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Up Close & Personal With Steve Davis - Life On The Block
When You're Watching Coverage Of the Barrett-Jackson Auction In January, Keep An Eye Out For President Steve Davis. He's A Mustang Guy Like Us.
When I visited with Barrett-Jackson President Steve Davis last February, he had just moved into a new office at the Barrett-Jackson headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. Unpacked boxes were still stacked along the wall. Steve wanted to show me something, so he started rustling through them, finally locating the box he was looking for. He pulled out a stack of magazines and spread them out on his desk-Mustang Monthly, Super Ford, Mustang Illustrated, and other Mustang or Ford magazines, most of them from the '80s and '90s. All had yellow Post-It stickers hanging out of the pages to mark specific Mustang information.
Then he started pulling out Ford literature-Mustang showroom brochures, a stack of California Special postcards, and old Ford Times magazines. It was no different from the times I've visited Mustang owners at their homes. Everyone who loves Mustangs has a stash of magazines, literature, and memorabilia. Steve Davis is no different.
Steve was a car guy from the start. As a kid, he built models and collected Hot Wheels. But when he saw a Rally-Pac on the steering column of an early Mustang, his allegiance was sealed. He started reading magazines and collecting literature, some right out of the Ford dealership trash dumpster, before stepping up to collecting parts and accessories. At first, Mustangs were a dream, then he bought his first one. In 1977, he bought his first Shelby. His passion for Mustangs soon evolved into a business, Valley Oak Auto, where Steve bought and sold Mustangs, a venture that would lead him to Barrett-Jackson.
For the past six years, Steve has served as vice president, then president of Barrett-Jackson, working closely with Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson to produce the world's largest and most famous collector car auctions in Scottsdale, West Palm Beach, and Las Vegas. Steve's responsibilities include overseeing and managing all operations and departments related to auction sales, where he interacts with customers, both consignors/sellers and bidders/buyers. He's also an influential member of the collector car industry and serves as an advisor to Carroll Shelby. You'll see his comments about collector cars in USA Today and in leading automotive magazines.
So when you're watching SpeedTV's coverage of the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction from Scottsdale, January 11-18, keep an eye out for the guy in the sunglasses. He's a Mustang person just like the rest of us.
MM: How did you get interested in Mustangs?
Davis: When I was a kid, I had Hot Wheels and models. I remember a '65 or '66 Mustang fastback caught my eye. The magic moment was when I saw the Rally-Pac on the steering column. I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen. That was a defining moment with me with Mustangs.
MM: How old were you then?
Davis: I'm old enough to remember when the Mustang came out but I wasn't old enough to drive or buy one. As a kid, I would save anything related to Mustangs or Shelbys. I'd tear out articles and advertisements from magazines and preserve them in binders, which I still have after all these years.
MM: That's the stuff in the boxes, right?
Davis: Yes. I would even go through the dumpsters at local Ford dealerships, which usually had a treasure trove of stuff. The dumpster was my shopping opportunity. To the dealer, it was worthless. I've still got bundles of stuff, like the California Special postcards and '68 Mustang sales brochures, right out the dumpster. Somewhere I've got an Autolite dealer giveaway that was an incentive for the best guy in the service department. It's a timing light, spark plugs, and a fishing reel in a cardboard presentation case that was designed to sit on the counter.