One of the largest collections of Hot August Nights vintage cars in the United States is housed in Carson City, Nevada. Why have you never heard of this collection, you ask? Because owner and Carson City developer, Garth Richards, has chosen to keep it a secret to avoid vandalism and other issues. That was until he made the decision to auction off the majority of the 200+ cars that he has been collecting for over 37 years.
Starting on August 25th and running for 4 days, Mr. Richards will use the help of longtime friend and adviser, Mitch Silver to run an event to auction off his vehicle at Silver Oaks Golf Course. Silver has run the Hot August Nights in Reno, NV for 21 years and is familiar with and has a lot of connections in the classic car world. For this event, they have printed 15,000 full-color catalogs of the vehicles being auctioned and are expecting thousands of car enthusiasts, buyers and visitors during those 4 days. The first day of the event will be for inspection by potential buyers and enthusiasts and the remaining 3 will be devoted to the auction.
Unlike other popular private collectors (i.e Jay Leno or Bill Harrah), Richards did not focus on cars of the 20’s and 30’s, but chose the cars he “grew up with” of the 50’s and 60’s. He typically looked for the rarest of models or models that had unique or unusual options when he added to his collection. Among the cars for sale, he will put up his very first collector car purchase: a red, 1955 Ford Thunderbird convertible. He also has over 40 Cadillacs, rare vehicles from manufacturers that no longer exist (i.e. Rambler, Edsel, Packard, Hudson, DeSoto, and Studebaker), and a few foreign cars (i.e. a couple MGs, a Austin Sprite, a Mercedes, a Volkswagen convertible and a Rolls-Royce). Along with his own collection, there will be 200+ other collector cars up for auction and a large amount of memorabilia including many rare signs.
When Mr. Richards was asked why he was parting with his collection, he explained that he will be 76 years old and does not want his wife to be burdened with the chore if something were to happen to him. He said, “it’s time some of these things went somewhere else.” He discussed Bill Harrah and his collection of over 1000 cars that were left behind after he passed with no instructions to his heirs. Richards said, “he made no provisions and look what happened.” At one time, Mr. Richards was considering handing the cars over to a museum. He said, “if somebody would buy the land out here and build the building, I’d give them the cars.” He was referring to his Silver Oaks Golf Course land.
Since there will be no museum, however, he has decided to auction the vehicles, but there are a few models that he will not part with. One of his favorites that will remain with him is his 1959 red Cadillac with huge tail fins that has become the symbol of Hot August Nights. He will also keep his Crosley fuel tanker that was designed to fill up private aircrafts at small airports because it is so unique.
Mr. Richards realizes this auction will generate a large amount of cash that he is not sure what he will do with. He assures everyone, though, that he is not doing it for the money and that some of the cars will be auctioned for charity. So, if you are in the Carson City area in August and are in the market to buy a new collector vehicle or just look at an excellent collection, stop out to the Silver Oaks Golf Course to have a look!