By Yvette VanDerBrink
They say everything is bigger in Texas, and this is true for Rick Smith and his love of Cadillacs. Since he was 14 years old he has loved old cars. A 1935 Ford coupe was his first car. That 5-window coupe led him on many adventures. He eventually sold the car in 1968 to buy a ticket to Australia. Rick chased many cars down under until he made his way back to Texas and started an auto parts store, Rick’s Auto Parts. Actually he ended up owning several auto parts stores. Unfortunately, the business kept him on the road and away from his old car collecting hobby.
Rick went through many phases of collecting. He sought after F100 pickups to Street Rods and everything in between. But the allure of the big finned cars and Cadillacs and the rock & roll life style was something Rick enjoyed. Rick was an Elvis fan and Elvis was known for his Cadillacs. With their huge fins he would be rolling large in Texas. Rick sold the auto parts stores and ventured into real estate while also opening a chrome shop. Soon the siren song of Cadillac was calling to him. So much that he bought a building and land to focus buying 1950s to 1960s Cadillacs. He bought his first 1959 Cadillac and realized that they didn’t make reproduction parts for the cars, especially the convertibles, which only added to his collecting obsession.
With his finds he also made furniture out of the rear clips after realizing that the tail fin allure wasn’t just for car collectors but commercial use as well. Many of his creations went to Hard Rock Cafes. He spent years building wall hangings, desks, couches, and other pieces out of the 1950s Cadillacs. Rick sold few parts to collectors at this time, but occasionally would sell some parts here and then to pay for his hobby and to buy more Cadillacs. There’s no computer at Rick’s shop. Word of mouth is the only way that you’ll find out about his stash of Cadillacs, finned cars, and Cadillac parts.
Rick went to a lot of swap meets and private sales to fill the yard with over 300 Cadillacs and buildings full of hard to find parts. There are NOS 1950s Cadillac parts as well as convertible parts. He found out that with the lack of reproduction parts there was money in selling good used parts and project Cadillacs along with other big finned cars such as those from Chrysler, DeSoto, Buick, and other ‘50s designs. Rick always said, “When you’re driving a big finned Cadillac, there’s nothing better. Living large in Texas! When you meet one of the finned cars on the road it’s like nothing you’ll ever see.”
Rick was busy selling parts and cars all over the world, when his family history of heart disease caught up with him about 3-4 years ago. It was a wake-up call that made him realize that it was time to think of selling his collection. His sons were not interested in the collection meaning it was time to start selling and letting more people know about his collection. He sold parts and cars over the years, but now is time to sell them all. There are approximately 295 Collector cars with more than half of them Cadillacs including 50 1959 Caddies as well as other 1950s models. The Cadillac selection is represented up to the 1960s. Included is a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, just like Elvis’, is #18 of 304 built with a 365-cid Tri-Power under the hood. It is truly a great survivor car. Also at the sale will be a rolling project 1948 Cadillac convertible along with a 1953 Buick Skylark convertible, 1 of 1690 produced, ready for restoration.There are also more ’50s finned cars from Pontiac, Buick, Lincoln, DeSoto to be found.
VanDerBrink Auctions will auction the collection of approx. 295 cars along with many parts on the weekend before the big Pate Swap Meet Weekend. The Rick Smith Collection auction will start at 9am on April 21, 2018. The cars will be offered LIVE at the yard in Longview, Texas and also online. Bidders can take their cars, parts, and even strip their purchases. An assortment of rare Cadillac parts will also be online but the majority of them will be for only bidders at the auction. The cars will sell first and then parts will be sold all day and carry over to Sunday if they are not all sold on Saturday. Plan to attend this auction of Rick’s Cadillacs and stock up, then head on over to Pate for the Big Swap Meet. There will be a preview on Friday April 20, 2018 from 10am to 7pm. For more information on this auction visit www.vanderbrinkauctions.com or call 605-201-7005. See you at the Auction!
LIST OF VEHICLES AND PARTS ALREADY INVENTORIED:
-1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Survivor, #18 of 304 built. Stainless steel roof, air suspension, 365 cu w/tri-power, stored since 1976!
-1948 Cadillac Convertible, 486218717, rolling rust free project in good condition for restore
-1953 Buick Skylark Convertible, Only 1690 produced, 90% complete project with many new parts.
VEHICLES FOR PROJECTS & PARTS:
1948 CADILLACS- 2-2DR Sdns, 1 4dr Sdn, 1949 CADILLACS- 4- 4dr Sedans, 3-2DR Sdns, 1-Conv.1-Sedanette, 1950 CADILLACS- 5- 4dr Sdns, 2- 2dr Sdns, 1951 CADILLACS-6-4DR Sdns,
1952 CADILLACS- 5-4DR Sdns, 3-2dr Sdns, 1-conv., 1953 CADILLACS- 6-4DR Sdns, 2-2dr Sdns, 1954 CADILLACS- 5-4dr Sdns, 1955 CADILLACS- 7- Coupes, 1- Eldorado 2dr Coupe, 4-4dr Sdns,
1956 CADILLACS- 10-4DR Sdns, 3-2dr Seville’s, 7- Coupes, 1-Cadillac Limo, 1957 CADILLACS- 7-4dr Sdns, 1-Coupe, 1958 CADILLACS- 9 4dr Sdns, 3- Coupes, 1959 CADILLACS- 49-sdns, 5- Coupes, 1960 CADILLACS- 8-4dr sdns, 6-Coupes, 1961 CADILLACS- 1-Coupe, 7- Sdns, 1-Conv., 1962 CADILLACS-6-Conv., 8-Sdns, 1963 CADILLACS- 7- Sdns, 3-Coupes, 2- Conv., 1964 CADILLACS- 7-Sdns, 4-Coupes, 3-Conv., 1965 CADILLACS- 2-Sdns, 1966 CADILLACS- 1-Sdn, 1-Conv, 1971 CADILLACS- 1-Limo, and more..
1953-4 CHRYSLERS- 3-Sdns, 1955 -6 CHRYSLERS- 8-Sdns, 1956 IMPERIAL 2DR SDN, 1956 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER, 2DR SDN, 1957 DODGE SDN, 1959 CHRYSLER SDN, 1959 IMPERIAL SDNS, 1960 CHYRSLER SDN, 1961 CHRYSLER SDNS, 1967 PLYMOUTH CONV., …
1955 PONTIAC 2DR SDN, 1956 OLDSMOBILE- 2 Sdns, 1954 OLDSMOBILE SDN, 1948 OLDSMOBILE SDN, 1967 OLDSMOBILE SDN, …
1952 BUICK SDN, 1953 BUICK- 4-Sdns, 1954 BUICK SDNS, 1955 BUICK SDNS, 1957 BUICK SDNS, 1958 2DR SDN, 1960 BUICK LESABRE CONV., 1965 BUICK CONV.,
1960 MERCURY MONTCLAIR SDN, 1956 LINCOLN PREMIER 2DR SDN, 1956 LINCOLN SDN, 1957 LILNCOLN CAPRI SDN, 1958 LINCOLN PREMIERE SDNS, 1958 LINCOLN CONTINENTAL CONV., ….
CADILLAC PARTS- OTHER FINNED CAR PARTS:
MANY 1959 CADILLAC CHROME TRIM, TAIL LIGHTS, REAR CLIPS, HEADLIGHTS, MOTORS, GRILLS, HEADLIGHT ASSMBLY, EMBLEMS, SHEET METAL AND SO MUCH MORE!!!!