80-year-old kitchen tycoon Gene Ponder has decided it’s time to move on from his massive collection of over 120 cars, motorcycles and boats. The impressive collection will be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s from September 22-24.
Ponder founded and sold two successful kitchen cabinet companies in Marshall, Texas, and in the process he amassed a five-building garage full of beloved cars and memorabilia in his home. It’s become what RM Sotheby’s calls a “gearbox oasis” with some $20 million worth of cars alone, according to the Houston Chronicle.
In the collection, we have everything from MGs, Bentleys, Ferraris and Mercedes, and we will sell every car and memorabilia from floor to ceiling,” said Thatcher Keast, auction coordinator and automotive specialist at RM Sotheby’s, in a video on Auction.
Ponder’s first car love was a 1948 MGTC his uncle brought home in 1952 from his time in the Navy. This left an impression on the then 10-year-old Ponder, so his collection is understandably rich in MGs. Ponder told the Houston Chronicle that he grew up poor, but as soon as he could start affording a sports car, he went for it.
“I saw a little Fiat for $200 or $300 and bought it and thought I had gone to heaven,” Ponder told the the Chronicle. “It wasn’t very expensive but it was a sports car. Then I bought a few MGs, restored them, sold them and bought six more.”
Ponder has turned repairing and reselling sports cars into a fairly lucrative hobby alongside his main kitchen cabinet business. When his kitchen cabinet businesses became successful, he indulged in more cars. Ponder’s collection now includes MGs as old as 1925 and new as 1971, plus all sorts of other rare and famous cars. There’s even a sweet MGB pickup conversion.
In addition to rare real cars, Ponder has collected handmade recreations of cool cars. Some were even commissioned by Ponder himself. “These old cars built in the 30s, 40s and 50s are works of art,” Ponder told the Houston Chronicle. “Today they are plastic.”
Bidders must pre-register with RM Sotheby’s before the auction, and you can find out more here. Ponder’s collection is offered entirely without reserve, so if you find something you’d like to own, it might be worth heading to northeast Texas to check it out.
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