Steve Davis’ dark glasses protect his eyes from A light sensitivity condition – but that doesn’t hinder his vision of the collector car market.
Muscle cars have been on my mind a lot lately. Of course, muscle cars have been a major part of the Barrett-Jackson experience for as long as I’ve been a part of it, but in recent months I’ve had the feeling we’ve come full circle in many ways, and the end of an era is at hand.
What kicked off these thoughts was a recent vehicle introduction. My wife Janie and I were among a select group of people invited to a private, pre-press unveiling of the 2025 Ford Mustang GTD. If you haven’t seen it yet, the GTD is a road-going version of the GT3 competition car that Ford is building for international FIA GT3 competition.
Top Ford executives and racing drivers were on hand for the introduction, as was Craig Jackson and his wife Carolyn. I was surrounded by people with whom I’ve had long-standing relationships, and to be a part of that group – to be privileged to be a part of that historic moment – is an experience I’ll always treasure.
This GTD is absolutely spectacular. It’s just unbelievable. They’ve taken the Mustang we know and love, and they haven’t just raised the bar, they’ve taken it to the stratosphere. (The car’s color at the intro was reminiscent of Brittany Blue – the same color as the treasured Fords and Shelbys I own – like it was sending me a secret message!)
The GTD has a 5.2-liter supercharged V8 with an expected 800 horsepower, rear-mounted 8-speed transaxle for a 50-50 weight distribution, and a wide body primarily made of carbon fiber. They had cutaways on display before they unveiled the car, and the active suspension was like something from a science fiction film.
It was incredible. As I was looking at this 7th-generation Mustang, it took me back to my memories of the 1965 Shelby GT350, and how amazing that car was at the time. As a kid, I lived and breathed all things automotive, and watched the proliferation of muscle cars, which had a feel similar to the new developments we’re seeing now. One manufacturer would come out with this incredible car, and then another manufacturer would top it with their newest offering.
Fast-forward from being that wide-eyed kid to that moment when they unveiled that GTD. All these thoughts rushed through my head like a dam breaking as they pulled the cover off that GTD. Who in the world would have ever expected something like that?
With today’s muscle cars, we’re reliving the 1960s on steroids. It’s a fantasy land of incredible cars. The golden era, in my opinion, will always be the 1960s, because that’s when it all started. But today’s muscle cars operate on an entirely different level, and we have seen the entire evolution cross the Barrett-Jackson stage, which is especially reflected in the “first and lasts.”
I’ll never forget when the first-production 2007 Ford Shelby GT500, VIN 001, crossed our block. Following that we had first editions of several other Shelbys and Mustangs, from the first GT500KR in 2008 all the way to the next-generation 2020 GT500, and VIN 001 of the reborn 2021 Mach 1. We had the first-production 2015 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat with its 707 horsepower – at the time the most powerful muscle car ever – at the 2014 Las Vegas Auction, and then witnessed the end of the Challenger era, with a “Last Call” 2023 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon 170 selling during the 2023 Las Vegas Auction. We’ve seen reborn classic nameplates like the COPO Camaro and ZR1 Corvette sold at Barrett-Jackson. My thoughts about the Ford GT supercar and how amazing it is that a car like that ever saw the light of day could fill a book.
The bittersweet part of this whole thing is we know this is the last gasp of fossil-fuel muscle cars. It’s absolutely certain this is the end of that era. I’m sure there will be some more cool stuff coming – there always is – but from a fossil-fuel standpoint, that’s what makes this time so special. Seeing what Ford is unleashing with the Mustang GTD, the internal combustion V8 muscle car is not going out with a whimper but with a mighty roar.
This progression of the American muscle car has happened in real time on Barrett-Jackson’s stage. No longer do you have to be an industry insider to have a front-row seat to view the rarest and most powerful muscle cars. We’ve created a platform that allows us to showcase these cars in a way that really impacts the culture because we are doing this before millions of people, between our television broadcasts, our streaming and our social media reach. Impacting people in a positive way is so profoundly significant to me at this stage of my life and my career. It’s a moment in time that I will cherish, knowing that people will look back on these times in a historical context and reflect, “Remember when that happened at Barrett-Jackson?”
Just when you think it’s the pinnacle – that it can’t get any better – it does!
— STEVE DAVIS
This progression of the American muscle car has happened in real time on Barrett-Jackson’s stage. Just when you think it’s the pinnacle – that it can’t get any better – it does!