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Marshall, Texas Businessman To Auction Sportscar Collection Worth Millions

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Courtesy: JM Sothebys

MARSHALL, TEXAS CAR AUCTION - Gene Ponder of Marshall, Texas likes cars, so much in fact that over the past several decades, he has amassed an impressive collection of over 100 vehicles, motorcycles and assorted memorabilia that has been estimated to be worth millions of dollars. Well this week the Gene Ponder collection will be auctioned off by Sotheby’s auction house. I spoke with Gene earlier this week to learn more about his passion for automobiles, a passion that began when he was a young boy.

“My uncle was about 7 years older than I was so when I was about 10 years old, he came home from the Navy,” Ponder recalled. “He was driving a 1948 I think it was MG-TC and I was hooked forever when he pulled up in the yard. I just love sports cars."

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Courtesy: Gene Ponder Collection
The Gene Ponder collection is housed in several custom garages on 20 acres on the outskirts of Marshall, Texas.

The years would pass, and bring Gene to East Texas where he would create and eventually sell two extremely successful cabinet factories. And through that time he would acquire some really nice cars ranging from famous American roadsters like the Nash-Healey, and Chevrolet Corvette, to more exotic and rare foreign automobiles like Jaguars, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, and Aston-Martins. Around 130 in all.

"To me these early 30's, 40's, 50's, even in to the mid 60's European sports cars are works of art," Ponder said.

And one of collection’s masterpieces is a 1936 Bugatti-Atlantic which Gene says is considered by auto-aficionados as the most beautiful car in the world.

"In fact Ralph Lauren bought one that he paid $40 million dollars for, mine is not worth $40 million dollars because it was built later on on a Bugatti engine and chassis. But if you put them side-by-side, you couldn't tell the difference in them" Ponder said.

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Courtesy: Gene Ponder Collection
1936 Bugatti-Atlantic is highly considered for its design and styling.

Now among all these cars you might wonder if Gene has a favorite.

"You know it's impossible when you own 130 cars to have a favorite,” Ponder explained. “Every day you wake up one means a little more to you than the others, especially if you've worked on these cars yourself."

Gene’s collection has been estimated to be worth somewhere anywhere from $20 to 25 million or or more. So why sell it? "I've worked hard in the kitchen cabinet business for 60 years of my life,” Ponder said. “I've just married again, and we want to travel and see the world."

The auction takes place this Thursday through Saturday but the public can view the collection Wednesday. The Gene Ponder collection is housed just on the outskirts of Marshall, Texas in a state-of-the art shop and garage. If you’d like to learn more, go to the website: www.rmsothebys.com

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.