Classic Car Capital

Rick Cole Joins Barrett-Jackson as Specialist

Craig Jackson, Rick ColeCollector car auction icon Rick Cole has joined Barrett-Jackson as an Automotive Specialist. The announcement was made on the auction block during Barrett-Jackson’s Palm Beach event this past weekend.

Barrett-Jackson said Los Angeles-based Cole will utilize his vast experience in the auction arena to help the company source consignments for collector cars. He will work with Gary Bennett, Vice President of Consignments.

This won’t be Cole’s first encounter with Barrett-Jackson. In fact, he began his relationship with the auction company at the age of 16, when he befriended Tom Barrett and Russ Jackson.

“Russ and I would shovel gravel together to help keep dust off all the cars stored on a dirt lot,” commented Rick Cole. “The Jacksons have always been like family to me, but beyond family, came respect for each other’s auction business. As my company grew successfully, Barrett-Jackson did as well; we’ve seen each other through a lot.”

Cole’s long history with collector car auctions started in 1978 when he established Rick Cole Auctions. He held hundreds of automotive auctions in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Palm Springs and even originated the first collector car auction during Monterey Classic Car Week. Well before million dollar cars were considered an achievable dream, Cole sold over a dozen vehicles for more than $1 million and in 1988, Cole auctioned a Ferrari 250P racing car for a then unheard of $2.8 million. All told, Cole sold more than 20,000 classic vehicles throughout his career.

Eventually, Cole sold his auction company in 1997 to RM Auctions, a company that to this day still carries on the tradition of his famous Monterey Sports Car Auction.

“We couldn’t be more honored to have Rick join the Barrett-Jackson team,” said Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of Barrett-Jackson. “Rick comes with a truly unique set of qualifications – those, combined with his decades of experience, will help to ensure that Barrett-Jackson will always provide buyers with the finest vehicles on the market. I’ve been associated with Rick for many years and not only is he a good friend, but he personifies what Barrett-Jackson is about: honesty, integrity and a commitment to the business; we welcome him to the team.”

[Source: Barrett-Jackson]

Show Comments (5)

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  1. My first contracts within the collector car space two decades ago were with Rick Cole and Don Williams. I’m thrilled to hear this news and think that both Rick Cole and Gordon McCall (recently announced ) are excellent choices for taking Craig Jackson’s ship to the right port. I long for the days when Ralph Lauren’s Bugatti graced the lawn at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale and hope to see what might be considered a new but full circle for the company. I wish everyone the best of luck and know exciting things are ahead for everyone.

  2. I was speaking to a guy named Steve Greg who works with Barrett recently. He said that Craig is having problems getting consignments – especially the types he prefers, and personally hired Rick Cole and Gordon along with some other “car guys” about getting high-end cars that fit his taste. He must really be hurting for cash if he’s got people chasing cars down. (I thought they turned cars away because they had too many?)

    Not sure what you mean Cindy – Barrett Jackson WAS already “in the right port.” So few people want those high-end cars. Talk about narrowing your target audience and market. What a dumb move. He started with putting reserves on cars, and now this? Lets do some math. Which makes more sense – selling 10 cars at 100,000 each at no reserve, getting the commissions on each, or “no-saleing” 10 cars that don’t meet the reserves? Duh.

  3. Rick Cole had better be a Chevy enthusiast because 60% of the televised cars that go across the auction block are Chevy products. It gets laughable.

  4. Having attended a few of Barrett Jackson events, it will be a plesure to see an uping car quality and hopefully the buyers as well. The whole event has become a circus. Darn near a carnival and a shame. Let us hope all good things come to the event for this move. I agree with AIB, way too many Chevys.

    1. I think they only sell what they get offered. I’m a Ford guy, but I’m also realistic enough to understand that Chevy made the best and most performance cars in the 60s that are now the most collectible ones. Ford doesn’t really have that going for them, although they did build great cars back in the day. In the grand scheme, Chevys represent a higher percentage of muscle cars produced. Adding insult to injury, Chevy gets rolled into the GM brand because of 442s, GTOs, Gran Sports, etc. As I’m sure you’re aware, the first muscle car produced was a GM product – A Pontiac GTO – and the other manufacturers chased it. In case you hadn’t noticed, most auctions tend to have more chevys/GM products than any other brand. Clearly Gary Bennett and Steve Davis at Barrett get it — Let’s hope Rick Cole can too. Americans tend to be passionate about American cars that they grew up with. Plus it makes good business sense — especially when you “do the math.” I agree with Steve Graca – I think they already were in the right place, but it does look like Barrett-Jacskson is hurting for cars.