Bittersweet moment as collection of cars leaves Lewisburg

Friday, August 8, 2014
Brother and sister Frank Sharp and Elaine Sharp-Whitaker stop for a photo with the first car of their uncle Bill Sharp's collection, a 1932 Buick.

By Karen Hall


Passersby on 2nd Avenue South and Ewing Street couldn't believe their eyes Wednesday morning, as a succession of beautiful old cars emerged from the garage of Sharp Motor Co. and were loaded on carriers and hauled away.

Nineteen cars, a motorcycle, and two motorbikes were taken to Paducah, Ky. where they will be auctioned at the Expo Center on Saturday, Nov. 8, by Smith's Auction Company LLC.

The man who collected the cars, Billy Wayne Sharp, died at age 83, in July 2013, without leaving a will.

"My cousins couldn't come to terms over how to divide the car collection," said his nephew Frank Sharp. "So the attorneys decided to have it auctioned. It's a mess, I'll be honest with you.

"It was a bittersweet day for me," he continued. "It's a shame, it sure is."

Frank Sharp worked with his uncle at Sharp Motor Co. and took care of the collection of cars "for the last 30-odd years." He's been running the business since 2000, and plans to continue doing auto repairs for the residents of Marshall County, just the way the company has been for the last 81 years, all in the same location.

Some people can't bear to attend an auction when it's their treasured items being sold.

Frank Sharp said he thought the hard part was Wednesday, watching the vehicles leave.

So he plans to attend the auction in November, and try to buy the 1932 Buick that he's with in the Tribune's picture.

"I wish we could get the Buick back," Frank Sharp said, adding that it was his favorite of all the cars.

It was his great-grandfather who started collecting cars in the 1940s. Some of the cars in Billy Wayne Sharp's collection were family cars, and others were bought at sales, but all have been there for a long time.

They were never taken to Cruise-Ins, but they were displayed at the garage if people wanted to come and see them, Frank Sharp said.

Smith's Auction Company does spring and summer classic car sales at the Show Me Center in Cape Girardeau, Mo., and also has the annual fall sale in Paducah where the Sharps' cars will be sold. Sherm Smith, founder of Smith's Auction Company, said there would probably be about 200 cars in the sale.

The rarest cars in Sharp's collection, Smith said, are a 1970 Chevelle LS5 convertible, a 1934 Ford Roadster, and a 1934 Buick Roadster.

Smith graduated from high school in 1957, and was hooked on cool cars from an early age, according to the company website. That passion for cool, neat, fast cars never left him and to this day he still drives and restores classic cars.

After many years of being a successful newspaper publisher-owner, in 1994 Sherm sold his interest in the newspapers and started the auction company. He was joined by his sons Sherm Jr. and Taylor.

"Smith's Auction Company has the reputation of being one of the best and honest Collector Car Auctions companies in the United States," states the website. "The main reason for success and growth is we treat people with respect. ... We do everything possible to sell your valued classic car and put the most money in the seller's pocket."