Dallas dealership showcases rare private collection of classic Fords
A massive collection of classic cars spanning decades made a brief but impressive appearance at Planet Lincoln Dallas Love Field before heading to auction.
Planet Lincoln partnered with Texas Collector Car Storage and Club and Mecum Auto Auctions to show off what they dubbed “Miles of Motors.”
The vehicles, once owned by the late collector and fellow Texan Rhett Butler, included the world’s largest private collection of Fords with models from the 1920s through the decades, from Lincoln Zephyrs to Ford Roadsters.
Butler, who died in 2021, found success ranching in Paraguay and, over the years, amassed a beloved collection of nearly 230 cars — largely old Fords — with his favorite being the years of 1933 and 1934, particularly three-window coupes.
The cars themselves range from wholly restored, in the process of restoration, to those in their original forms — exactly how Butler purchased them.
“Believe it or not, he purchased a majority of the vehicles in his collection from private sellers,” said Texas Collector Car and Storage and Club owner Tim Noe, who was on hand in late August to give guests the background on each vehicle.
Butler kept these vehicles in storage in a small Texas town of 600 people called Leakey.
“I think his plan was to restore all of them back to their original state, and most of them are,” Noe said. “They really are works of art.”
Planet Lincoln Dallas Love Field Managing Partner Kaleb Garcia said the true beauty of the collection must be seen in person.
“When the idea of hosting these first came to me conceptually, I said, ‘Yes, this going to be great,’” Garcia said. “But then I realized there are more than 200 cars in this collection. Just the sheer slice of time this collection spans is impressive.”
Luckily, Planet Lincoln has a multilevel parking garage. Most of the cars were displayed there. Three of the more immaculate vehicles were on display in the showroom.
Butler’s collection included rare automobiles, custom hot rods by master builder Jerry Kugel, vintage Woodies, legendary cars made by Graham-Paige and Marmon, plus Mustangs, Thunderbirds, and early models from Chrysler, Buick, and Cadillac.
The cars were scheduled for auction in September at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas to be conducted by Mecum.
According to those close to him, Butler’s collection was his pride and joy, one of the things he loved most. He entrusted numerous talented individuals to help care for and ensure that his magnificent acquisitions were ready for his enjoyment. Considered a humble and private man, Butler was uninterested in flaunting his vehicles – his love and appreciation for the historic cars was the sole reason his collection existed.
“You can’t take it (the entire collection) in until you see it in person,” Garcia said. “We are just excited to host it and be a part of it.”