It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the passing of my brother Brian. As one of the founding members of Barrett-Jackson, he had a huge impact on the company. As the years have passed, I have heard story after story about Brian and how loved and respected he was in the collector car community as a whole.
He also had a profound impact on me. I think it’s fair to say I idolized Brian, who was 14 years older than me and somewhat of a “Renaissance man” – an old soul who seemed wise beyond his years. He taught me so much about cars, restoration, racing and more. I was always thrilled when Brian would take me with him to Phil Hill’s races at Riverside or on his trips to the Bee Line Dragway, and treasure the memories of coming along when he cruised Central Avenue through downtown Phoenix, and going to his race shop to watch him and his friends work on their cars.
Brian took over management of Barrett-Jackson in the early 1990s while our dad struggled with and then passed away from colon cancer – the same disease that would claim his own life at the all-too-young age of 49. I remember long conversations with Brian about ways to enhance what we called the “Barrett-Jackson experience.” My brother helped me solidify the vision we had for the auctions in his last days – live television broadcasts, multiple venues and, most importantly, sharing the passion we have for cars with all those who attend an auction.
Brian lived a great life that was far too short. I miss him to this very day and am forever indebted to those who stepped in at a very difficult time and helped me keep Barrett-Jackson growing and evolving into what it is today. Foremost among those is our company president, Steve Davis, who knew Brian well and was among the first to be by my side to ensure that we carried on his legacy.
I am so very thankful to Steve, our many loyal sponsors and the dedicated members of the Barrett-Jackson extended family – especially our longtime partner and friend Don Williams – for standing by me and honoring Brian’s memory while keeping his passion for collector cars alive.