April Rose likens Barrett-Jackson’s collector car auction to a theme park.
Celebrating its 50th year, the event makes people smile. In lieu of rides, there is a virtual playground of vehicles to view and purchase, and it bustles with anticipation.
As the event’s co-host on A+E Networks’ FYI and The HISTORY Channel, Rose witnesses the plethora of beautiful — and sometimes exotic — automobiles passing through the auction block.
“You could spend your entire life driving through a city and you’ll never see the variety you see coming through Barrett-Jackson auctions,” says Rose, who hosts a classic rock show on terrestrial radio in Chicago.
She’ll eye and discuss more sleek automobiles when Barrett-Jackson The World’s Greatest Car Collection Auction celebrates its 50th anniversary at WestWorld from January 22 to January 30.
Celebrating its 50th year, Barrett-Jackson will feature rare hypercars and customs, as well as a diverse docket that includes a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing that is one of only 855 built in 1955 and one of only 1,400 built from 1954 to 1957.
Selling with No Reserve, this highly desirable Gullwing is powered by the original matching-numbers M198 inline-6 engine paired with a 4-speed manual transmission.
Rose slid into Barrett-Jackson’s broadcast team after she and Bob Varsha, a broadcast journalist who covers motorsports, filmed a promotion. During the assignment, Varsha invited Rose to discuss cars at Barrett-Jackson.
She fell in love — and earned respect.
“When I got there, he said, ‘Wow. You’re really into cars. You know a lot about them, and you love them,’” she recalls.
He wrapped up the conversation with, “We’re looking to add someone to our broadcast team.”
“It seemed like a dream come true,” she adds. “It was the perfect fit.”
She joins a team of automotive experts, including announcers Steve Magnante, Mike Joy and Rick DeBruhl.
In her blood
Rose began her professional career in health and medicine. She earned her EMT certification through Des Plaines, Illinois-based Oakton Community College and a cardiovascular technologist license from PCCTI Healthcare in Chicago. She was also certified as a medical crisis counselor for Rape Victim Advocates.
Then she fell into modeling. She was voted Maxim’s “Hometown Hotties” winner in 2008 and was subsequently featured as the cover girl on Maxim Canada. She hosted the Chicago Bears’ pregame show and parlayed that experience into other gigs.
She appeared on TV shows like “Guy Code” and “Girl Code.” She parlayed her love of hockey and football into “Chicago Faceoff with April Rose” and “Chicago Huddle,” respectively.
Rose has acted in a smattering of films like “Grown Ups 2.”
“It all started falling into my lap. I thought I would be in crisis counseling forever.
“The jobs just kept paving the right path to walk down. I’m also asked to report on hockey and football. However, I’ve always been passionate about — obsessed with — cars. I feel lucky with Barrett-Jackson.”
Rose still occasionally models on special occasions and requests.
“I usually don’t do it if a wardrobe company or designer needs me to wear an outfit,” she says. “I’ll do it if they want me to come to an event for photos. I’m not just a number.
“When I was 19, it didn’t matter if I was a clothes hanger for whatever image they wanted. It shifted a little bit. I feel like I’m more important to the product because they want to use a personality.”
Like entertainment and news, cars are in her blood. She learned early on of the freedom that comes with driving.
“Growing up, parents always tell their kids what to do, where to go,” Rose says. “The first time you’re in a car by yourself, you choose your own path. That realization made a big imprint on me. I really appreciate what cars can do for you.”
That first car was a hand-me-down from her brother — a 2005 Camaro. She was gifted it when he wanted to purchase a new car. She admits, with a laugh, that was a dangerous car to give a teenager.
“The rearview mirror is so small and it’s hard to see out of it because the pillars are so wide,” Rose explains. “You don’t have a good visualization of the road.”
She has collected plenty of highlights during her time at Barrett-Jackson. Rose vividly remembers sitting in the original 1966 Batmobile, which was built by George Barris. Tempe logistics company owner Rick Champagne grabbed the vehicle for $4.2 million.
“While we were in it, George spoke about all the gadgets he had in the Batmobile,” she says. “It was neat to see that sell though. Two gentlemen in the front of the auction, who were sitting really close to each other. They were outbidding each one when they stopped and one of the guys suggested flipping a coin and whoever gets it, gets the car.
“They could have kept bidding for eternity. That’s how the owner of the car won — it was a flip of the coin. That was a first for Barrett-Jackson.”
Barrett-Jackson the World’s Greatest Car Collector Auctions
WHEN: Various times Saturday, January 22, to Sunday, January 30
WHERE: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road, Scottsdale
COST: Tickets start at $23, with discounts for seniors, military and students
INFO: 480.421.6694, barrett-jackson.com