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Barrett-Jackson classic car auction rolls into Scottsdale this weekend

PHOENIX — It’s that time of year again, when classic cars and bidders alike head to Scottsdale for the Barrett-Jackson classic car auction.

The weeklong event was scheduled to begin Saturday at WestWorld of Scottsdale, located near the Loop 101 and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.

“It’s not just an auction at Barrett-Jackson. This is a lifestyle event,” chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, Craig Jackson, said.

Organizers said this year’s event was expected to be the biggest ever. More than 1.1 million square feet of tents — which breaks the Guinness World Record — will be filled with cars, vendors and activities for attendees to check out.

And that doesn’t include the outdoor race track areas where people can take a spin in new cars.

This weekend will serve as a preview event for the 47th annual auction — and also a motorcycle stunt show — which was scheduled to begin Monday. Cars will roll across the block every day next week, with the event scheduled to come to a close on Jan. 21.

More than 350,000 people were expected to attend.

If you’re one of the thousands of people planning to head there — or are just curious about it — here’s everything you need to know.

So, is this just like a big car sale?

Yes and no.

Barrett-Jackson is one of the largest collector car auctions in the state. More than 350,000 people were expected to attend this year’s event.

It traditionally makes a big splash when it comes to the state’s coffers. Two years ago, the Phoenix Business Journal said the auction generated $167.8 million in economic impact.

That was more than a $70 million jump since a similar study was done in 2006.

You can expect to see more than 1,500 cars roll across the auction block, but there are also plenty of other vehicles you can walk around and check out, along with vendors selling their goods.

There will also be several of the aforementioned motorcycle stunt shows, a gala and some educational courses.

What kind of cars are sold?

This year’s docket has 1,760 cars scheduled to hit the block and a hefty amount was expected to be given to a good cause.

Last year, the most expensive car sold went for nearly $1.5 million.

Jackson said he expects the most expensive car sold this time around to be Ron Pratte’s Ford GT or the Talbot Lago, but there could be another vehicle that takes the top prize.

“You never know,” he said.

Organizers said vehicles being sold for charity would grab the spotlight this year, including a 1988 Chevrolet Corvette being auctioned by Jackson and his wife. Proceeds from that sale will be given to the American Heart Association.

It was expected that more than $100 million would be raised for charitable causes.

While there certainly will be some headline-worthy cars (check out the gallery below), a lot of other modes of transportation will be sold.

Some of our favorites included a Harley-Davidson golf cart, a 1946 scooter and a healthy selection of vintage and/or custom motorcycles.

Most of the auction will be televised on Discovery or Velocity channels.

How much are tickets?

We’ll tell you this now: Buying online ahead of time can save you some money.

Tickets for the full week were $175 for adults, $140 for seniors, students and members of the military and kids were $70.

Those prices were only available online. Entry at the gate was $195 for adults, $155 for seniors, students and member of the military and admission for children was $95.

Single-day tickets varied in price, but the cheapest entry prices were for this weekend before bidding starts. Adults could get in for as low as $17 and admission will be free for kids 12 and under on Saturday.

The most expensive single-day tickets were for Jan. 20. Adult passes started at $60.

VIP packages that give more access to the auction block and a slew of other amenities were also available. Prices started at $1,499 per person.

A slightly cheaper VIP pass had sold out as of Friday.

How do I get there?

With hundreds of thousands of people expected to visit the auction, you should pack some patience.

Several parking lots will be available near WestWorld. Attendees should follow signs in the area to find a spot.

Some of the lots will offer shuttle service.

KTAR News’ Corbin Carson contributed to this report.

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