Selection of cars at Barrett-Jackson preview | Greg Acosta photos

Organizing over 1,700 vehicles for auction is a herculean task and the Barrett-Jackson team have that down to a science. Recently, I was invited to an exclusive media preview day and got to see set up for the 47th annual Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, held at WestWorld of Scottsdale in Arizona. I also got a sneak peek at some of the cars that make up the 2018 Salon Collection – which are the crème de la crème of the docket.

Just days before the official opening of the auction, set for January 13, the massive building I had access to, which also serves as the auction area during the event,  had over 100 cars staged and more on their way in. The crew worked hard to get the cars in place despite the presence of a few automotive journalists taking photos and video for their respective outlets.

Overwhelmed by all of the eye candy, I decided to showcase three of my favorite muscle cars from the preview and share a gallery with a few dozen of the nicest muscle cars I have  ever had the privilege of laying my eyes on.

1966 Shelby GT350 Prototype #001

1966 Shelby GT350 Prototype #001

This was my absolute favorite vehicle of the day, not just because of how amazingly clean it was or the fact that I love Shelbys, but because it is a truly significant piece of “blue oval” history. This particular vehicle – SFM6S001 – is a pre-production prototype and the very first 1966 Shelby GT350 ever built.

It is powered by a numbers-matching Hi-Po 289ci engine with a four-speed T-10 manual transmission. The car is unique because it began life as a Wimbledon White K-code 1965 fastback with all the factory equipment and was upgraded and modified into the prototype GT350. As a result, that makes this pony the only GT350 to have been originally equipped with the factory upgraded Pony interior.

According to the docket information, the unique medium blue vinyl top was custom-installed by ACME Auto Headlining in Long Beach, California, late in the prototype cycle and was briefly considered as a factory option for 1966 but ultimately it was not offered. The car was used for demonstrations and exhibits until it was purchased in 1968.

“Bonanza” 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne Drag Car

“Bonanza” 1966 Chevrolet Biscayne Drag Car

This 1966 Chevy Biscayne named “Bonanza” caught my attention because, well, race cars are cool, and old-school race cars are even cooler. This particular vehicle was ordered by Karl Bill, the service manager at Leroy Motors in Leroy, New York specifically so he could become a drag-racer.

The car was special-ordered from the factory with a L72 427 cubic-inch engine that was rated with 425 horsepower, hooked to a Muncie M21 four-speed manual transmission. The car came with F41 suspension and a 4.56:1 Posi-Trac rear-end. It also came with the heater-delete option and the “Soft Ray” factory tinted glass.

Bill campaigned the car in the NHRA Northeast Division and took several wins in A/Stock and Top Stock, while regularly dipping below the class index of 11.73 seconds in qualifying.

The car has since been restored by John DeRue with many original touches, like correct factory-quality paint and lettering, and a rebuilt engine based on a correct high-performance block with the original heads, intake manifold, Holley carburetor – which made 470 horsepower on a dyno – and the correct Muncie M21 and Posi-Trac rear-end were used, but the gear ratios were changed to a 3.70:1 ratio.

Custom 1970 Plymouth Barracuda

1970 Plymouth Barracuda

Original is cool, but let’s face it, I am a  gearhead, and gearheads modify things. It’s in our DNA. So it will be pretty obvious why this pro touring-style 1970 ‘Cuda jumped out at us. The stance, the Hemisphere Lime Pearl paint, and the 20-inch Mr. Norm’s Trust wheels add a modern touch to a truly iconic muscle car.

The car has endured a full rotisserie chassis restoration performed by Time Machines in Tampa, Florida. They added a  6.1-liter Gen III Hemi and topped off with a Kenne Bell twin-screw supercharger that makes 610 horsepower at the rear tires. A Viper-spec T56 six-speed transmission fitted with a Mopar pistol-grip shifter.

To top it all off, a nitrous bottle in the trunk hints at a little extra horsepower in case the 610 already on tap isn’t enough.

The car’s modified suspension is a mix of performance and style with a completely tubular suspension fitted up front and an aftermarket four-link rear suspension. The car also includes AFCO adjustable coilovers and Wilwood six-piston calipers complete with drilled and slotted rotors all around.

Additionally, creature comforts include power steering, windows, Vintage Air A/C, and a custom sound and video system aid in the ease of driving.

Honorable Mention – 1969 Dodge Charger from Fast & Furious

1969 Dodge Charger from Fast & Furious

While this car wasn’t the cleanest or most “correct” car in the preview, its history in the Fast and Furious franchise makes it too cool not to mention. This particular car was used in the fourth installment of the Fast and Furious saga as well as the fifth, Fast Five, by Vin Diesel’s character “Dominic Toretto” and is made up of parts from 1968, 1969, and 1970 Dodge Chargers, to look like a 1970 model. Powered by an automatic-backed 350, it still has the stunt brake, a secondary rear brake system, installed and has all the associated paperwork from the studio establishing its provenance.

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