MAKING THE HISTORY OF AUTOMOTIVE TELEVISION: A feature of 50 favorite facts and memories

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Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson in 1997 during an interview with SPEED.

 

To celebrate Barrett-Jackson’s half-century in business, in this special series we take a look at some of our favorite moments from the past 50 years, as well as some little-known facts about the world’s largest collector’s car auctions.

 

SPEED cameras capture the action during a Las Vegas auction.

It is no small feat to be among the most successful and longest-running live television series ever. In 2021 Barrett-Jackson celebrated his 25th year on the air, taking his ever-exciting auctions to millions of homes and businesses around the world.

It all started in 1995, when Barrett-Jackson CEO Craig Jackson took over the company with the vision of bringing the incredible world of collectible cars to the living rooms of homes across America through national television coverage in direct. In the same year, Roger Werner and Bob Scanlon started a specific television channel for car enthusiasts called Speedvision. Jackson contacted to see if they would be interested in covering the auction, and in 1996 television history was made when the highlights of the Scottsdale event aired on the new network the same day. The response was so overwhelming that live coverage of the Scottsdale auction began the following year.

Steve Magnante and April Rose provided commentary from the auction block for Fox Sports in 2014.

“We got phenomenal ratings,” recalls Craig. “It was revolutionary and it changed the world of car collecting forever. It brought new life into the hobby: we put it on television and it just threw down the doors. “

Barrett-Jackson president Steve Davis joined the company just as television history was being written. “Looking back over the past 25 years,” he says, “I think one of the most significant things we have done was the decision to broadcast the auction on television. It has elevated and expanded our presence across the board in a way that no one has. print medium could never have done “.

Speedvision evolved into SPEED and later became Fox Sports1, but coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Live Auction remained and grew through these changes, continuing to thrill millions of collector car enthusiasts across the nation. In 2015, coverage grew further with the automotive-focused Velocity and Discovery Channel, providing over 100 hours of live coverage nationally and internationally.

Christian Murphy of HISTORY interviews Steve Davis and Craig Jackson during the 2021 Houston auction.

In 2020, FYI and HISTORY – part of the A + E family of networks – selected the world’s largest collectible car auctions as part of their programming. Barrett-Jackson serves as an ideal complement to HISTORY’s FYI and “DRIVE”, a programming block curated specifically for car enthusiasts.

“I’ve always been passionate about sharing the excitement of our auctions with enthusiasts,” says Jackson. “Our agreement with A + E Networks is a wonderful next step in the evolution of our vision to offer enthusiasts not only a front row seat at our four exciting auctions throughout the year, but also a deeper look into that. which makes the collectible hobby so very special. “

Since the day of that groundbreaking broadcast 25 years ago, Barrett-Jackson has continued to push the limits of collectible television programming.

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