I can’t really remember when I attended my first Barrett Jackson auction. I moved to Phoenix in 1978, and it was just a few years later that I probably attended my first event. Back then it was held at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. At the time, the Phoenix Giants minor league baseball team played there. These days it’s the spring training home for the Oakland A’s. We’d go out and wander around the cars, although the collection wasn’t nearly as large as it is today. Out in the parking lot they had a swap meet for old car parts. There weren’t many muscle cars in that era, it was the big European stuff that ruled the day. Eva Braun’s Mercedes 540K and Mussolini’s 1939 Lancia Parade car added a touch of infamy to the automotive legends.
What I really remember about those early auctions is something that you still see today: The Show. It was like a three ring circus of excitement. Auctioneers, ringmen and bidders all caught up in a frenzy. It didn’t (and doesn’t) matter whether it was $15,000 or $150,000 the money is real and everyone is working hard to make the deal just right.
Hard to believe that the simple event on the baseball field has turned into the mega extravaganza that will attract hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country and get 40 hours of live television coverage on SPEED. I’m glad I was there in the early years, and even happier to be a part of what Barrett Jackson has become!
Originally posted at SPEEDTV.COM.