The Turkey Trax Auto Show is this weekend in downtown Forney. That makes this a good time to talk to Don Harris, owner of an extensive collection of classic cars (among other things). Mr. Harris came to Forney when he bought the Farmers National Bank in 1987. He stayed in town after he sold it and now devotes his time to his assorted collections. I asked him a few questions this week.
Q. How did you start collecting cars?
A. I just like them. I like history, and I feel like these cars are history and represent a certain time in history.
Q. Do you have a favorite in your collection?
A. My favorite is whichever I’m driving at the time. The first car I bought to keep was a 1963 Thunderbird. After that I just kept going.
Q. Is there a certain type of car, year or model, that you concentrate on?
A. No. I never know what I want until I see it. But I tend to like rare or unusual cars. I don’t want people to be able to say they saw something like that at such-and-such a place. I want it to be unique, something they wouldn’t see anywhere else.
Q. You have a lot of classic cars. Do you buy them already restored or do the restoration work yourself?
A. I prefer to buy them already restored. Restoration work is more of a labor of love than anything else. You have to put more money and time into it than you would ever get back out. I like driving a car more than I like working on it.
Q. How many cars do you have?
A. I think I’m down to 21. I used to have 30 but have sold some.
Q. How do you keep them in such pristine condition?
A. They don’t get driven very often. Usually just around town. My housekeeper cleans the cars 2-3 times per week to keep them in shape. I like everything neat and tidy.
Q. You collect other items, too, like model cars, Coca-Cola memorabilia, and country music memorabilia. You have guitars and clothing from the likes of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. How did you get into collecting those, too?
A. I just collect what I like. Everything I collect is for my own personal enjoyment. Most of the country music items were given to me by friends. I didn’t buy them at an auction or anything. My grandson is a country singer and has his own collection of guitars now.
Q. Are you currently collecting anything else?
A. No. I have some newer-model cars, but that’s it. If I collect much more I’ll have to get a bigger place.
Mr. Harris will have some cars in this Sunday’s show. The Forney Historic Preservation League will be there, too, to award a trophy to our favorite car. For more information about Turkey Trax, visit Forney’s Economic Development Corporation website or see below.
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