heres the story it would be nice next time include this.
Russo and Steele
officials assessed damage Friday after an 800-foot-long auction tent
blew onto the Loop 101, snarling traffic and leaving hundreds of valuable collector cars uncovered in a pounding rainstorm.
Heavy tent poles struck some cars and uncovered convertibles were pelted with rain in the ongoing storm that has blasted through the state this week. A collector-car insurance executive estimated damages to the vehicles could exceed $1.5 million.
slideshow See photos of the damage
Russo and Steele announced late Friday morning that owners would not be allowed to inspect their cars until at least Saturday morning because the Scottsdale fire marshal has not declared the auction site safe.
Drew and Josephine Alcazar, Russo and Steele owners, hoped to resume the auction Saturday, but there was still a lot of cleanup to do.
"By no stretch of the imagination are we down for the count," Drew Alcazar said Friday as tent crews worked to clear away the damaged tents.
Public safety officials cleared out people from Russo and Steele's two display tents late Thursday when the high winds threatened the structures, and the auction continued in the main tent, Josephine Alcazar said.
High winds lifted the north tent high off the ground about 6:15 p.m. and it crashed down on the freeway east of Scottsdale Road, she said.
Russo and Steele shut down the auction and cleared the site. The south tent then blew over, but did not go onto the roadway.
Chuck Favour, Hagerty Insurance vice president of claims, said his company has insured about 125 of the cars at Russo and Steele.
After viewing the auction site from the Loop 101, he estimated that as many as half the 600 cars on the lot were damaged with dents and scratches from tent poles and debris.
Among the cars that were stranded on the site Friday was a 1948 Tucker convertible that could draw bids of more than $1 million.
A 1913 White Gentleman's Roadster was struck by a pole and an uncovered 1916 Ford Model T Fire Chief car sat out in the rain after a flimsy tarp blew off of it.
Favour expected the claims would average about $5,000 per car.
That works out to claims approaching $1.5 million.
He said he would be surprised if Russo and Steele was able to resume the auction.
Favour said a previous auction in Carlisle, Pa., sustained damage when a much smaller tent collapsed a few years ago.
Other Valley auctions continued on Friday. Barrett-Jackson had to move everyone into its main auction tent as a precaution Thursday night, but otherwise the event continued without major disruption.
Craig Jackson, Barrett-Jackson chairman, said his staff circled the tents with tractor-trailers to deflect the high winds that were rattling the structures.
As a car guy, he said, it was very sad to see what had happened at the Russo and Steel auction site.
RM Auctions reported the highest sale of the week so far on Thursday night at the Arizona Biltmore. A 1963 Aston Martin DB4 sold for $1 million.
On Friday morning, the Arizona Department of Public Safety closed the eastbound on-ramp to the Loop 101 at Scottsdale Road because of the cleanup efforts at Russo and Steele.
The freeway was closed in both directions between Scottsdale and Hayden roads for several hours after the tent landed on the roadway.
Russo and Steele, a Valley-based company, is in its 10th year of holding car auctions in Scottsdale.