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Hot rides heat up the Valley at Barrett Jackson

On February 6, 2012

By Desiree Pontarelli Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction provides for and services cars as wells as entertaining collectors and automotive enthusiasts. The company hosts the "World's Greatest Collector Car Event" in Scottsdale, Palm Beach, Florida, Orange County, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. Barrett Jackson has shifted gears generating its sale into an adventure featuring a huge stage where vehicles are televised and auctioned off. Inside, the Lifestyle Pavilion, fashion and jewelry shows are held in addition to a cocktail lounge, wine tastings, culinary samplings and spa treatments. Outdoors, an array of food and alcohol vendors hug the tents housing cars sitting pretty and waiting to be auctioned off. ‘I like all kinds of hot rods," said Mark Rachoy, an employee from the faith-based rehabilitation organization "Teen Challenge." Being a hot rod admirer, Rachoy, landedan ideal job as a "car escort" pushing the cars being staged in the back tents over to the colossal tent where the beauties are then auctioned off. Rachoy's favorite ride-the Corvette. Attendees can channel their inner race car driver by test driving over a dozen fresh-off-the-lot, 2012 Ford, Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. After a test drive, car fanatics get the opportunity to ride with a professionally trained driver to take a hot lap around the track burning out, drifting, and hitting high speeds. Karl Kustom Corvettes based out of Des Moines, Iowa, and associated with the nation's third largest car dealer, Karl Chevrolet, carves out a unique spin on cars by taking 2005-2013 C6 Corvettes and converts them into a 1963-1967 Corvette. Employee Jim Hidy refers to it as "reverse anti-aging." This year was Karl Kustoms' third year at Barrett Jackson, previously participating in the car show in Las Vegas and Florida. "What we've done here is taken today's modern technology, ride, comfort, convenience, and safety and put it into a package that looks like a car of yesterday," said David L. Johnson, a Karl Kuapprentice. "It's the best of both worlds." The auction has attracted celebrities, including Paul McCartney, David Spade, Alice Cooper and Pamela Anderson. Continuing his Barrett Jackson ritual, Scottsdale-based rocker Bret Michaels auctioned off a few of his cars from his collection this year, alongside novelty rides such as the JFK hearse and General Lee. The ample bulk of the cars that make up the event are classic wheels serving as testament of well paid off human diligence. "It (Barrett Jackson) was quite an experience," said Jessica Martin, wife of owner of Johnny's Auto Trim & Rod Shop. Established 21 years ago by Johnny Martin, the small business housing "big high tech equipment" is based out of the small town of Alamosa, Colorado. "It was my first time at the event and it was pretty impressive," said Martin. The 62 Corvette built by owner Johnny was responsible for bringing the duo out to Scottsdale. The ‘Vet' hit the stage to be sold on the big screen Saturday, Jan. 21. The rapidly growing auction annually pays an eight day visit to the Valley in January. The Speed Channel has been responsible for the coverage of the "World's Greatest Collector Car Event" for over a decade. West World in north Scottsdale has housed nearly 200,000 spectators. Not to worry, you don't have to be a registered bidder to engage in this one-of-a-kind experience. From rejuvenated rides to new age wheels, customs to classics, there's plenty to see Barrett Jackson.

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