Look out SEMA, there's a new car show in Vegas.
Who'll give me $15,000 for this beautifully restored 1968 Pontiac Firebird? I've got $15,000, do I hear $16,000? Yes, do I hear $17,000?
The Barrett-Jackson auto auction can't be compared with the Specialty Equipment Market Association show that brings 120,000 attendees to the Las Vegas Convention Center every year, but the three-day auction at Mandalay Bay Convention Center is open to the public and is expected to draw about 50,000 car enthusiasts from around the nation and Canada.
Try not to salivate on the 1953 Aston Martin DB2/4 Allemano displayed in the Blackhawk Collection. You don't want to have to buy it for $1.8 million. Be careful around the 1982 Rolls-Royce Camargue. It's priced at $600,000.
And if you touch the 1967 Corvette convertible belonging to actor Bruce Willis, star of the "Die Hard" movies, well, you know what will happen to your hands.
Not everyone's here to bid on the 400 classic and collectible cars. It's a show, like any other show in Las Vegas, said Tracee Barnason, who came to the auction from Nebraska.
"You see it on TV. We wanted to make sure it was real," Barnason said Thursday while touring exhibit booths on the convention center floor with her niece, who's celebrating her 21st birthday in Las Vegas. "It's something I'd never done. It was on my bucket list."
Barnason had already watched the live auction inside the Mandalay Bay Events Center for a while, but found it boring, like any other auction in which you're not involved.
"I didn't see anything that tripped my trigger," she said.
More interesting, Barnason found, was the display for Aria resort and casino at CityCenter, which she had seen under construction on the Strip. She wanted to know when it would open, how many rooms it has and details about the residential component.
Melanie Lundstrom said she can go to plenty of car shows in her home state of Iowa, but not like this one. She's also been to the larger, five-day Barrett-Jackson auction in Phoenix.
"We've always watched it on Speed (channel), but you don't know what it's like until you experience it," Lundstrom said in the auction showroom, where all of the cars and trucks to be sold were on display.
Moving all of the vehicles indoors was the biggest improvement from last year's inaugural auction, Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis said; the layout change brings all of the cars, vendors and corporate displays into the same area.
The southeast parking lot at Mandalay Bay Convention Center is set up with a Porsche ride-and-drive track that's open to the public at no charge and demonstration track for Ford Motor's "drifting" team.
"Barrett-Jackson is different from other car shows because we appeal to virtually all demographic groups," Davis said. "Male, female, young, old, rich, not-so-rich. There's something for everybody."
Along with the cars and trucks, there are boots, hats, fashions, jewelry, art, drill bits.
Randy Block, salesman for Friendly Ford in Las Vegas, said Barrett-Jackson is more than an auction.
"It's an excellent car show," Block said at Friendly Ford's exhibit of Shelby Mustangs. "There's so much to do here. It's fantastic exposure for our product. You can't walk around and not see a Ford sign around here."
The auction runs through Saturday. Single-day tickets are sold on site for $15. Complete auction results are online at http://www.barrett-jackson.com
Contact reporter Hubble Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0491.