The world-famous Barrett-Jackson car auction takes place in mid-January. To capitalize on the 350,000 attendees that flock to Scottsdale, several other companies schedule car auctions around the same time. Together, they make up Arizona Auto Week.
However, car auctions aren’t the only attractions in the Valley for car enthusiasts. We’ve rounded up three more places that die-hard gear heads will want to add to their must-visit list. We also include some extra car-based fun that might interest you.
1. Martin Auto Museum
The private collection of mechanic and auto-shop owner Mel Martin, this museum offers dozens of lovingly maintained classics from an 1886 Benz Patent-Motorwagen to a 1965 Shelby AC Cobra.
Address: 17641 N. Black Canyon Highway (I-17 frontage road), Phoenix
Regular: Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Auto Week: Open daily from Jan. 16-21, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Cost: Free, $5 donation suggested
More info: www.martinautomuseum.com
2. Penske Racing Museum
Any race fan knows the name Penske. Over the last 50 years the name has graced the cars of more than 400 winners across a range of races, including 16 Indianapolis 500s. At this racing museum you can see more than a dozen of the winning cars throughout the decades plus trophies and other racing memorabilia. On weekdays, stop by the Turn 4 Cafe for a bite to eat.
Address: 7125 East Chauncey Lane, Phoenix
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday, noon – 5 p.m.
More info: www.penskeracingmuseum.com
3. Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum
Expand your knowledge of race history at the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum. This 16,000 square foot facility houses more than 25 historic open wheel race cars, thousands of pictures, a trophy gallery and a library. Drop by whenever, or call ahead (602-276-7575 or 602-438-0022) to schedule a tour.
Address: 3534 East Broadway Road, Phoenix
Hours: Wednesday-Friday, noon to 5:30 p.m., Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Cost: $6 adults, $5 senior/military, $3 kids 10-16, Free for children 10 and under
More info: azracingmuseum.org
Arizona Concours d’Elegance
If you want an excuse to get dressed up, the Arizona Concours d’Elegance fits the bill. Hosted at the famed Arizona Biltmore, it offers 90 gorgeous automobiles, including a rare 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, that will compete for the best of show prize. Additionally, you can attend three panel discussions.
Address: 2400 E Missouri Ave, Phoenix
Hours: 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 15
Cost: $60 Saturday (panel discussions), $80 Sunday (Concours)
More info: arizonaconcours.com
Bondurant Racing School
Car museums, shows and auctions provide plenty of fun, but maybe you want some excitement behind the wheel. Bondurant Racing School — the creation of Bob Bondurant, a Corvette Hall of Fame race driver — offers multiple courses in high-performance driving and racing that put you in high-horsepower machines, including Dodge Hellcats, Dodge SRTs/Vipers, Open-Wheel Mazda Formula cars, and more.
Granted, these courses aren’t easy on your bank account, and usually book up well in advance, but you should contact the school about deals on last-minute openings. You never know; it might be your lucky week.
More info: bondurant.com
Got your own street racer or classic car and want a great road to drive? Phoenix offers plenty of freeways for cruising, but for a bit of windy fun in great scenery, take a drive up Apache Trail. Also known as Route 88, it starts in Apache Junction and winds 40 miles through the Superstition Mountains to end at Theodore Roosevelt Lake.
However, most drivers will want to stop at Tortilla Flats as the paved road become dirt soon after. You can also stop at Canyon Lake for a bite to eat or just to take in the view.
If you do go all the way to Theodore Roosevelt Lake, you can drive AZ-88 back, head north on AZ-188 to meet up with AZ-87 back to Phoenix — also a nice road for a cruise — or head south on AZ-188 to Globe where you can come back on US-60.
Note: ADOT will be doing construction on AZ-88 throughout 2017. Watch for road closure notifications in Apache Junction before you set off.
– Justin Ferris, Phoenix.org
Updated Jan. 18 with additional information on AZ-88.