It's the automotive equivalent to the circus coming to town. Every January, sellers, buyers, and window shoppers descend upon Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Barrett-Jackson collector car auction. Why? It's the biggest event of its type around. This year, 1,163 vehicles went before the gavel and over 280,000 visitors were there to see it happen. It's a car show with a catch: You can have any car for your very own, provided you have a bidder's card, and enough cash.

The real drama of the event is on the seller's side, because Scottsdale is a "no reserve" auction. The sellers are really rolling the dice, since there's no minimum that a car can sell for. Your $50,000 ride could bring $80,000, or it could theoretically net you a dollar. The good news for sellers was that Barrett-Jackson was thick with genuine buyers, over 8,000 of them. And these weren't just wishers and dreamers; each one had to pay $500 for the chance to bid. Whether a car brings in the long green simply depends on if the car catches a buyer's attention. Actually, a ride needs to be wanted by at least two bidders for the price to ratchet up.

We decided to follow a car through the process and see what's really involved in selling a car this way. When we found out Air Ride Technologies was selling their Forza Motorsports '05 Mustang, we contacted them. We knew they wouldn't mind us peering over their shoulders for a few days. Bret Voelkel of Air Ride Technologies told PHR: "The Barrett-Jackson auction is a huge, unique marriage of money, cars, and fun. The adrenaline runs high because it is a no-reserve auction, and whatever the car brings, it brings. It's the ultimate affirmation of the level of car that you have brought. It's definitely not for the faint of heart or the easily offended!" This '05 'Stang they decided to sell was originally built as a SEMA project for the Ford Motor Company, and was used to develop Air Ride Technologies' kits. Later, it was used to compete, and win, the Forza Motorsports Showdown that aired on the Speed Channel in the spring of '07. So this wasn't your garden variety Mustang GT, it had some celebrity to it, but what would that translate into come auction time?