The Secret to Getting the Vintage Car You Want

If you want a deal on a classic car, head to a regional auction.

Barrett-Jackson Auctions is a classic car show on steroids. Iconic cars from every era can be spotted rolling across the stage and going under the hammer. The biggest of all the Barrett-Jackson gatherings happens every year in Scottsdale, Arizona, where bidders from all over the world fly in, log in online and call in to place bids on some of the rarest cars in the country. Just this year, 1,719 vehicles sold for $102.5 million at the Scottsdale auction, a record for Barrett-Jackson. It’s a global attraction — exactly the reason you avoid it and go to the smaller regional Barrett-Jackson auctions, like the northeast gathering at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut, if you want to bid on classic cars.

The trick is to go after the cars that aren’t attracting a lot of attention. That means run-of-the-mill classic cars, resto-mods and new cars. A fully loaded 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited with $20,000 worth of add-ons (like a roof rack, suspension lift, flood lights and all-terrain tires) went for just over $25,000; put another way, one lucky bidder walked away with a $70,000 off-road monster for the price of a lightly optioned base Wrangler. A random DeLorean went for $26,000 and a lose-it-in-a-crowd white Mustang Mach-1 went for $15,000.

So, even though you’ll see cars at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in Scottsdale go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the best deals are hiding in plain sight at the smaller, regional auctions.

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Montblanc TimeWalker Chronograph UTC

Because Scottsdale is the headlining act for BR each year, it attracts the most desirable cars to be auctioned and it attracts the most bidders to throw money at them. Which really means more competition and bidding wars per car. The regional auctions, like the Northeast or the South Beach auctions, tend to only attract local cars and bidders, which means smaller crowds with more specific tastes — ergo, less competition.

Montblanc’s Timewalker Chronograph UTC features classic masculine looks and premium, modern functionality: the black, ceramic rotating bezel; the engraved 24-hour scale; the calibre MC.25.03 that keeps time in three time zones. But we’re particularly into other design aspects that call to mind classic cars like you’d see at the auction pictured above: knurled details inspired by fuel caps from vintage racers, for instance. The watch comes with two straps, one in perforated leather and one in perforated rubber; it is also water resistant to 100 meters, and each watch is testing in a simulated real-life environment for 500 hours. But, unlike your next classic muscle car, you’ll be the first to actually drive the TimeWalker. Buy Now: $4,990


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