’s quick revving nature and propensity for damage at the hands of lead-footed drivers.
Another well-executed HEMI clone, this 1970 Challenger convertible (Lot 710) was also born a G-code 318 2-barrel car. With over $125,000 in receipts, it sold for $71,500. The nearly $30,000 discrepancy with Lot 668 (above) is likely attributed to its smaller 426 cubic inch Mopar Performance crate HEMI, non-overdrive 4-speed transmission, stock-type wheels, non-Shaker hood and less exciting color scheme. Regardless, clone cars don’t know they’re clones. This sharp HEMI ragtop surely delivers the same thrills as a legit R-code – at a fraction of the price.
An even $20,000 took this clean, 57,000-mile 2009 Challenger SRT8® Track Pack. It’s hard to imagine a full decade has passed since the first reborn (LC-Body) Challenger SRT8 rolled off the Brampton, Ontario, Canada line on Thursday, May 8, 2008. This 2009 SRT8 has the desirable 6-speed manual transmission and is totally stock except for wheels, tires and having the back seat head rests removed for improved outward visibility. Dodge built just over 165,400 E-Body Challengers in the 1970-74 era. Over twice as many modern Challengers have been built since 2008. Happily, they’ll be part of the Barrett-Jackson scene for decades to come.