During my early years at OLD CARS WEEKLY I was the junior editor and caught all the trips to places we had to work hard like Hershey and Dunkirk. I never got to go west until 1980. Then in 1983, Christine Eisenberg of Christie’s invited me to her L.A. auction of the Gene Storm collection. So I flew to San Francisco with Ken Buttolph. He was going to San Ramon to pick up the OCW trailer from our West Coast reps Bill and Mary Mason. While in the Frisco area, we were both going to see the Blackhawk Collection, which was then housed in a storefront. The stewardess on the plane saw us reading the auction catalog and introduced herself. She was the wife of Brian Jackson who was involved with the Barrett-Jackson sale in Phoenix. She said I should come there some time. A few years later, Russ and Nellie Jackson celebrated their 5oth anniversary. They were big advertisers, so I decided to go to the party. I hired an artist to paint a portrait of them from a photo. While in Phoenix I went to Brian Jackson’s very modern home and visited Craig at a shop where he was working on an AMX. Craig always reminded me of my son Tommy and I took a liking to him then. The party was memorable. Among the invited guests was classic actor Robert Mitchum’s son. We all had a good time and that’s how I met the “Jackson 5″ — Nellie, Russ, Brian’s wife, Brian and Craig. Today Craig runs the big Barrett-Jackson bash, which has moved to Scottsdale and gained international fame. I saw him at SEMA in 2010 and he looked like a “suit.” But you can take it from me, he knows how to turn wrenches, too.
Gunner’s Garage with John Gunnell
"Gunner" is one of of the most prolific authors and most visible characters in the old car hobby. He has written dozens of books about old cars for Krause Publications and is the former editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. His collecting pursuits range from old Pontiacs, to MGs, to retired police cruisers, to Indian motorcycles. He remains a frequent contributor to Old Cars Weekly and owns and operates Gunner’s Great Garage, a classic car restoration and gift shop in Manawa, Wis.
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