1949: Wilbur Smith's First Vintage Automobile

Wednesday, July 14, 2021
In 1949, Wilbur Smith was a 30-year-old businessman on the rise living in Doniphan with his young family. Pictured above behind the wheel of a 1919 Ford Model T Touring car is Wilbur with his wife, Etta, daughter Penny and son Dennis. The photo was made by Wendell Beal, then editor of The Prospect-News. Many Doniphan residents still remember Wilburís love for collecting old cars. He drove them in parades from Doniphan to Springfield. At the time of his passing in 1997, Smith owned 52 vintage vehicles, all kept under the roof of a 9,600 square feet garage/showroom on the family farm just north of town. The first of that collection was the 1919 Ford pictured above. A man of many talents always on the lookout for something new, Smith found the car parked in a barn west of town near the Wilson Church of Christ on U.S. Highway 160 West. He purchased it for $50 from Joe Hay. It took Smith the better part of a day but by late afternoon he had the vehicle cleaned up, the tires inflated, the motor running and began the drive back to town. By the time he reached the Current River bridge, one tire had gone flat but he continued on and was able to reach home.
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