Craig Jackson’s View From The Block
Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson


As published in the upcoming “Celebrating 50 Years Of The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions,” Barrett-Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson reflects on the company’s incredible journey from a humble car show to a world-class automotive lifestyle event and his commitment to honor his family’s legacy.


The original auction site next to the Safari Resort which was on Scottsdale Road just north of Camelback Road

NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT IT, 50 YEARS IS A MAJOR MILESTONE – whether you’re talking about a birthday, a marriage or a corporate anniversary. It’s a time to reflect, as well as a time to look forward.

When fate and a passion for classic automobiles brought my father Russ Jackson and Tom Barrett together back in the early 1960s, it led them to want to share that passion with others in the community. They achieved that through a charity car show that grew – probably beyond their wildest imaginations at the time – into what is today Barrett-Jackson, The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions.

Tom Barrett (left) at the Fiesta de los Autos Elegantes in the 1960s

This was the world in which I grew up. I accompanied my parents to the Classic Car Club of America Grand Classics, going out on “caravans,” and sitting on the lawn at Pebble Beach with my family and a picnic basket, watching all the spectacular cars drive by in front of the lodge. From an early age I was restoring cars – first with my father, then on my own, doing restoration work for my dad, Don Williams of Blackhawk and Tom Barrett, and building cars to bring to auction myself. My older brother Brian taught me a lot about the inner workings of the automobile and helped refine my restoration skills. Both my mother Nellie and my father taught me about the importance of honesty and ethics; something that remains of paramount importance to me to this day.

With Brain Jackson

My upbringing provided me with a broad vision and understanding of car collecting and what car people like; their needs and passions. It was a toolbox of knowledge I needed to open up and use far sooner than I expected after the passing of both my father in 1993 and my brother in 1995; the first big challenge of what were to be many more to come.

There were a lot of naysayers back when I took the reins of the company; people who said, “He’s never going to make it.” But I’m the kind of guy who, if you tell me I can’t do something, will work 24 hours a day to prove that I can. I spent time at other events, asking people what they liked and what they didn’t like. I looked at the way other people ran their businesses and soaked it all up like a sponge.

The first person who stepped up to help was Steve Davis, who started out as a consignor and now serves as president of Barrett-Jackson. He’s always been a part of the family. When my brother passed, it was a tough moment in time for me, and Steve was one of the first ones who put up his hand and said, “Tell me how I can help.” That’s a team player, and that’s Steve Davis.

With lead auctioneer Joseph Mast and Barrett-Jackson

My mother helped tremendously; she was always such a force of stability, opening up the office every day and keeping the books. She passed away in 2010 and I still miss her. I am so fortunate that my wife Carolyn, who serves as Barrett-Jackson’s Vice President of Brand Strategy, has that same incredible drive for the auctions and love for the people in this industry. She is great at helping me work through decisions and at staying even-keeled and focused. One thing I’ve learned in this business is that sometimes the right decision and the more financially advantageous decision aren’t always the same decision. You’ve got to pivot; you’ve got to decide. You’ve got to do what’s right.

The company made some tough decisions back in the 1990s. But, looking back, they were the right decisions. My goal, as I saw it, was bringing new people into the hobby, and I think that’s been achieved by continuing my brother’s vision of getting corporate America and top automakers involved in the events. I expanded on that vision even further, adding Internet bidding, live television coverage, Thrill Rides, hundreds of exhibitors – everything that is around the lifestyle of cars in a festival atmosphere that is very unique.

With Nellie at the Scottsdale 35th Anniversary Auction

I feel quite gratified when I speak with movers and shakers in the automotive industry and they tell me the static “car show” isn’t that appealing anymore, nor is an all-virtual scenario. Barrett-Jackson has become the evolution of the auto show. Manufacturers recognize the need for an

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By: Barrett-Jackson
Title: Craig Jackson’s View From The Block
Sourced From: www.barrett-jackson.com/Media/Home/Reader/craig-jacksons-view-from-the-block-2/
Published Date: Thu, 16 Dec 2021 23:18:02 +0000