The 500 Car Dilemma

  • Matt Crossman

Sam Pack’s assemblage of automobiles could fill a municipal garage. But even Dallas collectors have to downsize sometime.

A light mist falls from low gray clouds, but inside Sam Pack’s private car museum in Dallas, it is as bright as if the sun blazed above. Mustangs, Bel Airs, Thunderbirds, Cobras, and dozens more shine under the overhead lights. A man feather-dusts them, though there is not a speck of dirt in the place.

Pack, a Dallas-area Ford dealer, has a staggering personal collection of cars: 500 fill this museum and three other facilities around the city. His collection is so big it defies categorization, though there is a heavy influence of American cars from the 1950s, particularly Fords and Chevys. He owns 40 marques ranging from A (American Bantam) to Z (Zephyr). He has racecars and pace cars, customs and concepts, Pontiacs, Pierce-Arrows, Plymouths, and Porsches. His cars date from a 1912 Ford Model T to a 2015 Ford Mustang—he was scheduled to receive the first one off the assembly line this year.

Pack employs five people whose sole job is to maintain the cars. But now the moment every collector dreads has come: His collection has gotten too big to handle, and it is time for Pack to cut back. Making the initial decision to cull his collection was extremely difficult. Deciding what to sell—130 cars, and counting—has not been much easier, a fact that became crystal clear as Pack toured his collection.

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