0 Barrett Jackson WPB 2017 LeadIf you have only watched auto auctions on television, you are really missing out. Seeing the cars cross the block is definitely cool, but there is a cornucopia of automotive eye candy elsewhere on the property, which is why we took a trip to Palm Beach.

When it comes to the well-known Barrett-Jackson auctions, the scene on the stage and beyond is like an automotive carnival. There are food vendors, manufacturer displays and even ride and drive experiences put on by the big three auto manufacturers. Moreover, all the cars up for sale are on display under tents and manyof the manufacturer displays included vehicles and many of those were Fords.

If you ever wanted to check out the latest Fords — particularly the Ford Performance variants — in a low-pressure environment, the Barrett-Jackson events feature robust displays of all the new hardware.

Ford is actively involved in supporting the Barrett-Jackson events and often auctions special vehicles, particularly at the granddaddy event in Scottsdale, Arizona. However, in Palm Beach, Fords have long been a draw for bidders.

“After a Boss 429 ended up as the top seller at our 2016 Palm Beach auction, I’m excited to have another fine example among the great lineup of Fords this year,” Craig Jackson, chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson, said before the event. “Not only do we have many historic Fords crossing our auction block in Florida, but Ford is also bringing their all-new 2018 Ford Mustang and Expedition to showcase in their display.”

A wide variety of intriguing Ford vehicles lined up to cross the auction block at Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach.

This year there were numerous high-profile Fords up for sale and a pair of them brought in over $200,000. Former NFL star receiver Reggie Wayne sold his 545-cube Pro Touring ’Stang for $206,800, while late actor Lee Marvin’s 1968 Shelby GT500KR brought down the gavel at $220,000.

While the rare and famous cars were definitely cool, we canvassed the entire South Florida Fairgrounds to track down all manner of great Fords that were up for auction or simply on display. These auctions are truly some of the best car shows you can attend and it appears this year’s edition prospered.

While Coyote swaps seem are all the rage these days, you can’t go wrong with a mod-motor swap. This ’69 Mustang restomod sold for the reasonable amount of $49,500. It is powered by a Teskid-block, Four-Valve 4.6-liter engine.

“The success of this year’s automotive lifestyle event reinforces that people continue to come to Palm Beach to consign and buy world-class collector cars and automobilia,” Steve Davis, president of Barrett-Jackson, said. “We’re grateful for the wonderful reception we received in Palm Beach and we look forward to building on our momentum this June during our Northeast Auction.”

Our 15th Annual Palm Beach Auction was an incredible follow-up to Scottsdale. — Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson

If you have never been to one of these events, we highly recommend doing so. The next Barrett-Jackson extravaganza rolls into the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, on June 21. For more information, you can visit the official event site here.

Long a favorite of this scribe, the Shelby GT500KR was an amazing machine in its day. This black 2009 only had 35 miles on the clock and all the stickers still in place. It sold for $71,500.

As fans of more modern Ford performance vehicles, we have always enjoyed the special variants that Ford produced. In the day, the 1996 Mustang with Mystic paint was a rare and desirable machine. This one had a over 40,000 miles on the odo and an accident on its record, so it sold for only $6,600.

Ford found this 6.7-liter Powerstroke neglected in a Texas oil field. It survived 139,000 miles without an oil change! To show that it’s still ready for more, Bobby Gumm tears it down and puts it back together at events across the country to show people what it still looks like inside. We just missed seeing the internals, which would have been cool.

We spotted this car at last year’s SEMA Show, but didn’t get a peek under the hood. Spearheaded by actor Sung Kang, who appeared in Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift, this clean Maverick is powered by a 2.3-liter EcoBoost engine from a modern Mustang.

A big draw of the Palm Beach edition of the Barrett-Jackson auction was the appearance of the 2018 Mustang GT convertible. Stay tuned for our full reaction to this car as well as our conversation with Ford Performance marketing guru Jim Owens about the latest Mustang.

The manufacturer displays featured a who’s who of aftermarket tuner Mustangs including this striking Petty Edition from Petty’s Garage.

Another impressive display was the full complement of Roush vehicles. We know the Mustangs well, but the F-150 was the big hit in Palm Beach. Every time the Roush team started the truck, the rumbling exhaust lured in throngs of onlookers.

We participated in both the Ford Performance Ride & Drive experiences by riding shotgun in the Focus RS, which was just as much fun as we remembered it from the Ford Performance Racing School, whose instructors do the driving at the Barrett events.

We also rode in the Roush Stage 3 Mustang with the company’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, Nick Shafer. This is a man who clearly knows his product. After taking a couple warm-up laps, he gave us a few tours of the short track, drifting around the big corner as the tires squealed to put down that 670 horsepower. If you attend one of these events, you have to take this ride!

Designed and built by students at the Jordan Vocational High School, this 1996 Mustang won the 2016 Quaker State Best in Class competition and it sold for $50,000. Those proceeds will benefit the school.

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