Nov. 15 will be bittersweet for Sam Pack, a Dallas-area Ford dealer and antique car collector. That day Mr. Pack will sell 132 of his 473 cherished vintage automobiles at an auction in Dallas. Mr. Pack and his four Dallas area Ford dealerships are the Premiere Show sponsor of the Car Pro Show Dallas edition heard on WBAP 820 AM.
It’s a collection including at least one car — a rare 425-hp 1967 Shelby 427 Cobra — valued at more than $1 million. Among the other cars going under the gavel will be a 1965 Shelby 289 Cobra with a polished aluminum body purchased new by Carroll Shelby, a 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial Roadster, a supercharged 1957 Ford Thunderbird F-Code, a 1960 Edsel Ranger Convertible and a 1959 Porsche 356 A 1600 S Convertible D.
“It will be a very difficult day,” says Mr. Pack, who will be on hand to watch the Blenheim, Ontario-based auction house RM Auctions sell the collection in Farmers Branch, Texas, a Dallas suburb. The cars will be previewed Nov. 14.
Mr. Pack, 77, is intensely devoted to his collection and has a personal connection to each car. But Pack, who has no plans to retire, reluctantly decided to downsize the collection to a more manageable size.
My objective is to reduce the size of the collection to what I can display in two buildings,” says Mr. Pack, who had an 18-year career as a branch manager with Ford Motor Credit Co. before buying his first dealership in 1980. The two buildings make up the Pack Automotive Museum in Carrollton.
Mr. Pack lives with the cars daily. Sam Pack Auto Group and its 100 corporate employees are headquartered in one of the museum buildings and Mr. Pack can see about 20 of the cars from his office door. The museum is not open to the public but is in constant use for special events including political and charitable fundraisers.
To Mr. Pack, collecting antique cars comes naturally.
“It has been in my DNA from Day One. I always had a love affair with cars,” says Mr. Pack, who operates four Dallas-Fort Worth area Ford dealerships branded Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford. He didn’t get serious about collecting until he fell in love with and bought a 1939 Ford convertible. The rest is history.
“From 12 years ago until now, the collection has gone from two vehicles to almost 500,” he says.
Though his collection covers a wide span of automotive history, Mr. Pack specializes in American autos of a certain age.
“My preference is obviously Ford,” he said. “I have a strong preference for the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s. In that era you’re looking primarily at Ford and Chevrolet.
“If you walked our collection, you could spend time reflecting on the history of our industry and the impact these manufacturers have had on the life we live today.”
Mr. Pack is also selling several concept cars, including the 2004 Lincoln Mark X Concept and the 2005 Ford Sport Trac Adrenalin Concept pickup. The collection also includes some customized gems including a 1939 Lincoln-Zephyr Coupe Custom powered by a Cosworth V-12 engine.
Mr. Pack’s passion for product dovetails neatly with his day job as a dealer. For years, Mr. Pack has been on the product committee of the Ford National Dealer Council.
Sam Pack Auto Group’s four Ford dealerships racked up revenues of about $800 million in 2013 and sold about 15,000 new vehicles and 7,000 used. Mr. Pack co-owns five other dealerships in the Tulsa, Okla., area.
He recently paid $300,000 for the first 2015 Mustang to come off the line at Ford’s Flat Rock, Mich., plant as part of a charity drive. Proceeds from one of the auction cars — a 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 — will go to Mr. Pack’s favorite charity: the Holy Angels Residential Facility in Shreveport, La., for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“My wife and I have a mentally challenged son. He has been at Holy Angels since Labor Day 1985,” says Mr. Pack, who also is co-chairman of a $32 million fundraising campaign for Holy Angels.
Five full-time employees maintain the cars in Pack’s collection.
Says Ian Kelleher, the RM Auctions car specialist overseeing the Pack auction: “This isn’t just a hobby for him. It’s a way of life.”
Kelleher says Mr. Pack is a rare collector, given the large size of his portfolio: “A lot of big collectors lose the connection with their cars. When I was going through the cars with Sam, he had something special to say about every one. When you’re selling 132 cars, that’s impressive.”
Mr. Pack says collecting old cars is “a family affair,” just as his dealerships are. His oldest son, Tony, who manages the North Richland Hills dealership, eventually will take over the dealership group.
When the family attends auctions, two of Mr. Pack’s granddaughters, Carly and Macy, often go along. “You’ll see one on one side, one on the other and they’ll have their auction catalogs,” Mr. Pack says. “The oldest one is Carly [age 14]. She’s taking notes. She may be the one who at some point says: ‘This is my collection.”