The Classic Car Collector
Ricky Van Shelton has always had a deep love for
old cars. As a young boy, his close friend and mentor, Jack Clay, would let Ricky drive
his 1960 Corvette. He was too small to reach the clutch and the steering wheel was almost
bigger than he could handle; but the thrill and excitement of driving such a powerful
vehicle was unforgettable!
When Ricky was 14 years old, his brother Ronnie tried to persuade him to sing with his
band. But Ricky was into Rock 'n Roll and Ronnie was into country... Ricky just wasn't
interested. But then Ronnie made an offer Ricky could not refuse. "If you'll sing
with us, I'll let you drive my 1964 Fairlane." It was more than the teenage boy could
resist ... a beautiful 2-door, 4-speed, 289 engine. He loved the car and quickly fell in
love with the music. That same car is featured in Ricky's video, "Keep It Between The
Lines" and is now owned by Ronnie's son, Jeremy Shelton.
Original photos of the1964 Fairlane that swayed Ricky's interest to Country
The same 1964 Fairlane as it looks today.
In the late 1960's, Ricky's brother Don owned a
couple of Chevelle's. Occasionally, he let his younger brother borrow his car.
Unfortunately, Ricky's heavy foot and love of speed-shifting hung up the transmissions
more than once. Still today, he has had to rework transmissions of his own. Ricky is quick
to admit, "I don't like to drive fast, but I love to snatch those gears when I take
Ricky purchased his first classic car in 1973. He paid $150 for a 1941 Hudson. That was
the beginning of his "wheeling and dealing"... never paying more than $500 for a
vehicle, working on it constantly and trading it for something hopefully better. He laughs
as he remembers pulling up to a filling station in those days and asking the attendant to
"check the gas and fill it up with oil."
When Ricky moved to Nashville in December, 1984, he traveled in style in a 1974 Chevrolet
van. He still has the van parked with his other "classics". In those days, he
could afford only one vehicle at a time.
Since his success in the music business, Ricky has fulfilled one of his lifelong dreams.
"I've always wanted to own my own junkyard; so when I bought my 150-acre farm near
Nashville I started collecting some old cars that needed fixing up. I'll never forget the
day my business manager, Chuck Flood, visited the new property. I was driving him around
through the fields when he asked me when I was going to haul off the junk cars. I replied,
"haul them off !!? I just had them hauled in here !!!' I'll never forget the look on
During the past 7 years, Ricky has restored several classic cars, including:
1965 2-door convertible Mustang
1956 2-door Buick Special
1958 Chevrolet impala
1953 Ford Victoria Coupe
1971 Chevrolet pickup
His treasures also include:
1956 El Dorado Barritz Cadillac convertible
1976 & 1977 MGB's
1972 Chevrolet pickup
The collection totals almost 50 vehicles... some new, some old and some classic.