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Matt Wagoner Caught the Car-Collecting Bug Early

Salina, Kansas Collector Shares His Love for Automobiles

Story by Alex Yovanovich Photos by David Newhardt Matt Wagoner caught the car-collecting bug early. Growing up in Lubbock, Texas, as a teenager in the 1970s, Wagoner dreamed of owning muscle cars. That dream has survived unabated to this day. “While most kids were out playing football and enjoying a social life, I was a teenager who started working in the landscaping business in the 1970s. I enjoyed it and quickly found out that the more I worked, the more muscle cars I could afford,” says Wagoner. “I was able to fulfill my passion for muscle cars by purchasing several Camaros and Buick GSs. It helped that I had a couple of friends with muscle cars. One had a Hurst/Olds and the other had a Chevelle. We had a lot of fun, but I did get my share of tickets.” Wagoner’s car collecting started during those formative high school years. Some of his early favorites included five 1969 Chevrolet Camaros—with a few Z28s, an SS396 and a 307 among them. Wagoner soon realized that the landscaping business was going to be more than a lark and went into business for himself. Today he owns Landscape Consultants, LLC in Salina, Kansas. As his business successes piled up, Wagoner realized he could indulge in car collecting as a full-time hobby. In 2010, he decided to open his second company in Salina: Muscle Car Classics, where he could buy and sell collector cars. At the time, nothing excited Wagoner more than the long awaited return of the Camaro. It had been eight long years since a new Camaro had graced Chevrolet showrooms and now a fifth-generation model would arrive for 2010. There soon would be no doubt that the fifth generation Camaro would make up a significant portion of the Muscle Car Classics collection. [Not a valid template] In March of 2016, Wagoner had the opportunity to share his passion at Mecum Auctions, where his collection of 10 pristine examples of fifth-generation Camaros were offered. Each of the low-mileage cars is powered by a V-8 engine, including a 2014 Camaro Z28, 2013 Camaro ZL1, 2015 Camaro SVE Yenko, 2012 Callaway Camaro SS 45th Anniversary Edition, 2014 Camaro SS Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Edition, 2011 Camaro SS Convertible Indianapolis 500 Pace Car Edition, 2013 Camaro Convertible Hot Wheels Edition, 2015 Camaro SS, 2013 Camaro SS and a 2010 Camaro SS. The Camaro SVE Yenko topped all the cars in the collection by selling at a price of $100,000. When the auction hammer fell on the other Wagoner cars that sold, they ranged from $28,000 to $60,000. In addition to the fifth-generation Camaros, Wagoner has amassed an impressive vintage muscle-car collection. Some of the vintage iron includes three 1969 Camaros, three 1970 Buick GS models, a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6, a 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge, a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 and a 1970 El Camino. Notice a theme? The year 1970 is where Wagoner turned his attention, and it represents the primary reason that this prized fifth-generation Camaro collection was on offer. “My goal is to collect every 1970 General Motors muscle car. I’ve got a good start and decided to narrow my focus, even if it means parting with the fifth-generation Camaros in order to make room to complete the collection,” said Wagoner. Wagoner says part of his enjoyment of collecting muscle cars is being able to attend Mecum Auctions across the country to unearth new gems for his collection. “I choose to deal with Mecum because of the quality of their people. I attend Mecum Auctions in Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Kissimmee and Indianapolis regularly and I would like to attend the new Louisville auction this year. I really have a lot of respect for Dana and Frank Mecum and the rest of the Mecum crew. I’m very happy with the way Mecum does business.”

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