Bring on the 2014 Corvette Convertible, a million dollars at a time. This weekend’s Barrett-Jackson automobile auction in West Palm Beach, Florida featured all the things you’d expect from a classic car auction: men speaking barely intelligible words into microphones. Older cars older than some attendees with engines that sound like rocket launchers. And millionaires spending money on antique cars they don’t need. But leave it to auto racing mogul Rick Hendrick to steal the show with a million dollar bid on a brand new car. His winning auction bid netted him the very first 2014 Corvette Convertible off the line, and General Motors donated the money to charity. The new car was then placed on display indoors at the South Florida Fairground, which hosted the Palm Beach auction.
Much of the rest of the auction focused, as expected on older cars of varying makes and models. Popular were the oversized Pontiac GTO models from the late sixties, classic Chevy Camaro Z28 models, and more exquisite aging lines including Bentley and Lamborghini models. That didn’t keep the occasional 2003 BMW M3 convertible or current decade Volkswagen from sneaking into auction contention, of course. But the vibe in the main auction hall tended to lean most enthusiastically toward the classic cars for which the auction series is best known.
But some of the oddest sights of the Barrett Jackson weekend came from vehicles which didn’t sell. The original General Lee “01” car from the Dukes of Hazzard was displayed on loan from Warner studios, but wasn’t for sale. A private jet went up for auction, but the top bid failed to meet reserve. Also for sale was the pickup truck once driven by former U.S. President George W. Bush on his Crawford ranch, an odd offering in the liberal leaning, mostly democrat voting Palm Beach county.