Rick Smith is described as a visionary by those close to him. He was always thinking of ostentatious changes that would take an object from ordinary to extraordinary and his favorite subject was cars. Smith had an entrepreneurial spirit and an endless reserve of creativity and drive. He was an outgoing and motivated man who affected the lives of many and left his mark on everything he touched—especially his cars, all of which will cross the block during Mecum’s 2018 Houston Sale, set for April 5-7.
“He had a ton of stuff that was all custom in his head and he just loved to do projects,” explained his daughter, Sarah Wilber. She noted that he always had multiple projects going, and all of them involved reinventing the wheel, so to speak. “He loved trucks, and he loved racing,” Wilber said adding it was apparent in his collection.
By the time of his death in January 2017, Smith had built an assemblage of nearly 80 vehicles, most of which feature his telltale over-the-top customizations.
“I tried to take care of the cars myself for a while, putting in new batteries, new gas, and doing the upkeep – but I realized it was a lot more work than I bargained for.” As a result, all 80 vehicles from Rick Smith’s collection are offered without reserve. Wilber said she looks forward to finding new homes for her father’s custom creations and is confident that other creative car enthusiasts will appreciate the cars as much as she has.
While Smith was a fan of outrageous modifications, he also maintained several cars with minor adjustments. Of the cars offered in the collection, here are the top 10 cars we found most interesting:
1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302
According to the docket, the 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 was originally offered to the public as a means to homologate its solid-lifter, canted-valve, small-block engine. Meeting the qualifications, drivers Parnelli Jones and George Follmer earned the 1970 Trans-Am championship in a Boss 302 Mustang.
The Grabber Blue example offered comes in its factory-correct condition, including a detailed engine compartment with the rare Thermactor Emission Control system assembly line decals and correct hose clamps. It comes powered by the correct Boss 302 engine with 4-bolt main, Cleveland heads, and Holley 4-barrel on an aluminum intake. The high-revving engine is rated with 290 horsepower that is transmitted through a heavy-duty 4-speed transmission and 9-inch rear end.
This car has its factory Competition Suspension, shock-tower bracing, staggered rear shocks, a front spoiler, power front disc brakes, Hurst shifter, dual exhaust and wild reflective side striping. Options include the functional Shaker hood scoop, rear-window slats, rear spoiler, and 15-inch Magnum 500 wheels with period-correct F60x15 Goodyear Polyglas tires.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro
It’s hard to identify what the most substantial change to this 1967 Camaro was – from its custom-designed paint scheme in yellow and orange, to its V8 fitted with a Dyer’s supercharger and dual Holley Dominator carburetors built by DaVinci, the car has been modified to perform.
It comes with an automatic transmission and has been tubbed to include a narrowed rear axle with coil-over shocks.
Disc brakes are seen up front while other performance enhancers include an MSD digital ignition and coated headers. Additionally, the car has a trunk-mounted fuel cell and aluminum radiator with dual fans.
Along with the bright paint, the Camaro has SS badging and a rear spoiler that is complemented by Weld Racing wheels and Mickey Thompson tires. The black bucket-seat interior has a B&M shifter, Auto Meter tachometer and gauges, and Grant GT steering wheel.
1968 Dodge Charger R/T
Under the hood of this 1968 Dodge Charger R/T is a 440 cubic-inch Magnum V8 engine with a 4-barrel carburetor and headers that rumble into its dual exhaust. It’s a driver’s machine and features a four-speed manual transmission with Hurst Pistol Grip shifter, plus power steering and power brakes.
The eye-catching bright blue metallic paint covers it’s iconic body lines that are complemented by white bumblebee “scat stripes,” a white vinyl top and white interior. Inside, the driver can enjoy bucket seats and a center console, Solid State AM/FM radio, 3-spoke steering wheel and podded factory gauges. Other creature comforts include air conditioning, tinted glass, and a locking fuel door.
Finishing touches include chrome American Racing wheels with Goodyear Eagle raised white letter tires.
1969 Ford Mustang
This 1969 Ford Mustang from the Smith collection brings together the best of a street machine build and dragster. The SportsRoof sits with a dramatic rake created by the skinny front tires and the comically large set in the rear.
The wheelie bar extending from the rear also hints to the builds performance.
Under the custom ducted hood is a Ford Motorsports 302 cubic-inch V8 enhanced by a Holley four-barrel carburetor, K&N air cleaner, MSD ignition system, and headers dumping into a high-flow exhaust system. A nitrous-oxide setup supplies wheel-standing power when needed through the automatic transmission with Hurst Pro-Matic 2 shifter.
The black interior is equipped with an Auto Meter 10,000 RPM tachometer, auxiliary gauges mounted below the instrument panel and fire extinguisher.
Painted in bright orange, the Fastback is dressed in 1969 Boss 302 livery with black C-stripes, plus black headlight doors and rear panel, along with front and rear spoilers and rear-window slats.
1966 Chevrolet Malibu
This 1966 Chevrolet Malibu is packed with attitude and the 396 cubic-inch V8 power plant lends it some serious authority.
A throaty snarl comes from the headers and dual-exhaust system that allows the engine to breathe; meanwhile, a four-barrel carburetor feeds it and an automatic transmission sends power to the rear wheels.
Rolling on a set of Rally Wheels wrapped in BF Goodrich Redline tires, the power steering and power brakes ensure driving is pleasurable. A Black vinyl top matches the interior, grille, and tail panel well and offers a stylish visual contrast to the Bright Red exterior paint.
Inside, the interior comes standard-issue with a wide, sweeping dashboard stylishly angling inward and away from the passengers. Although the B&M shifter and optional bucket seats lend a racy edge, the interior appears largely as it did in 1966.
Stainless steel and chrome trim were added and fit the Super Sport trim well.
1967 Ford Mustang Pro Street
Offered from the Smith collection, this XX Mustang has been modified to become a pro street fastback with style ques inspired by Shelby.
Seen in Brittany Blue, the street machine features a thumping Jamie Fox-built 541 cubic-inch V8 engine with Eagle stroker crank and Eagle billet-aluminum rods topped by a Littlefield supercharger. It’s fed via fuel injection and a bug-catcher scoop. The polished aluminum blower and high-rise intake manifold serve as gleaming eye candy along with the valve covers and belt drive.
Headers push the exhaust into a dual-muffler system that ends with center-mounted tips under the rear bumper.
A black interior sports a dash-mounted Auto Meter speedometer and an 11,000 RPM tachometer, roll cage, competition seat belts, wood-rim Shelby steering wheel, and racing shifter for the automatic transmission.
Completing the Pro Street look are forged Centerline wheels mounted by front “skinnies” and fat rear Hoosiers tucked into tubbed wheel wells. Inboard driving lights, side scoops, GT500 striping, a rear spoiler, and horizontal taillights pay homage to this car’s Shelby influence.
1979 Pontiac Trans AM
According to the docket, 1979 was the last year the legendary 6.6-liter V8 was available for the Firebird Trans-Am along with its infamous shaker hood. This particular car offered comes well equipped with an automatic transmission, power steering, power disc brakes, power windows, and air conditioning. It has also received some light personalized touches with Mickey Thompson valve covers and an Edelbrock intake manifold.
The Black interior is mildly modified with an Alpine CD stereo system and VDO White-faced gauges.
Factory highlights include a T-top style roof, tilt steering column, center console, and high-back bucket seats. The famous gold Snowflake wheels complement the gold trim and Red paint which lead to its very outgoing look. BF Goodrich white-letter tires enhance the performance image of this Trans-AM to help create a well-presented example.
1967 Chevrolet Camaro
Described as “RS-themed,” this 1967 Chevrolet Camaro is offered with a monster 632 cubic-inch big-block V8 engine with Brodix heads, custom high-rise intake, fuel injection, and an MSD ignition system with the Blaster 2 coil.
Mated to the engine is an automatic transmission. The rear-end has been tubbed to fit a narrowed rear axle and a set of enormous Mickey Thompson tires. Disc brakes help slow it down.
The body is seen in retro RS striping with a covered headlamp grille, plus upgrades like a lift-off cowl-style hood and ducktail rear spoiler.
Inside is a B&M Ratchet shifter, Auto Meter Sport Comp gauges and tachometer upgrades, a Grant GT steering wheel, and custom seating.
1953 Buick Skylark Custom Convertible
From its hefty 572/625 horsepower V8 to the custom Gunmetal finish, this 1953 Buick Skylark convertible has the perfect balance of performance and style.
The car sits on an Art Morrison chassis with C5 Corvette front suspension, power rack-and-pinion steering, and a 9-inch Ford rear end. Wilwood brakes provide the stopping power needed to slow the car, fitted with a set of headers, stainless dual exhaust, and Holley fuel injection. Power is transferred with a 4L80E automatic transmission.
Inside, the interior features a luxurious split-bench seat upholstered in dark tan leather and a custom steering wheel. Redline custom gauges are set just behind, and a flip-down panel hides the CD stereo head unit and Dakota Digital climate-control panel for the Vintage Air and heater.
Polished Colorado custom wheels and the stylish wraparound front windshield complete the look.
1934 Ford Coupe Street Rod
This 1934 Ford was built as a Street Rod. Behind the coupe’s slanted grille frame is a built, big-block V8 mill topped with a Weiand supercharger, dual Holley four-barrel carburetors, MSD ignition, and some eye candy, like the Edelbrock valve covers and zoomie-style upswept headers.
Packed in behind it is an automatic transmission and narrowed Ford 9-inch rear end with coil-over shocks. Front disc brakes on an I-beam front axle continue the down-low theme, with the body featuring a chopped top and suicide doors.
The detailed interior has a roll cage, custom door panels, a B&M shifter, Grant GT steering wheel, TView LCD monitor, and Auto Meter Pro-Comp gauges and tachometer.
Covered in wild purple paint with custom flames, a set of Weld Racing wheels and rear slicks complete the “can’t-top-this” visual appearance.
For more information about the collection, cars offered, or event details please see Mecum Auctions.