Tammy Allen has become an enticing presence at Barrett-Jackson auctions in recent years, buying a wide-ranging collection of vehicles ranging from classic to quirky.

The attractive blonde from Grand Junction, Colo., was once again sitting in the front row at a Barrett-Jackson auction this week wearing her bidder’s badge. Sitting next to her at the Las Vegas event was her equally appealing sister, Shannon West, also registered as a bidder.

Between them, they made quite an impact. On Friday, Shannon had the highest bid of the day, scoring the high-performance UFC Camaro for $300,000 in a charity sale that benefits the families of injured or deceased military men and women.

On Saturday, Tammy rang the chimes with the high-profile sale of a glorious white 1957 Cadillac Eldorado convertible that was driven on stage by a convincing Elvis impersonator accompanied by a splendid Marilyn Monroe stand-in, gleaming with diamonds.

The sale was pure theater, pure Vegas and pure Barrett-Jackson. With the auction crowd applauding wildly, Tammy calmly won the heated bidding at $150,000, not including the 10 percent bidder fee.

Moments later, the sisters were whisked off to where the “Sold!” cars drive off the stage, where they met up with Elvis, Marilyn, auction president Craig Jackson and the Eldorado. Bright lights, cameras, reporters and curious spectators crowded in. “Wow,” Tammy said after the excitement died down. “I didn’t expect all that.”

Unassuming and soft-spoken, Tammy Allen was busy during the three-day auction buying several more cars for her collection, as well as selling a few of them, including a bright-red 1989 Lotus Esprit and a 1949 Lincoln Cosmopolitan.

She ticked off her Las Vegas purchases like a grocery list, including a purple Porsche, ’55 Cadillac, ’51 Ford Custom, a Chevy SSR pickup, a 1958 Austin Healey (“I love that car.”), a huge custom adventure truck, and a couple of motorcycles: an Indian and a Harley. “I bought the Indian motorcycle for my brother for his birthday,” she explained.

Tammy is a dedicated car collector, to put it mildly. She has about 120 of them stored in three airplane hangars in Grand Junction, and is CEO and owner of Allen Unique Autos. On Monday, she starts transferring them to a 37,000-square-foot building that eventually will become her own, open-to-the-public museum.

“I love them all and I just want to get them all in there,” she said. “The people in Grand Junction are really excited. I started out just collecting, then a lot of people around town thought it would be nice if I could show them all in one place.”

She’s selling off some of her more-common cars, she said, and buying some rare ones as she refines her vast collection.
Shannon said that the two women, each the mothers of two grown sons, developed their fascination with collector cars from their father, Bill Allen, also a major collector.
“We got it from our dad,” Shannon West said. “He’s really into it.”

Shannon has about 14 collector cars, she said, including the wild 2010 UFC Camaro that she said she bought because she loved the charity and her sons and nephews love the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

But he stable is just a handful compared with her sister’s diverse collection. Regular watchers of SPEED’s Barrett-Jackson coverage have seen Tammy Allen any number of times sitting in front of the camera after winning another bid, often for something surprising and unique. And she was doing it again in Vegas.
“I just love cars,” she said. “My family loves cars; it brings families together. I think it’s real nice when people are just enjoying cars.”