The on-site auction will feature nearly 30 trucks by names like Corbitt, Oren, Autocar and Mack.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Nearly 30 rare, antique big-rig trucks from the lifetime collection of the late Donald A. Smith – with desirable examples by makers such as Corbitt, Mack, Autocar and Oren, plus many parts, ornaments and other collectibles – will be sold on-site Saturday, Dec. 6th, on Smith’s business property at 2800 Oakland Avenue in Greensboro, starting at 10 a.m. (EST). Mr. Smith passed away in 2013, at age 80. His sons still operate Donald A. Smith Trucking Co.

Some of Donald Smith's vintage semi-trucks are displayed at his trucking company property.

Some of Donald Smith’s vintage semi-trucks are displayed at his trucking company property.

Vintage big-rig trucks are not a major collecting category – not yet, anyway. Don Smith might have changed all that single-handedly, with a collection that became legendary throughout the Southeast and beyond. People who were only marginally aware of the major makers from long ago, like Corbitt, are now acquainted with them and want to own old examples for themselves.

The auction will be conducted by Smithey’s Funwood Auction, based in Reidsville, N.C., which conducted Part 1 of the Smith estate, held Nov. 22, also in Greensboro. At that sale, semi-trucks, wreckers, forklifts, fire trucks and some old vintage cars came up for bid. The top lots included a 1975 International pick-up truck, two 1980 Scouts, a 1960 Cadillac and a 1967 Ford Galaxy 500.

“As great as Part 1 was, we’re looking to do even better in the Part 2 auction,” said Ken Smithey of Smithey’s Funwood Auction. “Donald Smith had a special place in his heart for Corbitt trucks and there will be around a dozen for people to bid on, including two rare and highly collectible Tall Boys. Also sold will be two 1950s Oren fire trucks, a Mack truck from the 1920s and more.”

Donald Smith started the Donald A. Smith Trucking Company more than 50 years ago, initially hauling mail for the U.S. Postal Service. He and his wife, Ann, began restoring antique trucks as a sideline hobby and proudly displayed their acquisitions at the business property in Greensboro. The two also joined both the Historical Truck Society and the Corbitt Preservation Association.

Their collection grew to include big-rig semi-trucks by the major manufacturers of the 1940s to the 1970s, but Smith especially loved the Corbitt trucks, which began in Henderson, N.C., in 1897 and stopped production in 1955. Smith accumulated what was to become the largest single-owner collection of vintage Corbitt trucks in the world, and many of these will be sold Dec. 6th.

The Tall Boys are the rarest and most unusual of all the Corbitt trucks, and the two in the auction are bound to attract keen bidder interest. Only nine were produced, having been designed by Guy M. Turner specially for Corbitt. One is a 1951 Corbitt 600 Series Tall Boy (with a cut-down cab) powered by a Cummins engine with a Mack transmission, a direct accelerator and an air clutch.

The other Tall Boy is of the original height and has an 8-cylinder Gardner diesel engine from England. Each cylinder has its own cut-off valve, so the driver can shut off one or more cylinders in order to save fuel – a unique and innovative feature for its time. Other Corbitts in the sale will include two from 1949 (a Model T-22 and a Model 825), one from 1945 and some from the ‘50s.

The two Mack trucks in the auction were built 43 years apart. One is a shortened AB truck, made in the 1920s and exceedingly rare, with a “jug-head” engine. The other is a Mack Model B-67 diesel truck, made in 1963. The name Mack is probably the most commonly identifiable brand name in the trucking industry and that fact alone will make these trucks desirable on auction day.

Fans of vintage trucks and firefighting memorabilia will be wowed by the two Oren fire trucks up for bid, both of which are from the late ‘50s or early ’60s. Both are outfitted with firefighting equipment from the era, and are operational, but both are in need of repair and restoration. They each have gas engines – not diesels – and one has air brakes while the other has hydraulic brakes.

There will be about 10 Autocar trucks in the auction, spanning the ‘50s, ‘60s and ’70s. Around three of these have been restored, while the rest need some restoring. Two are “sister” vehicles – with VIN numbers that are one digit apart, both black. A few have sleepers and one is a wrecker. Possibly the best one is a ’64 Model 75DC, with a Cummins engine and 10-speed transmission.

The top lot of the Part 1 sale held Nov. 22 was a tan and brown 1975 International pick-up truck, with one owner and just 55.5 miles on the odometer. Even the original plastic was still on the seats. Estimated to bring a modest $8,000-$10,000, the truck ended up selling for $22,800 (with a 10 percent buyer’s premium). The buyer was reportedly an auto museum in North Carolina.

Two Scout trucks, both from 1980, were also a hit with bidders. One, a Scout Terra with a removable cab top and camper shell, sped off for $4,400, while a non-Terra Scout hammered for $3,850. Both were 4-wheel drive vehicles powered by Nissan turbo-charged diesel engines.

The 1960 Cadillac, a black Sedan de Ville with 61,000 miles on the odometer, electric windows and original fabric in the interior, sold for a respectable $6,600, despite being in only average condition, in need of restoration. Also, the 1967 Ford Galaxy 500, powder blue (a recent paint job), with a 390 c.i. engine, 4-speed transmission, 41,000 miles and factory hub caps, hit $8,800.

All of the vehicles in the Nov. 22 and Dec. 6 auctions have been parked on the Donald A. Smith Trucking Company property for a period of time and are being sold (or were sold) in place, as-is. They haven’t even been run through a car wash, so bidders won’t be wondering about seeing a lot of flash and dazzle, meant to conceal ugly secrets. They may need TLC, but are operational.

The Dec. 6 auction will kick off at 10 a.m. Eastern time, not with trucks but with collectibles such as hood and side ornaments, badges and other items, plus parts, catalogs and paperwork. The 30 or so trucks will come up for bid beginning around noon. Online bidding will be provided, for those unable to attend. Phone and absentee (left) bids will also be accepted.

Ken Smithey purchased Funwood Auction (“funwood” refers to the hardwood dance floor, a nod to when the business first opened as a dance hall and supper club in the 1950s) in 2005. The firm is always seeking quality consignments for future sales. To inquire about consigning, you may call Mr. Smithey at (336) 344-8400; or, you can e-mail him at [email protected]

Smithey’s Funwood Auction maintains a gallery facility at 126 Citty Store Road (Citty is the last name of the man who operated the ‘50s supper club and dance hall) in Reidsville, N.C. Live and online auctions are held throughout the year. To learn more about Smithey’s Funwood Auction and the Dec. 6 Part 2 sale of the Donald A. Smith estate please visit