Touring Texoma: Horton Classic Cars

Car enthusiasts everywhere, and neighbors in Nocona and Montague County have much to be excited about.

Nocona is on its way to becoming the classic car capital of Texas thanks to an interest one of its natives developed just a couple of years ago.

Right now, Pete Horton and his wife, Barbara have somewhere around 120- classic cars in mint condition for all to see.

That's just exactly the kind of draw that could breathe new life into a town like Nocona too.

It was about 2- years ago that Pete went to a car museum in New Orleans and decided right then what he was seeing could be done in Nocona.
Pete Horton/Horton's Classic Cars:  "Buy 'em totally restored, most of them.  There are some that haven't been restored because they're more valuable the way they are because they were kept nice.  I've got a few like that.  But, the others, some people just put 'em back like perfect.  They drive better than they ever did, and that's the kind I want."

Pete obviously wants many in his collection at the Horton Classic Car Museum to be Corvettes.

In fact, just outside the beautifully restored Ford House from the 1920's, one of the very first Corvettes produced can be seen on display alongside one of the most recent.

"I understand now there's only like 115 left.  The rest of them, fire and wrecks and everything.  This one was number 261 out of the original 300."

"That car belonged to Sandra Bullock, and I bought it.  She put it up for charity, in New Orleans, and I bought it. This blue one belonged to Roy Clark.  There's an album in there with the car.  And, we've got a few cars like that."

Pete even has a corvette used in the 2008 movie version of Speed Racer among his many, many others.

"Pretty rare.  Well, this is the only one there is."

"When you wanted to get in, that was the way it was back then.  This is a '62 Thunderbird, and then the wheel would lock.  A lot of people never seen that."

"Now, is this a '57 Chevy?  What is this?"  "Yes, this is a '57 Chevy.  It's got a modern, fast engine, and it's got these special seats.  Alligator."

Dan Fenoglio/Contractor:  "I've always had a passion for building, and they let me have my dream.  I'm living it out right now.   Every morning I get up and pinch myself to see if this is real."
Of the multiple large- scale projects underway right now for Pete in Nocona Dan Fenoglio's involved with, Dan's also talking about  this  diner area in the museum.

Dan: "We had looked at a lot of different things you know, putting a service station, or a diner or something, to give it, just to be different from other car museums."

Pete:  "We added that to look like the '50's and '60's, like it was here in Nocona.  We used to have the drive- in.  We had an artist paint some of the pictures back there of some of the stuff that was back in the '60's.  People gave us some pictures of the drive- ins and things.  So, we're trying to do that."

Somewhere around 75- cars make up this Horton Classic Car Museum, but they just scratch the surface.  Down the road is a storage facility with cars in this same mint condition, just waiting to be put into a brand new museum.  It's going to be built just south of this facility.  Then, a block away, Horton Motors."

Pete: "This is a Carroll Shelby GT 500, which is pretty rare and valuable.  The previous owner was somewhere with it, and Carroll Shelby was there.  And, they took the glove box off, and handed it to Carroll to sign, and he did.  They said, Carroll, you signed it upside down. So, he turned it around and signed it and said, s__t happens.  And, he wrote that on there."

Robert Fenoglio/Nocona Mayor:  "It's the most exciting thing I've ever seen.  We've hoped since the '50's when Nocona was booming, that it would boom again, and it looks like it's going to."

Mayor Robert Fenoglio's among the citizens of Nocona who see construction everywhere, and people coming to town by the thousands.

Those who see things really turning around.

Dan: "Our downtown was dilapidated like so many are, everywhere.  It's just exciting to see, to bring back something to life, of a building like this that was dilapidated, and the roof had nearly caved in on it, and to bring it back to its glory of 1920."

Pete: "Since the boot company left, it's been pretty bad around here.  So, this is helping, and I think it's going to turn into something."

With restaurants in Nocona breaking record numbers recently, it looks as though that's the case, and it makes perfect sense.

Classic car lovers and collectors will travel from all over to see the growing collection.

They'll surely travel from right here in Texoma to do the same.

In April, Nocona's chamber held its inaugural "Crusin' Nocona" that highlighted a Vacari classic car auction at the car museum.

Here are the numbers from that.

Besides what Pete says happened with restaurants, 139- cars were sold, including 7- from Pete  who ended up buying 12.
Their worth was over 2- and- a- half million dollars.
Somewhere around 2000- people were there, and they're expecting that to triple in size next year.
If you'd like to see the museums for yourself, cost is  just 10- dollars for adults, and the prices go down for kids.

They're open Tuesday through Saturday.

Here are the numbers for hours and other information: 940-825-1022 & 940-249-7810

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