'1980s vehicles across the board are on the up!' says Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson as collector car auction week begins in Scottsdale, Arizona

‘The market is very strong at the moment,’ opines Craig Jackson, CEO of Barrett-Jackson, at the beginning of the Scottsdale auction week, dominated by the company set up by his father and which he has run since 1995.

‘We’re seeing the strength of the market in the bidding and the quality of the cars offered for our sales. Many of the car owners were sitting on the sidelines while the market was uncertain, waiting for the best time to sell, but now they’re back. It looks very similar to 2007.

‘American muscle cars came back very strong in 2017, and Generation Xers came into the market. We all saw a flattening out of Ferraris but 1980s vehicles across the board – Foxbody Mustang, Firebird GTA, Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am etc – are all on the way up. But we’re also selling a lot of sport utilities, like the Bronco. It started with 1980s pick-up trucks, and there’s still a very high appreciation of those.

‘What did you dream of in your youth? That’s what it’s all about, so it keeps on moving. The hot rods, the resto mods – we were early adopters of those. All the big car guys have a hot rod, and resto mods are popular with the guys who really love driving – that whole segment is growing.

‘But look at almost every segment and it’s growing. The Japanese cars are getting very collectible, and some cars that we didn’t think were great cars at the time have been re-evaluated – think of the 1980s [Buick] Monte Carlos. Cars like that are bringing in the younger collectors, and the list keeps growing: IROCs, Z28s, early ZR-1s. They weren’t high horsepower but they had great graphics, and now enthusiasts want them again.

‘Out of 1757 cars at our Scottsdale sale only 20 have a reserve price. The market dictates the price. We have a 16,000-capacity arena packed to the rafters, you get 5000 bidders, it’s on TV worldwide. A car is going to sell for the right price!

‘We are an automotive lifestyle, we bring a lot of new people in. Saturday afternoon and evening is going to really rock. We have the Salon sale [Barrett-Jackson’s sale of the very best cars], we have four great charity cars, it will be jam-packed.

‘Our first Salon sale was in 2012, but it’s a lot broader now than it was then. Initially it was almost all pre-war cars. Now we’re getting the best of the best muscle cars, one-off Shelbys, most winningest GT350, Talbot Lago Soathchek, even modern supercars.

‘It will be interesting to see what the Ford GT goes for. This will be the first public auction of a new GT. There’s a two-year lock-out [on selling them] but this is a charity auction.’

Watch the sales live on the Barrett-Jackson website or via Discovery and Velocity channels.