No one could blame Russo and Steele founder Drew Alcazar if he would have been in no mood for fun. Expecially on the heels of a much-publicized legal go in 2007, in which he battled cross-town auction rival Craig Jackson, head of Barrett-Jackson Auctions, over who would have use of the property in 2008, on which Alcazar had held his previous seven Scottsdale auctions. But the unflappable Alcazar would have none of it, eventually gaining land-use rights for the next three years. Setting the tone for the four days of fun that would ensue, Alcazar, in his pre-auction pep talk to the gathered audience, jokingly referred to his recent legal wranglings as his and Craig Jackson’s “summer of love.”
The real admiration is evident in the chemistry that has been forged over the years between Alcazar and his assembled auction staff of callers and ring personnel. While the goal is to sell collector vehicles, this staff does that well while keeping the energy level up and having genuine fun working together and for Alcazar. This all helps to keep those in attendance jazzed and the focus on the vehicles on the auction floor, and makes Russo and Steele’s auction in the desert – which Alcazar refers to as erecting Shangri-La for a weekend – a go-to sale during a weekend that sports four other auction choices.
For his eighth Scottsdale event, Alcazar continued his four-day format, Jan. 17-20. During that span, 525 collector vehicles were offered for sale, with 262 being declared sold and another 32 having selling deals put together in the post-block area. This equates to a 56.3 percent sell-through rating.
Total sales revenue, according to Alcazar was just under the $20 million mark. “I’m extremely pleased with the results,” Alcazar told Old Cars Weekly. “It’s solidly in the W[in] column”
Alcazar admitted that with the current economy jitters, “We were prepared for a much more conservative market.” He said his 2007 Scottsdale sale reaped just over $20 million, so to end near the same revenue level was a sign the old car hobby “is healthy and happy.”
This positive step just out of the 2008 gate is also important to Alcazar for another reason. “It’s important for Russo and Steele to not be seen as retracting in 2008,” he stressed. This first sale will build momentum for Alcazar’s next and inaugural auction to be held in March in Hollywood, Fla. Alcazar also gave an exclusive mention to Old Cars Weekly that he is planning on adding a fourth auction to his yearly slate that now includes Scottsdale, Florida and Monterey, Calif., in either 2009 or ’10. While he said it was too early to disclose where this new auction will take place, Alcazar hinted that its geographic location would be in a part of the country not now served by Russo and Steele, and the sale would definitely be an added feature to an already existing event at that site.
The top sellers at Russo and Steele Scottsdale in 2008 support the sports car and muscle machine categories that Alcazar centers his sales around. High sale honors went to a 1969 Chevy Corvette coupe powered by the rare L88 427-cid V-8 that commanded $375,000. This was followed by a Hemi-powered ’71 Plymouth ’Cuda hardtop at $360,000, ’69 Chevy Yenko Chevelle hardtop at $310,000, ’71 Ferrari 365GTB Daytona coupe at $290,000 and ’66 Lamborghini 350GT Alloy coupe at $258,000.
For those who unable to attend the Russo and Steele auction in Scottsdale, the ESPN network was on-hand to film the sale for broadcast. Alcazar said the broadcasts of his Scottsdale sale will be comprised of 20 episodes that will begin airing sometime in March on ESPN2. Those episodes will be titled “Russo and Steele Sports and Muscle in Scottsdale.”