Yesterday one of my co-workers told me that she had bought some of her relatives tickets to the Barrett-Jackson Auction as a Christmas gift. It's amazing how many people across the country are aware of the Barrett-Jackson "brand" today. These folks probably have no idea that Tom Barrett was an early Chicago-based collector car dealer who moved to Scottsdale or that Russ and Nellie Jackson were car collectors who operated a car wash thereabouts. To TV watchers, Barrett-Jackson is all black-tie glitz and glamor and $2-million dollar Hemi 'Cudas.
Television has put Barrett-Jackson in the big time and the merging of motorcars with media has helped the old car hobby gain national exposure and grow. That's good, but it sure has changed things. I've noticed that my neighbors -- and even my kids -- know more about the latest big-buck Cobra prices than I do (or care to).
You see, though I work in print media, I raely attend car auctions or watch TV. I may wind up at an auction once or twice a year because it's taking place at a show that I enjoy or plan to write about. As for the "Boob Tube," I have one in my shop that I turn on for "company" when I'm working out there alone. It's nice to hear the voices, but don't ask me what's on on what the plot is! Who cares?
Now that I'm retiring, all I really want to do is drive my cars, tinker with them and write about cars to pay my bills. I do not need to know the latest world record price for a Doosey or which guy spent too much for a Mustang because they flashed his picture on the SPEED Channel. At the same time, I do appreciate what people like Barrett-Jackson, Barry Meguiar, Dennis Gage, Boyd Coddington and others have done to broadcast our hobby to a new audience. Since I first got involved back in 1972, I have always thought that this is the best hobby in the world and I'm always happy to see it growing.