It seems the season of giving ended a little later than usual if the recent numbers coming out of the various auto auctions are any indicator. One of the most recent examples is the VIN number 001 C8 Corvette that was auctioned off at the Barrett-Jackson event in Scottsdale, Arizona.
To say that there has been some excitement around the all-new, mid-engine Corvette would be like saying the Titanic had a water-intrusion problem. With the start of a new decade, C8 Corvettes bring an all-new platform upon which GM is planning to build its newest supercar. Also considering that the car bearing VIN number 001 will also be the FIRST mid-engine Corvette in production and that it was being offered with the funds going for charity and you’ve got the perfect storm for a power-packed, prime-time fund-raiser, dead-set in the middle of the big tent at Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale extravaganza.
Of course, you need buyers, preferably two or more, which doesn’t seem to be a problem for the auction company. The goal of every auction is for one bidder to come out on top, and sometimes, the tip of that mountain can get pretty high. The “VIN 001” C8 Corvette is one great example. Beyond the car’s low VIN, this car was also decked out with “all the options”, which would increase the value of ANY car of any age. Everyone knew that this car was special. But we all waited on bated breath to see exactly HOW special it would become.
When General Motors first announced that the mid-engine Corvette pricing would start at “under $60,000”, you could hear the world gasp in amazement. Clearly, GM had gone to great lengths to keep the starting price of their newest supercar will within the realm of the common man. Clearly, that marketing plan doesn’t apply if you wear the world’s lowest VIN number and you’re dancing under the hot lights at Barrett-Jackson.
Not wasting any time within the hopes and dreams of mere mortals, the bidding on this car started at $250,000 and the very next bid doubled that asking price. From there, the sky was the limit and this car seemed to reach for it, growing into millions faster than an Arab sheik’s grandson. Bidding swiped through the first and second million so fast, it was as if they swapped currency and bidding continued using the Iranian Rial (one of the world’s lowest value currency) as the standard exchange rate.
A Milestone Realized
Somewhere around $2.8-million dollars, bidding for a car that hasn’t even been produced yet reached its saturation point. In moments like these, the large auction houses appear more like the wild west than a marketplace. Two bidders, hands ready and wallets at their side, stare down the competition in anticipation the other will flinch while everyone else takes in the show and awaits the moment one bidder hits the floor. Of course, in this case, bankrolls have replaced bullets and one of the main players has one of the largest around his belt.
Rick Hendrick has a Corvette collection (insert Titanic’s main flaw here) and he likes to add low-VIN’d vehicles to it regularly. He’s been in the bidding for this car from the beginning, and by the look on his face, any other bidder is simply an obstacle keeping him from signing the paperwork. He’s won various bids at Barrett-Jackson’s auction before and everyone in the room knew that Rick had his eyes on putting the first retail Corvette in his garage. But like everyone else in the room, he’s never even set eyes on the vehicle he’ll be getting.
It bears noting that the Torch Red example that did all of the dancing is NOT the car that will wear the official “001” title. According to Barrett-Jackson’s website, “The car shown and crossing the auction block is representative of the actual vehicle the winning bidder will receive, which will be a black-on-black, Corvette 3LT, loaded with every available option…” The listing goes on to explain that the car is scheduled to be built during the first quarter of 2020.
Even with Corvette’s starting MSRP hovering one hamburger under $60,000, the price will go up pretty rapidly when you describe the finished product as “loaded with every option.” We thought it would be interesting to see what that means in dollars and sense, and headed over to Chevrolet’s “Build & Price” configurator to get a better idea.
There are several options that overlap and personal preference will dictate which option actually gets the checkbox, but we went with a more moderate build, foregoing the racing stripes and other flashy garbs that could start to clutter up a classy configuration. We’re not saying our tastes match those of any particular billionaire, but since we were the ones clicking the buttons, I guess you could say we informed them of what was on their plate for this particular meal. They’re billionaires, they don’t have to eat it.
We understand the Torch Red shows up really well on Barrett-Jackson’s black stage, but for Rick’s car, we ditch the red hue for an all-black backdrop. Another big building block that brings a lot to the package is adding the Z51 package. With one-click, the Z51 option brings Brembo brakes, the performance exhaust, a rear spoiler, and a more performance-oriented differential.
Beyond that, we figured there would be a few things that Rick wouldn’t be caught dead without, while sitting in the car, deep within his collection. Items like the carbon fiber ground effects and red-painted calipers bring a certain flash to the build, while the dual roof option and Magnetic Selective Ride Control give him options to enjoy.
Because this car is likely not going to see a lot of driving, we thought it wise to invest in the battery protection option as well. And hey, if it does head out on the open highway, that front-end lift is going to come in handy! If it doesn’t, then the $460 we spent (of Rick’s money) for the indoor car cover is money well spent.
We also thought that with Rick’s previous relationship with the National Corvette Museum, he wouldn’t mind if we asked him to head over there to pick it up through their R8C Delivery package. For $995, the customer receives a one-year individual membership to the NCM, a unique gold decal on the inside of the driver’s door jamb, and a commemorative wall plaque with the customer’s name, date of delivery and VIN.
Once the calculator stopped spinning, our “Under $60K” car wound up costing ONLY $95,480, a savings of $2,904,520 had Rick waited to pick up a higher-numbered version from one of his dealerships directly. Of course, then a great charity would not have received any of the benefits. Thankfully, the entire hammer price of this sale will benefit the Detroit Children’s Fund – a non-profit organization that makes targeted investments to grow the number of quality schools in Detroit.
As it stands, the auction made for great prime-time viewing for millions and it brought in millions for a worthy cause in Chevrolet’s home town. There is only one “number one” and we know that it will go to a good home. For the rest of us, we’ll have to settle for a less coveted number, but then again, we’ll also be saving almost three MILLION dollars in the process, and THAT’s a number that really matters to most Corvette buyers’ wallets!