What do you get when you combine a giant car show with a collector-car auction? Hot August Nights (HAN) and the Barrett-Jackson Auction, held in Reno, Nevada. This is the 29th year for HAN, and it continues to be one of the busiest events for car enthusiasts. Thousands of top vehicles and their owners flock to the biggest little city in the world for five days of cruises, car shows, autocross, swap meets, drag races, entertainment, and more. There’s so much going on here, it’s impossible to see and do everything.
The reason behind the event is economical: Reno was looking for a way to bring in the tourists during the typically slow month of August. It was a good decision, as this show packs the streets, fills the hotels, and generates a lot of revenue not only for Reno, but for the neighboring cities of Sparks and Virginia City.
With almost 100 sponsors, HAN puts on a great show for attendees. There’s a cruise every night from 7 to 10 pm, fireworks on Friday and Saturday, live music, car shows at every hotel, and displays to keep you busy for hours. This is in addition to the gambling and shows at the casinos that line Virginia Street, the main drag in Reno.
Even though it’s called Hot August Nights, the weather was more than accommodating, which allowed the crowd to spend more time outside looking at the amazing array of hot rods, street rods, and customs.
To kick off the event, Rhys Millen got up way too early (with a few others, author included), around 4:30 am, to drift a 2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat through the streets of Reno to deliver the Barrett-Jackson Cup trophy. If you want to see what we experienced live, check it out here. Because HAN draws such a big crowd, it was a perfect fit for Barrett-Jackson, and for the past three years has held one of its auctions as a big part of the HAN festivities. This year drew record crowds and saw some great cars go across the block.
What brings in the top cars to this event is the Barrett-Jackson Cup. Out of the thousands of vehicles that show up, 25 cars are selected as finalists for the prizes. The judges this year were Pete Chapouris, from So Cal Speed Shop, Bobby Alloway from Alloway’s Hot Rod Shop, and Bob Millard, who for years was in charge of the Detroit Autorama. Three immensely qualified judges had a difficult job picking the top five out of the field.
Called the Reno 5, every vehicle in that was selected for this distinguished group wins a significant prize. The ultimate best-of-show winner takes home $30,000 cash and almost $30,000 in prizes, The first runner up gets $18,000 cash and prizes, then $10,000 plus prizes for the second runner up, $7,000 cash and prizes for the third-place finisher, and $5000 cash and prizes for the final runner up.
After a full day of selling cars on the block, the big winner was, of course, Barrett-Jackson, which sold a three-day auction total of over $9.5 million with car and memorabilia sales. In addition, Barrett-Jackson raised another $400,000 for charity with vehicle sales donations on a handful of vehicles. Among the top five vehicles sold at the auction were a 1967 Corvette 427 convertible that went for $214,500, and a 1970 Mustang Boss 302 Fastback for $154,000.
At the close of the last auction day (Saturday night), the Reno 5 were announced on stage. Check out the photos to see who won. If you’ve never spent a weekend in Reno and you love cars, Hot August Nights is the only weekend you should consider. Mark your calendar to be here next year for all the fun. For more information on Hot August Nights, visit hotaugustnights.net, and to see which vehicles sold at the auction, visit barrett-jackson.com.
Photography © Scott Killeen/Team Killeen