Only a few thousand people live in Nocona, but the town is home to one of the best antique car museums in Texas. The Horton Classic Car Museum features over 100 cars inside a restored Ford dealership from the 1920s. For car enthusiasts, the museum is a must-see. But even if you’re not into fixing up cars, you’ll still have a great time checking out these timeless automobiles from yesterday’s past.
Nocona natives Pete and Barbara Horton began collecting classic cars years ago when they lived in Louisiana. As their private collection grew, the couple decided to open the cars up to the public and create a museum in downtown Nocona.
The quality of the cars on display is impeccable. The Hortons only buy showroom-ready cars that are in mint condition. Each car is polished, kept in running condition, and started at least twice a week.
Many of the cars have “Matching Numbers” displayed on their front windshield, meaning the car has its original major parts. This is a big deal to collectors and increases the value of the car.
The museum contains three showrooms covering 37,500 square feet. The red brick walls inside are decorated with vintage signs from companies like Firestone and Texaco. The floors are waxed and shined, and the entire facility includes central heat and air.
The floors are hard-surface, so wear some good walking shoes if you need them. Give yourself at least an hour to see all the cars and displays. You could stay much longer than that, depending on your curiosity about each vehicle.
Nocona is a small town in North Texas near the Red River border. It might seem a little out of the way. But the road trip includes a beautiful country drive through the hills of Montage County. While you’re in town, grab lunch downtown at the charming Red River Pizzeria.
When you first enter the museum, you’ll be shocked to see so many beautiful cars under one roof. The building doesn’t look that big from the outside.
The ceiling is outlined with glowing neon lights that create a nostalgic atmosphere. Over 40 Corvettes are featured in this room, with models ranging from 1953 to 1978.
Drew Brees’s Camaro
Browsing the museum, you might see a few items promoting the New Orleans Saints. What stands out the most is the 1969 Camaro, once owned and driven by Saints quarterback Drew Brees. The owners of the museum once lived in Louisiana, so I’m assuming they are big Saints fans.
Sandra Bullock’s Corvette
Another celebrity car is the 1963 Corvette once owned by actress Sandra Bullock. The car is a 2-door coupe and includes all original parts. It was restored by Jesse James when he was married to Sandra. Jesse James is a car customizer that has starred in popular TV shows like Monster Garage.
Indianapolis 500 Pace Car
This 98’ Corvette is a former Indy 500 pace car with a paint job to quickly turn heads. The darker color is named “Radar Blue”. It’s the perfect compliment to the bright yellow seats and wheels. A display poster says that Chevrolet pace cars are rare and highly prized by collectors.
1961 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
It’s the attention to detail that really shines (literally) at the Horton Classic Car Museum. From the dashboard to the fenders, the cars are immaculately clean from inside and out. I doubt you’ll even see a smudge on the windows. Many of the convertibles like this 61’ Corvette have their top down, so you can glance over and see the interiors.
1956 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
The red Corvettes like this 56’ convertible really stand out. Check out the white concave sides with the chrome borders. The whitewall tires are also a nice touch. The car included some innovative new features, like the roll-up windows and removable hardtop.
The Classic Diner
The front showroom features a makeshift diner from the 1950s or 1960s. You can walk inside and check out the barstools, old cash register, and jukebox in the corner. The walls inside are decorated with electric guitars and popular records from the early days of rock n’ roll.
When you’re finished looking at the Corvettes, you’ll find another room showcasing more classic rides. The cars inside gleam from the natural light streaming through the front window pane. The east wall is lined with garage door areas from the old dealership. A dark ceiling and exposed air ducts give the room a professional and industrial feel.
Vintage Gasoline Pumps
These types of pumps were used by gas stations in the 1950s. The fuel was contained by the clear glass cylinder at the top. This allowed a customer to see how clean the gasoline before pouring it into their gas tank. The fuel was gravity-fed into the car by pulling the lever at the base of the pump.
1954 Chevrolet Pickup 3100 Series
With so many fantastic looking cars on the showroom floor, this truck ranked high on my list of favorites. The bright red paint job is gorgeous, and I’m a sucker for old pickup trucks. The poster near the truck offered some interesting facts about this model. For the first time in history, Chevy offered an automatic transmission for pickup trucks in 1954. There were also extra amenities added for this model. The truck bed was made lower to the ground, making it easier to load things in the back. Another feature was the “buyer windows”, the corner windows added to the cab.
1959 Chevrolet Biscayne
This 59’ Chevy Biscayne was sitting by the bay doors of the museum next to some antique bicycles. It’s not the flashiest car on the showroom, but it might be the most authentic. I discovered this car has never been modified. It’s 100% original, just like the day it rolled off the assembly floor in 1959. The car is over 60 years old, but its odometer only reads 38,000 miles. The story is that the previous owner only drove the car in nice weather, and the car was always kept in the owner’s garage.
It might be hard to believe, but the back showroom has even more cars than the front. You get to see classic roasters, muscle cars, and modern sports cars. The cars are evenly spaced under a tall metal roof. The walkways between the cars are around 10-feet wide. Benches are available if you ever need to stop and take a break.
1957 Buick Caballero Station Wagon
Station wagons were popular family vehicles for decades before minivans and SUVs dotted our highways. When I gaze over this car, I instantly think of road trips and summer vacations. The display poster says the Caballero was too expensive to build and was discontinued after two years of production. Since few were made, the car is rare and highly sought-after.
1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429
One of the rarest and highly-valued cars on the lot is the Boss 429. This Ford Mustang was built for speed and features a 429 NASCAR engine and a manual transmission. The model did not include air conditioning because the engine was so large. All 829 cars were assembled by hand in Brighton, Michigan.
1939 Cadillac Touring Sedan
This stylish 1939 Cadillac is one of the oldest rides in the museum, but it looks as impressive as any car on the showroom. I love everything about this car, from the running boards to the stylish front grill and fog lights. These types of Cadillacs are used in many Hollywood movies, so it’s fun to see one up close.
2008 Ferrari F430
Most of the cars inside the museum are classics, but a few modern-era sports cars will catch your eye. This Ferrari F430 will go from 0 to 60 mph in only 4 seconds and reach a top speed of 196 mph. Wow!
Good Times at the Museum
The cars alone are worth the trip to the Horton museum, but the building’s decor also makes it a fun experience. There are a few mannequins dressed in vintage clothing and hanging out in random places. From a distance, you might mistake them for real people. These party-goers are wearing their beads and ready for Nocona’s annual Marti Gras celebration.
|Address:|| 115 W Walnut St|
Nocona, TX 76255