Written by Eric Becker
Watching a collector car auction unfold on television seems almost normal now, but back in 1996, some 25 years ago, it was revolutionary. Barrett-Jackson CEO and Chairman Craig Jackson had a vision: Bring the world of collector cars into the living rooms of families everywhere, introduce a new generation to the collector car hobby and foster the love of all things automotive. For decades, the world of collector cars was an exclusive club. Sure, people could read results after the fact, trying to imagine the auction post-sale, but that always dulled the sense of occasion, the gravitas and the excitement on display on the auction floor.
The live coverage brings friends and families together, gathering around the television watching real-time as some of the finest rides from around the world take center stage and cross the auction block. The excitement of the bidders, the voice-over detail in the coverage, and the rhythmic tenors of the auction chant were palpable. It was a new application of a trusted medium, one that helped mold a multi-generational fan base and brought “auction action” to prime-time television. From its earliest iteration, this format has been enthusiastically received and highly effective. “I’ve always been passionate about sharing the excitement of our auctions with enthusiasts,” said Barrett-Jackson CEO and Chairman Craig Jackson.
Now, live coverage of Barrett-Jackson has initiated a new chapter, partnering with the A+E Networks family for a prime slot on FYI and HISTORY’s specially curated “DRIVE” block of programming. “We’re super excited about Barrett-Jackson coming to DRIVE,” said A+E Networks Head of Enthusiast Brands, Christian Murphy. “We’ve spent a few years now building an auto enthusiast audience and we believe it will be a perfect fit.”
The partnership got off to a roaring start with the inaugural premiere of “Barrett-Jackson LIVE” on HISTORY and FYI, and the special presentation of the 2020 Fall Auction at WestWorld of Scottsdale. Viewers were greeted by familiar faces on-screen, including commentary from Mike Joy and Rick DeBruhl, as well as the encyclopedic automotive knowledge of Steve Magnante.
Fans keen for more details, and a deeper look at what happens off the block and in the staging lanes, had three additional expert on-air hosts to thank for insights in the new format. YouTuber, “car addict” and host of FYI’s show “Car Issues” Tyler Hoover; automotive personality and reporter Tiffany Stone; and automotive journalist, presenter and classic Datsun owner Lyn Woodward anchored this portion of the program.
“We’re deeply proud of this wonderful next step in the evolution of our vision to give enthusiasts not only a front-row seat to our exciting auctions, but also a more in-depth look into what makes the collector car hobby so very special,” noted Jackson. “I think this new perspective is a welcome addition to our broadcast, and places a great emphasis on storytelling, and the experience and love for the collector car lifestyle.”