Barrett-Jackson achieved record sales of $49.1 million.
A quick perusal of contemporary American vehicles will show you that, among a sea of dreary crossovers and SUVs, there are a few world-beating gems. The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is a fine example and so too is the Mustang Shelby GT500. However, there's no denying that as a whole, we're a far cry from America's automotive heyday.
The '60s and '70s were truly a great time, an era where muscle cars such as the wonderfully outlandish Plymouth Superbird reigned supreme. There's plenty of nostalgia around these rarities, which is why it comes as no surprise that one example sold for a record-breaking $1.65 million at Barrett-Jackson's latest auction this past weekend.
The famed auction house celebrated the 4th of July weekend with extraordinary sales; 663 no reserve vehicles went under the hammer for a total of $48.2 million. Together with memorabilia, a total of $49.1 million represents a record for a Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction.
But let's get back to the incredible Superbird for a moment. The 1970 example is reportedly one of 135 Hemi-engined examples to leave the factory and has benefitted from professional restoration. This is reflected in the glorious Tor Red paintwork, which underlines this rarity's brute performance.
The numbers-matching 7.0-liter V8 is mated to an automatic transmission while, underneath, you'll find Hemi suspension with stiffer shocks. Collectors will be pleased to know this beauty retains its original aero nose and hood scoops, among other things. Of course, it wasn't the only American legend to hit the auction block over the weekend. The menacing 1971 Plymouth Hemi 'Cuda seen below also fetched big bucks.
$550,000 is an obscene amount of money, but this example is particularly rare. Fitted with a four-speed manual 'box, it's just one of 59 to leave the factory with three pedals. It's also gone through an extensive restoration and still boasts its original fender tag and build sheet.
The 'Cuda was the third most expensive vehicle at the auction, pipped only by the Superbird and the split-window Corvette Z06, seen here in silver. Someone paid an eye-watering $566,500 for this Chevrolet, arguably one of the most beautiful American cars ever to grace our roads. It's got quite an interesting back story; Barrett-Jackson notes the Corvette spent most of its life in storage before it was found and treated to a body-off restoration in 2019.
Equipped with the 360-horsepower fuel-injected motor (part of the Z06 package) this 1-of-199 Corvettes is truly a special classic. Other noteworthy sales include a 2009 $335,500 SL65 Black Series and a 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Custom Convertible, at $385,000.
"The depth, breadth, and quality of our docket, especially muscle cars, hot rods, and Resto-Mods, was among the best we've ever offered in Las Vegas...American Hemi muscle appropriately led the charge this holiday weekend," said Barrett-Jackson president, Steve Davis.