Barrett-Jackson $5 Million Dollar Record and Tort Reform

Barrett-Jackson $5 Million Dollar Record and Tort Reform

Last night I was fascinated to watch, on television, bidding on a car which set a thirty six year record for the most money ever paid for an auctioned car at the Scottsdale, Arizona Barrett Jackson Barrett_jackson Classic Car Auction. The bidding for the 1966 Cobra began high and rapidly climbed to $1 million. As other bidders dropped out only two bidders competed against each other. One was seated close behind the other and as the numbers grew in size, the bidding became heated. Back and forth, the bidding grew larger and larger in amount, until all of the thousands of people in the enormous auction tent were standing, with the roar of the crowd growing with the increasing amounts bid. The auctioneer Tom "Spanky" Assiter sang out the spiel of great auctioneers encouraging the two bidders to continue to compete against each other for this one of a kind auto.

From $1 million to $1.5 to $1.750 to $2 million, the bids increased in a matter of minutes. A $2 million bid soon rose to $3 million, in $200,000 jumps. Sometimes one of the bidders would wait until just before the hammer fell and then increase the bid to a new level just in time, until the bidding reached a record $5 million dollars and the tension built to see if the bidding would continue as the low bidder pondered, but finally dropped out. The hammer fell setting a 36 year record for the amount paid for a car at this auction – $5 million dollars. Sold to car collector Ron Pratt of Chandler, Arizona.

Pratt set the previous record last year, at this auction, when he paid $4.2 million for a Futureliner bus used in the 1940’s and 1950’s by General Motors as part of a traveling show. Pratt owns a world class collection of rare and unique vehicles in Chandler. Last years auction drew 225,000 people and resulted in total sales of over $100 million dollars.

Cobra_super_snake The car he bought is a blue 1966 Shelby Cobra "Super Snake" – a 427 supercharged 800 horsepower V8 dark blue car. It was one of only two Super Snake Cobras built by 84 year old Carroll Shelby and one of only twenty three competition roadsters he built. Shelby is a legendary auto racer and car builder whose cars are sought after collection items.

My question is: what do the advocates for tort reform and capping damages injured people can recover think about this auction? If a car has a value of $5 million dollars in today’s real world, how do you justify a $250,000 limitation on the right of a paralyzed or brain injured person to adequate justice due to a defective product? Lets face it, George Bush, with the help of Karl Rove was elected governor of Texas on a campaign of tort reform and continued his campaign right into the white house. Why tort reform? Because Rove, who had been a consultant to Phillip Morris Tobacco, could raise millions from industry giants and big business for a candidate who was willing to deny justice to ordinary Americans injured by corporate negligence or indifference. There is no logic to any of the limitations tort reform advocates push. It is purely a matter of saving money. After all it’s just a matter of business. Just like the movie Godfather put it so well: "Even the hit on your father was business, not personal, Sunny."

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