DRIFTING THE NIGHT AWAY: A 50 Facts & Favorite Memories Feature

Credit: Original article published by Barrett-Jackson.

 

World Champion drifter Vaughn Gittin Jr. took a wild ride around the Scottsdale auction site at WestWorld in 2017.

 

To mark Barrett-Jackson’s half-century in business, in this special series we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite moments from the past 50 years – as well as some little-known facts about The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions.

 

Rhys Millen tore up the streets of Reno, Nevada, in the wee hours of the morning for a Barrett-Jackson drifting stunt.

It’s little more than controlled chaos, a visually stunning spectacle where the limits of adhesion are put through their paces. Fuel is turned to sound, rubber to smoke and smiles are everywhere. We’re of course talking about drifting, a sport that began on the mountain roads of Japan and has since redefined the meaning of car control.

The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions is no stranger to the world of power oversteer, clutch kicks and hard pulls of the hand brake. Drifting has become a staple of the Barrett-Jackson experience in more ways than one. In celebration of the 2015 auction in Reno, Nevada, professional race and stunt driver Rhys Millen laced up his gloves and, in the wee hours of the morning, those sleeping in the downtown area were abruptly awakened by the sound of 707 supercharged horses. The streets of Reno have never been the same.

Millen delivered the Barrett-Jackson Cup to its display pedestal in the heart of Reno in August 2015.

Piloting a Pennzoil-sponsored Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat through the city, Millen drifted past several iconic Reno landmarks before sliding to a stop at the intersection of 4th and Virginia streets, where he delivered the Barrett-Jackson Cup trophy to its display pedestal in the most elaborate way possible. “I was excited when Shell Pennzoil asked me to be part of Barrett-Jackson,” said Millen. “Drifting through the streets of Reno to deliver the Barrett-Jackson Cup and being a part of the excitement was a huge thrill for me.”

The reaction to the drifting stunt in Reno got Barrett-Jackson and Shell Pennzoil thinking: What if we could do something like that again, but bigger?

Vaughn Gittin Jr. during the filming of “No Reserve Drifting” in January 2017 at WestWorld in Scottsdale.

That answer came in January 2017 with the film “No Reserve Drifting,” which was shot on-site in Arizona at WestWorld, the longtime site of Barrett-Jackson’s flagship Scottsdale Auction.

Two-time Formula Drift Champion and professional “fun-haver” Vaughn Gittin Jr. teamed with Barrett-Jackson and Shell Pennzoil to turn the 74-acre site into the ultimate driver’s playground. Gittin masterfully piloted his Ford Mustang RTR through a series of harrowing hairpin turns and calculated donuts inside and outside of the auction tents, demonstrating his natural dexterity behind the wheel. A total of eight cameras, including a drone shooting aerial footage, captured the excitement on the ground.

Vaughn Gittin Jr. and Craig Jackson after the drifting stunt at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson even got in on the action, driving his Bugatti Veyron into the empty auction arena at one point, which Gittin Jr. happily used as an obstacle before getting Jackson to ride shotgun in the Mustang RTR. “It was an absolute blast filming ‘No Reserve Drifting’ together with Pennzoil and Vaughn,” said Jackson. “Vaughn’s driving skills are incredibly impressive. It was a real show to watch him navigate, drift and spin through our massive auction site.”

What’s more, at the 2020 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, Formula Drift driver Ken Gushi took a few lucky fans for some sideways action around the Barrett-Jackson Performance Track in the Toyota Supra. Drifting is a part of the Barrett-Jackson experience and will continue to be well into the future.

Check out the videos of these exciting Barrett-Jackson drifting adventures below!