Barrett-Jackson: Younger Buyers Fueling Resto-Mod Demand

Barrett-Jackson’s 48th Annual Scottsdale Auction held in January featured a sell-through rate of 99.75 percent on 1,8000 vehicles. Not only did total auction sales soar to $131.6 million, but the weeklong event solidified significant market trends, as well as dynamic shifts in the hobby.

Based on internal sales and market data over the last decade, Barrett-Jackson has experienced a growing demand for professionally built Resto-Mods, as well as an increasing number of Gen X and millennial buyers coming to the hobby.

“When I took the helm of Barrett-Jackson in 1995, I knew that stagnation would be the biggest threat to this hobby,” said Craig Jackson, CEO and chairman of Barrett-Jackson. “While prewar classics were hot at the time, we recognized the demographic of our buyers would change over time and consequently the demand for those cars would also change. Plenty of naysayers thought it was foolish when we began adding 1960s and 1970s muscle cars to our docket.

“But we realized these were the dream cars of baby boomers and they had the means to buy them. It’s rewarding to look back and know, without a doubt, that we were right. Even today, they remain one of our most popular docket vehicles, and have increased in value significantly over time.”

As early as 2000, Jackson and Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis forecasted the growth of professionally built Resto-Mods, largely due to the burgeoning accessibility of new technology, high-quality custom parts and top-notch design talent, according to the company. In 2002, Barrett-Jackson began consigning more Resto-Mods.

During the last decade, Resto-Mods have seen a meteoric rise in interest among buyers, according to Barrett-Jackson. The SEMA Show and Detroit Autorama’s Ridler Award are among the factors contributing to the demand, according to the company.

“Barrett-Jackson prides itself on being at the cutting edge of changes and trends in the collector car market,” Davis said. “Resto-Mods is one of those trends we saw emerging from the customs segment nearly 15 years ago. We had the foresight to give these cars the platform to be seen by millions of collectors, which has made Resto-Mods one of the fastest-growing segments in this hobby.”

Similar to the upward trend of classic muscle cars, Resto-Mods have also experienced a jolt in demand among buyers. Over the past two years alone, Barrett-Jackson has seen a steady increase in not only the amount of customs and Resto-Mods sold, but also an increase in value. At the 2019 Scottsdale Auction, 161 custom vehicles were on the docket, an increase of 87.2 percent over the 2017 Scottsdale event, while the average sale price for vehicles in that category has risen 27.7 percent, from $62,711 to $80,103.

Some of the best Resto-Mods are bringing well over six figures at auction. A prime example was a multiple award-winning 1971 Plymouth HEMI ’Cuda built by Alan Johnson of Johnson’s Hot Rod Shop in Alabama that sold for $588,500 at the 2007 Scottsdale Auction. Other professionally built Resto-Mods that have made their mark at Barrett-Jackson auctions include:

  • 1958 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible (Scottsdale 2018, $440,000)
  • 1938 Lincoln Zephyr V-12 Coupe Street Rod (Scottsdale 2004, $440,000)
  • 1936 Cadillac Custom Convertible (Scottsdale 2015, $440,000)
  • 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split-Window Custom Coupe (Scottsdale 2019, $385,000)
  • 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Custom Convertible (Scottsdale 2019, $363,000)
  • 1967 Ford Mustang Kindig-It Design Custom Fastback (Scottsdale 2019, $275,000)
  • 1970 Dodge Challenger Custom Coupe (Scottsdale 2017, $220,000)

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