Texas Kitchen Mogul’s $20 Million Classic Car Collection Heading to Auction
From MGs to Corvettes, SLs to Ferraris—this collection has it all.
80-year-old kitchen mogul Gene Ponder has decided it's time to move on from his massive collection of over 120 cars, motorcycles, and boats. The impressive collection is heading to auction through RM Sotheby's on Sept. 22-24.
Ponder founded and sold two successful kitchen cabinetry companies in Marshall, Texas, and along the process, he amassed a five-building garage of full beloved cars and memorabilia at his home there. It grew into what RM Sotheby's calls a "gearhead oasis" with some $20 million worth of cars alone, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Within the collection, we have everything from MGs, Bentleys, Ferraris, and Mercedes, and we'll be selling every car and every piece of memorabilia from floor to ceiling," RM Sotheby's Auction Coordinator and Car Specialist Thatcher Keast said in a video about the auction.
Ponder's first car love was a 1948 MGTC that his uncle brought home in 1952 from his time in the Navy. It left an impression on then-10-year-old Ponder, so his collection is understandably MG-heavy. Ponder told the Houston Chronicle that he grew up poor, but as soon as he could start to afford a sports cars, he went for it.
"I saw a little Fiat for $200 or $300 and purchased it and thought I had went to heaven," Ponder told the Chronicle. "It wasn’t very expensive but it was a sports car. Then I bought a couple of MGs, restored them, sold them and bought six more."
Ponder turned fixing up and reselling sports cars into a pretty lucrative hobby alongside his main business of kitchen cabinetry. When his kitchen cabinetry companies became successful, he indulged in more cars. Ponder's collection now includes MGs as old as 1925 and new as 1971, plus all kinds of other rare and famous cars. There's even a sweet MGB pickup conversion.
Some of the highlights of the collection going to auction are a 1960 Maserati 3500 GT Spyder, a 1956 Porsche 356 A 1600 Speedster, a 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC, a 1968 Jaguar E-Type 4.2-liter Roadster, a rare "Chairs & Flares" spec 1974 Ferrari 246 Dino GTS, and not one, but two Aston Martin DB2/4 Drophead Coupes.
In addition to the real-deal rare cars, Ponder collected handbuilt 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. "Nowadays, they're made out of plastic."
While we're firm believers that plastic can be fantastic, the man likes what he likes. The auction includes Ponder's massive memorabilia collection, too, which includes everything from cool vintage signs to a Ferrari race car bed, Movosprint Ferrari tether car and a "Spin Out" pinball machine. Who doesn't want to sleep in a Ferrari, even as an adult? Or play with a tether car, for that matter?
Bidders must pre-register through RM Sotheby's ahead of the auction, and you can find out more here. Ponder's collection is being offered entirely without reserve, so if you find something you'd love to own, it may be worth the trip to northeast Texas to check it out.
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