1962 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
Some may think of Barrett-Jackson events as just a place to buy and sell cars, but each and every Barrett- Jackson auction — which Vice President of Consignment Gary Bennett likens to the Super Bowl, Stanley Cup and World Series — offers competition as real as what’s found in a sports arena. Consignors, bidders and spectators are part of the energy-charged, adrenaline-pumping seconds as bidders pursue a vehicle on the block with the same kind of steely-eyed determination of athletes focused on a scoreboard, finish line or goal post. Finally after other bidders concede, the winner will hear one sweet word of victory, “Sold!” accompanied by the pounding of the auctioneer’s gavel. And at the end of the finish line: a garage-sized trophy in shining chrome and gleaming paint.
But all competitions have to begin somewhere, and Barrett-Jackson does as much as it can to assure that the “road to sold” is a smooth one for buyers and sellers alike.
THE ROAD MAP FOR CONSIGNORS
The road begins and ends with a collector car. As with any important sporting event, the preparation to sell a car at one of the World’s Greatest Car Auctions is the key, and the consignment process does take time. Bennett advises sellers to begin as early as possible. Even four to five months prior to an auction isn’t too soon, he said.
The first step is completing the preliminary consignment request form, available online at Barrett-Jackson.com. Along with the form, the consignor submits the required documentation, a copy of the title, five photos, and short and long descriptions.
Then a consignment specialist works with the seller to present the car realistically, both in its description and value. Through multiple calls, e-mails and faxes, consignment specialists help sellers refine vehicle descriptions so that buyers will have an accurate portrait of the cars as they cross the block.
“If it isn’t said, it isn’t said,” Bennett noted. “We don’t want to leave an impression or imply that the car is something that it’s not.” Bennett said that a consignor’s responsibility is to describe the car completely, accurately and realistically. Another consignor responsibility is to ensure the title and the vehicle’s VIN match to avoid discrepancy because Barrett-Jackson will cross-check this information when the car arrives at the auction site.
1962 Volkswagen 23 Window Custom Samba Bus
Then the vehicle is assigned a Lot number, which determines when the vehicle will cross the block. Lot numbers are assigned based on a car’s value and the current vehicle lineup for a specific auction day. Each day begins with entry-level vehicles and proceeds to higher-priced cars during “prime time.”
Finally, when the owner and consignment specialist have agreed on the car’s description and Lot number, it’s time to seal the deal. The consignor signs the contract agreeing to pay a seller’s commission of eight percent of the hammer price on No Reserve vehicles and ten percent on Reserve vehicles, pays the entry fee (based on the day and time of the Lot number), and submits the actual vehicle title.
Also, consignors are required to sign off on the vehicle description, signifying that it is theirs, not Barrett-Jackson’s depiction of the vehicle. Bennett said, “We won’t embellish, change or deviate from the owner’s vehicle description. It is the owner’s representation of the car.” This description will appear on the “car card” while the vehicle is on display and will be read on the block.
Now the vehicle is well on the road to sold.
Prior to the auction, the vehicle and its description will be seen on Barrett-Jackson’s website. The company’s extensive website can offer plenty of pre-sale exposure.
Once vehicles arrive at the auction site, they are displayed for preview. Bennett believes the sale actually “happens” here and says that consignors’ participation at an event is paramount. Potential buyers almost always inspect the vehicles ahead of time. “Well-represented cars always do better,” said Bennett. Sellers or a representative are encouraged to stand by vehicles, ready to answer questions and engage with potential buyers.
A consignor may elect to drive his car across the block or use a Barrett-Jackson provided driver. When the hammer falls and “sold” rings out, ownership changes hands. Sale proceeds are mailed to consignors 21 banking days later.
CRUISING DOWN THE BIDDING ROAD
Just as the seller’s road to a sale at Barrett-Jackson begins with a registration process, the road to new car ownership for a buyer begins with the bidder registration process. Typically around half of those registering are new bidders as Barrett-Jackson events continue to grow in popularity. Yet every bidder, new or not, must register at each event in order to bid.
The process, which Barrett-Jackson has designed to be easily manageable, consists of four steps: complete the registration form/bidder agreement, pay the registration fee, provide identification and auto insurance verification, and set up a purchase method.
The Registration Form/Bidder Agreement: Bidders can register to bid in advance of the four auction events. The bidder registration form is available at Barrett-Jackson.com. Basic personal information is required on the front of the two-page registration form; the back contains the nine items that comprise the bidding agreement. These “terms and conditions of the sale” list important information for buyers. A signature and date on the form’s first page signify acceptance of the agreement terms.
The completed registration form and required information can be faxed, e-mailed or mailed. Bidders registering at least 30 days prior to an event have the option of receiving credential packets via mail so they will consequently have admission credentials and parking pass in hand when they arrive at the event. Bidders may also pick up credential packets on-site at the pre-registered bidder pick-up area inside the auction office at the event.
For spectators deciding to bid after arriving at an event, on-site registration takes place at bidder services in the auction office where Bidder Manager Renee Farley and her staff “will walk you through the process and go the extra mile to help get you the proper documentation.”
The Registration Fee: The fee depends on the event. For Palm Beach 2011, the fee is $200. Payable by cash, check or credit card, this fee includes event admission passes for two, parking, the event program and the Vehicle Showcase. The fee also includes access to the auction’s hosted drink area and the bidder seating area plus admission for two to the Opening Night Gala.
Identification and Insurance Verification: Without proof of insurance, a photo and a copy of driver’s license, no bidding credentials will be released, so providing the following information is essential:
- A copy of the front and back of a current driver’s license. (Other acceptable identification forms are passports and state IDs.)
- First-time bidders must supply a current color photograph for their bidding credentials. Registration staff will snap photos of those registering on-site.
- Verification (name, policy number, and expiration date) of a bidder’s current automobile insurance. The policy must be in force and effective through the last day of the auction. This information guarantees that a car purchased will be insured when ownership changes hands and smooths the process after the sale at the cashier’s office.
- Vehicle Payment Method and Bid Limit: The final step in the registration process is establishing the bidder’s limit and specifying a payment method should a bidder have the winning bid. Even though a buyer’s budget may range from $10,000 to $15 million, the minimum amount of credit to establish is $30,000, which is referred to as the “minimum bid limit.”
Three options are available to establish payment:
- Bank letter of guaranty: Providing a bank letter of guaranty written on a bank’s letterhead proves a bidder’s credit worthiness and guarantees that when the hammer falls, a buyer has the funds to cover the winning bid. Only U.S. residents may use this option. A buyer must write the vehicle payment check against funds only from the bank that submits the letter of guaranty.However, a buyer doesn’t have to spend $30,000, but the bank letter of guaranty must qualify him for at least that amount. Should a buyer have a higher budget, the bank letter of guaranty establishes he has credit in the higher amount. This verification of limits also applies to wire transfers, but not bid limit deposits.
- Wire Transfer: This payment arrangement is used by buyers planning to wire U.S. funds for vehicle payment and by non-U.S. residents planning to draw funds from non- U.S. bank accounts. (Checks are not accepted from non-U.S. banks.) In addition to establishing a buyer’s minimum bid limit of $30,000 in U.S. funds, the wire transfer letter format contains bank routing information.
- Bid Limit Deposit: This arrangement requires a customer to deposit a minimum of $9,000 in cash or cashier’s check(s) made payable to Barrett-Jackson only. Personal/ business checks or credit cards are not accepted for the bid limit deposit, which will provide a buyer with a $90,000 bid limit. The higher the deposit, the higher the bid limit.If a customer purchases a vehicle without a bank letter of guaranty and with only a bid limit deposit as payment method, the balance of the purchase price must be paid in cash, cashier’s check or wire transfer.Deposits are returned upon request at the auction office if a bidder doesn’t drive away with a newly purchased car. Should a bidder leave the event without picking up the deposit, Barrett-Jackson returns deposits via mail within 10 days of the auction.
FOR BIDDERS WHO CAN’T BE THERE
Absentee bidding requires completion of an absentee bidder registration form, submission of the same information above required for on-site bidding and payment of a $100 fee. Absentee registration must be received no later than 24 hours prior to the day the bidder wishes to place an absentee bid. Three methods of absentee bidding are available if a bidder’s schedule prevents event attendance.
- Internet bidding is almost like being at the auction. Through Live Block, a bidder can log on and place bids through the Internet in a live, real- time environment. The bidder will receive a bidder number and password; then “Live Bidding” can be accessed on Barrett-Jackson’s website starting the first day of the auction.
- Another option is telephone bidding. Barrett-Jackson staff will execute the bid via direct telephone contact with the bidder during the time the vehicle(s) specified in the absentee bidder agreement is auctioned.
- The third and truly absentee form of bidding is by proxy. An absentee bidder sets a maximum bid amount they will bid on a specific vehicle, and an auction representative executes the bid until the vehicle is purchased or the maximum bid is reached.
Not every bidder will drive away with a collectible car, but Bennett summarized the benefits of registering to bid at a Barrett-Jackson auction. “You can sit on the sidelines, or you can get into the game. Either way, you have an up-close view of some of the most amazing auctions in the collector car industry.”
FROM BIDDER TO BUYER
Bennett, who remembers the first car he bid on like it was yesterday, observed that bidders react to winning in different ways. Some receive congratulations as they smile and thumbs-up their win. Others may jump up and down, or raise their arms in victory, then follow their cars out of the auction area to talk to the seller. In contrast, a veteran bidder’s expression may not even change.
But a win is a win, and at the moment the auctioneer bangs the gavel and announces “Sold!” the ownership of the car on the block changes hands. Within seconds, the new owner performs the first official act of ownership when an auction clerk hands him or her a clipboard to sign the clerk ticket, which lists the car’s Lot number, sale price and the owner’s bidder number. After signing the clerk ticket, the owner retains a copy to present to the cashier, and another copy goes to the auction block to be entered into Barrett-Jackson’s system.
INSIDE THE CASHIER’S OFFICE
The cashier’s office is good example of that acceleration. Jill Smith, Barrett-Jackson’s consignment manager, oversees the aspects of the post-hammer process. This is a busy place, especially toward the end of the auction, but the cashiers are all highly trained to assure that the paperwork process goes smoothly. Here, Bennett said, it is important that customers receive knowledgeable, expedient assistance whether they need help with transport arrangements or have questions about sales tax.
The collection of sales tax depends on whether the owner will keep the car in the state it was purchased, or transport it out of state where sales tax will be collected by local DMV when the vehicle is registered. Because Barrett- Jackson has a responsibility as a dealer to collect in-state sales tax, the new owner must furnish proof to the cashier’s office that he/ she will transport the car to another state.
This proof is the “bill of lading,” a document showing that the owner has contracted with a transport company to ship the car out of state.
Once the sales transaction in the cashier’s office is completed, owners receive a vehicle release form, which is the verification that the vehicle has been paid for. At this time, key control will show the new owners to their cars and give them the all important keys.
INSURING COLLECTIBLE CARS
Another responsibility of ownership is obtaining insurance. Barrett-Jackson smooths the back-end of the sale by requiring bidders to furnish their current auto insurance information up front as part of the bidding application
However, just as all cars are not alike, neither are insurance policies. What might be adequate coverage in an existing policy covering a daily driver may not provide the best coverage for a newly purchased collectible vehicle. But Barrett-Jackson Endorsed Collector Car Insurance provides coverage as well as protection for the new owner’s investment.
Dan Kilgras, Barrett-Jackson’s insurance program manager, explained the difference between basic vehicle coverage and coverage for special interest vehicles. Once a new, non-collectible car is driven off a dealer’s lot, the depreciation process begins. Because of a collectible car’s potential to appreciate in value, Barrett-Jackson endorsed Collector Car Insurance provides built-in protection that extends the coverage up to 150 percent of the agreed value, with a zero-dollar deductible. “This definitely is the kind of policy that protects an investment,” Kilgras said.
Offering collector car insurance endorsed by Barrett-Jackson was an outgrowth of Barrett-Jackson’s customer service orientation. Kilgras said the program was derived from customers’ feedback and frequent reports of their confusion with auto insurance. “We set out to change that,” said Kilgras, and since partnering with “the best folks in the industry” the ease of one-stop insurance shopping has caught on with Barrett- Jackson customers. At each auction, just outside the cashier’s office, are insurance agents from TDC Risk Management, the dedicated servicing agency for Barrett-Jackson Endorsed Insurance, who provide owners with on-the-spot quotes at competitive rates. In addition, each owner receives a complimentary keepsake photo of their car on the auction block.
TRANSPORTING YOUR PRECIOUS CARGO
The last responsibility the new owner needs to take care of ultimately leads to the best part, physical possession of the car. Locating a safe, secure and reputable transport company is crucial. Again, Barrett-Jackson’s customer service orientation makes this selection very easy for new owners. Representatives from Reliable Carriers, Intercity Lines and TFX supply quotes and arrange vehicle transportation — all from their booths near the cashier’s office. The three companies are very competitive, and owners can shop all of them, if they wish, before selecting one.
The transport companies must remove vehicles from the auction grounds by the deadline, but this shouldn’t pose a problem. After transport companies deliver vehicles to the auction, drivers and trucks wait on stand-by in the area until dispatch orders come in.
Then the companies begin to synchronize and load their trucks with the newly purchased vehicles for delivery to various parts of the country.
As the transporters remove cars from the auction grounds, Barrett-Jackson records the transport release. If an owner opts to remove a vehicle from the auction grounds without hiring a transport company, he/she will need to prove vehicle ownership to auction staff. However, the majority of owners rely on the services of transport companies.
Assisted by satellite tracking and geo-location devices, transport companies are able to provide an additional level of security for vehicle owners to assure that the collectible vehicle arrives at its new home safe and sound. There, the “road to sold” will end with a collectible car, a victory celebration and a proud new owner.