HomeCar CultureCommentaryI sold my house at Barrett-Jackson

I sold my house at Barrett-Jackson

I’m not offering Craig Jackson any sort of commission, but do congratulate his auction house on 50 years of business and growth


I’ve previously shared this story with a few folks, but certainly not with Craig Jackson. Why not? Because I was waiting for whatever the statute of limitations might be, lest he expect me to pay a commission on the sale.

Yes, I know, if you sell at car at Barrett-Jackson’s annual collector car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, you pay a consignor’s commission to the auction company. Except I didn’t sell a car, although I did sell my house back in the year 2000 while at WestWorld for the auction.

I had only recently moved to Arizona, leaving winter in Detroit for what was considered to be winter in Phoenix, where the temperature rarely reaches freezing, let alone dips below, and where snow is something you see up on Four Peaks. 

For the past dozen years, I’d been an editor at AutoWeek magazine but had been recruited go to Phoenix to expand the goracing website from covering motorsports into a much broader automotive site, sort of an AutoWeek-on-line, but on a daily rather than a weekly basis.

I’d been to Phoenix several times, either on work assignments or to visit my youngest daughter, who at the time was a sophomore at Arizona State University. About the time I arrived in early December 1999, she was getting ready to move to the Seattle area, where she’d finish her degree at the University of Washington.

Wait! Larry moves to Arizona and his daughter bolts for the Pacific Northwest! She changes colleges to flee her father? I know. Ha ha. That really wasn’t the case. Her boyfriend, and before too long her fiancé, was graduating from ASU and had taken a job back in Seattle, his hometown, and she was transferring at the semester break.

Until that break, she was gracious enough to share her off-campus apartment with me, and the apartment management was nice enough to let me stay on a month-to-month basis after she left and until I found a house.

I’d put my house back in Michigan on the market, but the realtor seemed uninterested. However, another realtor obviously liked the property because he kept bringing people to see it. I switched realtors when the opportunity arose.

So there I was, in January 2000, walking the polo fields at WestWorld to see the cars that would be going across the Barrett-Jackson auction block when my cellphone rang. It was the new realtor, informing me that he had an offer, an appropriate offer, on the house. 

I accepted, and in retrospect I probably should have shouted something like “The reserve is off!” or, more appropriately, “Sold! Sold! Sold!” Instead, I told him I would accept the offer, smiled broadly, maybe thrust a celebratory fist into the air, and resumed my walk through the Barrett-Jackson docket.

But I didn’t share the news with Craig Jackson, lest he ask for a seller’s commission. 

And by now, I hope, the statute of limitations has expired.

However, I do want to congratulate Craig and his team on the celebration of their 50th anniversary. He’s come quite a ways from that kid who was directing cars in the auction parking lot 50 years ago. He’s dealt with the deaths of his father and, unexpectedly, his older brother, of being thrust into running the family business and, more recently, the death of his mother, the beloved grand dame of the collector car hobby. 

He’s not only grown that collector car-selling business but, through the skillful use of television coverage, has expanded its events into lifestyle travel destinations for car people. In the process, he’s also attracted a new audience for and participants into the collector car hobby.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. I last went to BJ in 2001. The last 21 years have flown by. It’s a totally different event now. It’s much closer to the Super Bowl of automotive weeks, right up there with SEMA, if not bigger. 2001 was the biggest car event I had ever been to at the time, but it was downright ‘sleepy’ by comparison to what goes on out there now. It’s an amazing accomplishment.


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