The combination dealership and graveyard for American Motors vehicles is in the final stages of clearing out the Pikeville, North Carolina, property. What became a curiosity, eyesore, and symbol of the once-mighty AMC, will finally meet the same fate as the company that has been dead for almost 35 years. Enthusiasts are sad to see it go, but the owner and residents can hardly wait for it to disappear.
AMC was formed with the merger of Rambler, Nash, and Hudson
Collier Motors came to be in 1955 when American Motors Corporation was flying high. It had just folded Hudson and Nash under its umbrella and was ready to release a gang of new models. It was the 1950s, flamboyant, be-finned spaceships were plying the highways and byways of America.
But even before AMC went belly up Bobby Collier couldn’t sell the rebadged Renaults it was peddling to dealers. Renault had bought out AMC in 1979, so by 1980 Collier Motors stopped selling AMC products and became a used-car dealership. But the love of AMC products was unabated.
The Collier Motors five-acre lot became a repository for everything AMC
More and more AMC products appeared on his five-acre lot. Some were nice examples of the marque, while others were wrecks it is assumed were purchased for spare parts. Collier soldiered on for a few years before it took on more of the look of a wrecking yard than a used car dealer.
It began attracting some major attention from AMC enthusiasts and the curious after being featured on the TV show American Pickers in 2016. The discovery led to increased interest in what was sitting on the lot. Everything was for sale, and there were more than just stripped Matadors taking up residence.
There was more than just junk Ambassador sedans at Collier’s
Javelins, AMXs, some Hudsons, and even a couple of valuable Nash-Healey sports cars from the early 1950s could be found. Hornets and Rambler Americans with big V8s were waiting patiently to be discovered. So, for the AMC freaks, there was some prime stuff.
Then, in 2018, Bobby Collier died. Everything was left to his oldest son Robbie to manage. He was an enthusiast, but five acres of weeds and hundreds of non-running Ramblers just wasn’t manageable. “It’s almost a full-time job to keep the place under control,” Robbie told the Drive. The weeds have really taken over the place pretty bad.
Weeds and trees now dominate what’s left
“There are places where the trees are growing up in front of cars, in a couple of cases between the bumper and the car,” he says. “We had a 1978 AMX down there, and my brother just cut like a four-inch tree out between the bumper and the car. It was growing underneath the car, and it chose to go up through the bumper.”
There is still plenty of cars available, but Robbie has really thinned the herd. “Our nicer cars, they’re gone. We’re down to restorable cars [and] parts cars,” he said. “People got the impression we hung onto the cars just to hang on to them. But everything’s been for sale. It’s just certain things would sell better than what we end up keeping.
Property stewardship went to Robbie Collier in 2018
Robbie has done a good job of stewarding his dad’s prized business since 2018. But he’s anxious to move on. What he can’t sell at some point very soon will meet the crusher. “It has been a big part of my life. The hardest thing is to see it in the shape it’s in right now,” he said.
So all of you AMC, Hudson, Rambler, and Nash collectors, get over to Collier Motors before everything is gone. Once cleared, Robbie will sell the land and parse out the proceeds to the family. And that will finally close the chapter of the last AMC dealership in America.