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Public Car Auction In America

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One of the most notable public car auctions is the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction. Started in 1960, the most recent event hosted by Barrett-Jackson saw over 4,500 registered bidders from 14 different countries in attendance. Barrett-Jackson auctions are held twice a year - Scottsdale, Arizona and Palm Beach, Florida. It is more common to see very rare collectable cars at the Barrett-Jackson auctions. A potential buyer would see vehicles such as Carroll Shelby's personal vehicle - 1966 Shelby Cobra 472 S/C "Supersnake" - on the auction block. It sold for 5 million.

Public car auctions are held all over the country. While most are free, some do require a minimal entry fee to help pay for the venue rental. There are also all types of car auctions that are open to the public. Vehicles impounded by the police, cheap cars, used cars and even narrowed down to the country of origin or brand are a few types of public car auctions.


Many reasons exist for the owner of a vehicle to sell it at an auction regardless of whether it is collectable. They could need the money or they may not have the space to store the vehicle anymore. At car auctions, some sellers choose to put an undisclosed minimum bid on their vehicle. This means that if there are no bids either at or higher than that asking price, the vehicle remains the property of the seller.

Charity Auctions are another type of public car auction. Cars are donated to the auction block. Yes, that means the generous owner who donated doesn't get any money in return for their vehicle. Depending on state rules about charity car auctions, a former vehicle owner may receive a tax receipt. All money made from these auctions are donated to a charity - usually a local one.

Usually held on a weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), public car auctions are a great place to visit, especially if a certain style or two is one is interested in. A peruser of the public auction block can never be sure of what will be found. Every now and then, regardless of make, model, year or rarity, a unsuspecting buyer can hit the jackpot, paying far less than expected. It all depends on the interest of other potential buyers.

Depending on what cars are to be featured on the auction block, most cities and towns hold public car auctions once every couple of months. Some, such as Interstate Auto Auction in Salem, New Hampshire, hold them twice a week. For those interested in checking out a public car auction or two nearby, it is important to keep their eyes and ears open. Regardless of how often held, these public auctions are typically advertised in the local newspaper and on the local radio stations for a number of weeks beforehand. The venue where the auction is to be held often has a sign out front advertising too.

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