Old Trucks Sell for Big Bucks at Barrett-Jackson Auction
By: Larry Edsall Posted: 01-21-07 00:03 PT
© 2008 PickupTruck.com

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Don’t ever expect to get the sort of money commanded by a Model J Duesenberg – three of the rare and valued motor cars were offered at the annual collector car auctions here in Arizona in January and each brought at least a million dollars – but don't be surprised, either, to learn that pickup trucks are collectible and were offered not only under the big Barrett-Jackson tent, not only among the American muscle and European sports cars at Russo and Steele, but right there with the expensive classics at the high-end RM Auction.

"The pickup has universal appeal," said Steve Davis, president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. "We have pickups every year."

Long before he went to work for Barrett-Jackson, Davis was an auction customer, both consigning vehicles he'd restored or modified and buying completed cars. He also led the effort to have collectible vehicles exempted from California's strict emission regulations, thus saving perhaps thousands of classics from being destroyed.

"One of my first major vehicles was a '56 F100 that I put a 427 into," Davis said. "I built one for my father-in-law, too."

"Pickup trucks are collectible in the degree they push the same buttons [as collector cars]," said Drew Alcazar, founder of the Russo and Steele auction. "They are reminiscent of an era that collectors want to recapture."

"We always sprinkle in a few," Alcazar continued. "It's a much narrower market in focus, though lots of guys with car collections also have a collectible pickup truck. 'That's my parts-getter,' they'll tell you."

"A lot of car collectors have a customized pickup to haul their trailers," adds Barrett-Jackson's Davis. "They may have their company [or collection's] name on the door."

"A pickup guy is a guy who loves cars but also loves pickups for the utilitarian vehicle it really is. For customization, it's almost a blank canvas to trick out any way you want, with aftermarket parts or reproduction parts."

Because of their size and architecture, Davis adds that it can be easier to do customized modifications on a pickup, whether it's powertrain, suspension, electronics or "cool" interiors.

For its docket, Davis said Barrett-Jackson looks for pickup trucks that have been well maintained, have low miles, lots of options and accessories, or that have been properly restored.

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