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The Carl Davis Collection

Carl Davis to sell his collection of cars and trucks along with 50-plus old tractors at VanDerBrink's Aug. 16 auction.

The automobile has changed our lives. It has helped in the shaping our lives and created memories along the drive. This is never so true than with Carl Davis.

This Okie is as tough as it comes. When you think of Oklahoma, Carl Davis is firmly rooted in that red dirt. I was standing in Carl’s Tow Yard and asked him, “What can you tell me about the Dirty Thirties?” He nodded and said, “Have you ever seen that Movie, The Grapes of Wrath? Well that’s my life. It’s true and I lived it.”

Carl started to tell me tales of survival and there was always a car in the middle. It was a valuable item that not only was transportation, but their home away from home. A means of survival taking them from job to job and finally back home to Oklahoma.

Carl Davis was born in 1923 and bought his first car at 6 years old. It was a 1927 Dodge. He started working right at that time with the family on the farm. You earned your keep on the farm. He’s lived in Pawnee County most of his life.

Carl stood back and thought, and then told me that when the market crashed with the Great Depression, they were on the farm. When that red dirt started blowing in the 1930s, they hung on as long as they could, but eventually were “Starved Out” and went to Texas to pick cotton. They went down in a Chevrolet truck with the last of the things that they owned, looking to survive.

They went down in a Chevrolet truck and came back in a beat up old Model T. They were tough times. The family traveled to Texas and all the way over to New Mexico to survive with picking cotton and whatever jobs came along. He said that when you would go down the road in Texas, there wasn’t a shade tree that didn’t have somebody under it, sitting or having a tent or Old Car or truck stacked to the hilt with everything or what there was left of what they owned. It was tough times. He talked about guys fighting for that shade tree spot. “You had do what you could to survive back them,” Carl says.

Finally they got word from back home, and headed back to Oklahoma. They borrowed money from an aunt to start back up in Oklahoma. They planted the crop and his dad worked with the county. Their life changed again when his father was tragically killed in a train accident. It was just his mother and him. They both worked hard to keep the farm and earn money to keep things going. Carl has worked all his life, and was a man at an early age, taking care of his mother.

Carl married his wife at 17 years old and was now in the Cleveland, Okla., area. He went into the service in WWII and was everywhere and saw many battles. He was on a ship in the Pacific. When he got back, the kids started rolling and he built his house and started with building homes and also football stadiums. Carl had many businesses and also had a sand company with construction.

About 30 years ago, he started Davis Towing and had a tire repair shop. He always was buying vehicles and stashing them away. His favorite car is a 1935 Ford Coupe that he still drives today.


Carl was asked many times, if he would sell one of his vehicles, but always said, “NO.” Occasionally he would sell a whole vehicle, but never parts. He just kept collecting.

He wanted to buy the cars that he dreamed about and were hard to buy and get when he was a kid picking cotton during the dirty 30s in Texas and New Mexico. Thinking about the day that he would buy the cars he liked and not has to pick cotton and fight for food.

Carl was and still is a very successful businessman, but now in his 90s, he has decided to sell his collection of cars and trucks along with 50-plus old tractors at auction. All will be sold to the highest bidder on Aug. 16, 2014, in Cleveland, Okla.

There is everything from older restored drivers to project and parts cars and trucks along with tractors for restore. There is something for everyone from a Model A coupe to a Sunrise Case tractor.

Plan now to come to Oklahoma on the 16th and meet Carl and his wonderful collection – and own a piece of Oklahoma History.


For more info or Call 605-201-7005.

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