Affordable For Collectors
John Gunnell - April 03, 2014 06:31 PM
Snow or no, the old cars sit along the Interstate drawing in passersby.John Gunnell
With new brakes and tires sweet running 74,000-mile ’47 Plymouth was $9,995.John Gunnell
“Hundreds of old cars inside!” say the signs on the fence alongside Interstate 55 in Staunton, Illinois. The signs, the fence, the steel buildings, the 12-vehicle car hauler and the vehicles all belong to Russ Noel of Country Classic Cars, LLC (www.countryclassiccars.com).
We had passed this place a half dozen times, but never stopped before. We were in the mood to eyeball a bunch of affordable vintage tin and Noel’s Country Classics fit the mood and kept our eyes busy.
Cars and trucks from the ‘20s to the ‘90s were packed into the giant warehouse-style structures like sardines in a tin can. There were Chevys, Fords and Chryslers to be sure, but there were also MGs, Packards and Maseratis. Russ explained that he had bought a Maserati at the Mecum auction only because he needed a car to fill his hauler. “You can’t bring a 12-car truck home with just 11 cars,” he laughed.
We asked the former mechanic and farmer what it’s like taking care of 500 old cars and trucks. “I’ll tell you this,” he said. “When I was a farmer, I had 500 head of hog and believe me, it’s lots harder to care for 500 hogs than 500 cars!” Russ said he scours car shows, auctions and swap meets to get cars to sell.
Country Classic Cars LLC sits on a V-shaped piece of land where I-55 and Historic Route 66 come together. The company specializes in selling vehicles that fit the budgets of typical American car collectors.