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2005 BARRETT-JACKSON PALM BEACH COLLECTOR CAR AUCTION “SOARS” TO NEW HEIGHTS

The 3rd Annual Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector Car Auction, presented by Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep, will be held at the South Florida Expo Center in West Palm Beach from March 31 – April 3, 2005. SPEED Channel will again provide coverage of the exciting three-day event, which features more than 450 of the world’s finest classic, collector, sports, special interest and collectible cars, representing nearly 100 years of automotive innovation. The event will launch with a sensational Opening Night Gala on March 31 from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. to benefit the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). John Walsh, founder of the NCMEC and host of “America's Most Wanted” will be on hand for the festivities.

Additional highlights of the 2005 event will include a “no-reserve” Automobilia Auction and an Automobile and Lifestyle Expo featuring over 100 exhibitors. Several classic and special interests cars have already been consigned for the auction block, including what promises to be the star of the show: a one-of-a-kind, 1953 Buick Roadmaster owned by the legendary motion-picture mogul and “Aviator,” Howard Hughes. The vehicle is in mint condition with all of its unusual, original interior features and appointments, including Hughes’ California license plate and registration tags.

There are also some unusual “extras” that Hughes added to suit his eccentric, germophobic lifestyle. He customized the car with aircraft electrical systems and redesigned the air system to circulate through a dust trap and bacterial filter mounted in the trunk of the car. Hughes’ car is expected to generate intense bidding action, especially with the renewed international interest in Hughes’ life following the success of the movie “The Aviator,” which earned Golden Globe awards and is expected to be a significant Academy Award contender.

Other cars consigned early for the 2005 auction include nine unique cars, direct from General Motors, offered at “No Reserve.” These include the 2003 Le Mans Pace Car; the 2003 Le Mans Safety Car; the 2004 Daytona 500 Pace Car; and a 1966 and 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. Connoisseurs can also expect to see the very best resto-mods, hot rods, American muscle cars, European sports cars and other beautiful collectibles.

“Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach auction has grown at an extraordinary rate over the past two years, attracting some of the world’s finest vehicles and generating top dollar bids,” said Craig Jackson, President of the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction. “Our success is attributed to the excitement, quality and innovation that our brand brings to the collector car industry, combined with the allure and prestige of Palm Beach as an international destination for connoisseurs of every kind. We continue to build on our momentum by expanding the auction and expo, and adding unique elements like the sale of Howard Hughes’ car and other rare vehicles. The entire event is a great opportunity for serious collectors and the general public to celebrate the automobile and the lifestyle and culture that come with it.”

Last year’s Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Auction, sponsored by Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep, attracted over 40,000 visitors and generated nearly double the sales of the previous year, with 302 cars sold for $11.8 million. An impressive 88 percent of the total number of cars consigned were sold, including $302,400 for a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Couple; $190,080 for a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300S Cabriolet; $167,400 for a 2000 Bentley Arnage Red Label Sedan consigned by actor Bruce Willis; and $167,400 for “Christine,” the famous 1958 Plymouth Fury featured in the John Carpenter movie of the same name. Car collectors were also given the opportunity to purchase vehicles direct from General Motors, including a 1998 Chevrolet Corvette Indianapolis 500 Pace Car driven by the 1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones; a 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car driven by legendary pilot Chuck Yeager; and the 2002 Pontiac Firebird Daytona Pace Car driven by Tonight Show host Jay Leno.