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AutoWeek Exclusive: A conversation with the boss of Barrett-Jackson

Wed, 07 Jul 2010

The phone rings. Longtime Barrett-Jackson chief executive Craig Jackson is on the other end of the line. He's at his SoCal estate a week after a wildly successful sale nearby in Orange County. He sounds happy and content, perhaps a bit gravely and rough around the edges, but he'd be the first one to admit that.

That's all glossed over by the 50-year-old's pure love of cars. He has a collection of 28, including a 2007 Bentley GT convertible for a daily driver, though he spends plenty of time behind the wheel of an '07 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500.

With Jackson, whose father, Russ, cofounded the Arizona auction giant with friend Tom Barrett some 39 years ago, it's always about the cars. Barrett-Jackson auctions have grown from humble origins to a nationally televised-in-high-def, bid-on-the-Internet lifestyle conglomerate. But unlike some of the more wine-and-brie companies, Barrett is more than happy to sell you a hunk of Detroit muscle you can actually drive on the broken roads of Detroit. Or Los Angeles. Or wherever else you have occasion to go. If the numbers match and the car is an icon of style, great. If not, that's fine too. Remember, this is a guy who drives a Bentley almost daily but has restored plenty of cars and knows how to turn a wrench.

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By Greg Migliore