Dexter car auction promises something for all car enthusiasts

Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tim Jaynes ~ Standard-Democrat Sherm Smith of Smith Auction Co. in Dexter, Mo., will be auctioning off the 1956 Ford Thunderbird pictured on Conway Twitty's 1981 album "Mr. T" as part of this year's Classic Car Auction.

DEXTER, Mo. -- It's not just make believe: be the top bidder this weekend and you can hit the road in Conway Twitty's car. Or, if you prefer, put your foot on the accelerator pedal formerly pushed by Carl Perkins' blue suede shoes. Twitty's 1956 Ford Thunderbird and Perkins' 1986 Chevrolet El Camino are just two of a couple of hundred collector cars that will be shown and put up on the auction block for Smith's Classic Car Auction at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau.

The auction begins at 5 p.m. Friday and continues from 10 a.m. to about 7 p.m. Saturday, according to Sherm Smith of Smith Auction Co. in Dexter. Gates open at 8 a.m. Saturday for those who wish to have an early look.

"We usually sell about 50 to 75 cars on Friday evening. Then on Saturday, which is the big day, we run over 200 collector cars," Smith said. "The celebrity cars will be auctioned off on Saturday."

Held annually for about 15 years, Smith's Classic Car Auction has offered celebrity-owned cars in the past but the two featured this weekend should be particularly attractive to collectors. The '56 T-Bird was not only owned by Twitty but was also featured on the cover of his 1981 album "Mr. T."

"If you buy the car you get a copy of the album, a copy of the check that he bought the car with and a couple of posters of Conway Twitty with the car," Smith said.

The 1986 El Camino that belonged to Perkins features a rear window painted to commemorate his rockabilly classic "Blue Suede Shoes."

"You'll get an affidavit showing it was his car," Smith said.

While many people may come for the celebrity cars, there is plenty of other eye-candy for car enthusiasts as well.

"It's exciting to see these super-nice cars," Smith said. "You'll see street rods, Corvettes, cars from the '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s -- you'll see all sorts of muscle cars."

Winning bids typically range from $3,000 up to $75,000, he added, "so there's something for everyone to see."

Those who attend won't need to worry about the summer heat, Smith said, as the event is held indoors where it is nice and cool. "We have buyers and sellers that literally come in from all over the United States -- it's a really big event," he said.

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