Dennis Collins is a big deal in the automotive industry. Although people know him best for his appearances on Discovery's Fast N' Loud, he also collects and restores cars. Without a doubt, he's one of the biggest and most knowledgeable gearheads on the planet. Not only does he know cars, but he's owned some of the rarest and most coveted cars. Most of the time though, his collection is always changing. According to Collins, in his interview with Hooniverse, "You can't be a very good car dealer if you aren't willing to let them go." Although he's had to say goodbye to some special and beautiful cars, his worth and experience only go up.
Fans know him due to Fast N' Loud, a show hosted by his close friend, Richard Rawlings, head of Gas Monkey Garage. The two hit it off ever since they met at a Harley Davidson rally. In fact, they're such good pals, they even broke a major record together that involves a Ferrari (more details on that below). If there's one thing car enthusiasts owe Collins, it's that he's been so transparent in showing off his prized collection. Compiled below are facts about Collins that are not widely known, along with 5 facts every gearhead should absolutely know.
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20 You Should Know: He Broke The Cannonball Record With Richard Rawlings
More than just an avid car collector and enthusiast, Collins also breaks records on the side. Jalopnik reports that he and his buddy Richard Rawlings of Fast N' Loud fame, broke the historic Cannonball time. That's a coast-to-coast nonstop trip from New York to Los Angeles.
Both Rawlings and Collins have claimed to do it in a 1999 Ferrari 550 Maranello. Supposedly they did it in a mere 31 hours and 59 minutes, as per the blog Ed Bolian, which is the best time yet.
They even own a 1978 Jaguar XJS that David Heinz and David Yarborough drove in 1979 to a record (at that time) 32 hours and 51 minutes.
19 Went To Great Lengths To Get 1958 Austin-Healey Two-Seater “Goldie”
It's easy for spectators to look at Collins and his career thinking his life must be easy. On the contrary, Collins details some of the challenges he's had to go through, specifically in locking down the Austin-Healey. "I chased this car for over 25 years," shares Collins in his interview with Hooniverse.
He claimed to have called up the owners each year until they retired. Once they called it quits, he called them up right away and negotiated a deal. Although he had to get some work done on it, the car went on to win an award at the Kuwait Concours.
18 Won Best Restored Car At The Kuwait Concours
Not all of Collins' labor and efforts have been in vain.
He managed to scoop up a prestigious award for his restoration of a 100-6. Dubbed "Goldie," this two-seater, according to Hemmings, went through a makeover from top to bottom.
The award given was the Kuwait Concours d'Elegance. It was such an accomplishment, even Collins' longtime friend, Richard Rawlings, had to give him a shout-out. Rawlings took to Facebook saying, "What an honor among these prestigious judges and against some of the finest cars in the world." Not only did this car go on to win an award, but it got everyone's attention in the process.
17 You Should Know: He Owns A 2013 Lamborghini Super Trofeo
Of the many prized possessions in Collins' car collection is his white 2013 Lamborghini Super Trofeo. In his interview with Hooniverse, Collins revealed the story of how he got it and his belief that he's the only private owner of one.
Apparently, these rare cars are for dealerships only. Though through a shrewd maneuver involving a bank loan and a third party, Collins got one for himself. There are only 40 of these Lamborghinis in existence. He did some work on it though, adding rear view mirrors and legalizing parts of it. If he wanted, he could take it out for a spin on the road now.
16 Meticulous when it comes to storing cars
Considering the car collection and what he's sold at auction, it's no surprise Collins has quite the estate. Back in July 2017, Collins put something else up for sale though besides cars: his house. Unfortunately, his cool car collection wasn't included in the cost of the house. Though the listing did reveal an interesting tidbit about how he stored all those cars.
According to Dallas News, the house contained a garage that could hold 20 or more cars. Considering it's in Texas though, one can imagine it gets pretty hot. That's why the garage comes installed with air-conditioning.
At least Collins knows what kind of environment to preserve his cars in.
15 Earned 3 Million Views For Videos Of His Fox Body Mustangs
With a car collection like Collins', he's something of a sensation over social media. For owning widely coveted Fox Body Mustangs at the time—before he sold them at auction—it makes sense. They decided to make some videos at the time showing off the cars.
"We were at almost 3 million views," shares Collins in his interview with Hooniverse. It's an amazing statistic considering Collins claims to have only had 100,00 followers at the time.
Even more, he mentioned other Fox Body Mustangs out there worth more than the ones he owned. It's probably safe to say Collins managed to get more followers by now.
14 Avid About Healeys Since High School
Collins' love for Healeys goes way back. In his interview with Hooniverse, Collins doesn't shy away about his adoration for these beautiful cars. "I've been buying and selling big Healeys since high school," Collins admits. "I've always loved them." He goes on to share just what Healeys have gone in and out of his possession, even claiming to have owned them all at one time.
It's no surprise then that he's such an important figure, not only when it comes to the Healey community, but the auto industry at large. The fact that his affinity for Healeys goes all the way back to high school is noteworthy.
13 You Should Know: He Once Owned The Most Expensive Mustang In The World, “The Super Boss”
In an interview with Hooniverse, Collins spoke about his history collecting cars. When asked whether he regretted selling any, he admits to there being a special Mustang. "I used to own the Lawman, technically known as the Super Boss," says Collins. "It's arguably, and most of the Mustang community agrees, the most expensive Mustang in the world."
According to Collins, part of the significance of the Mustang had been the fact that it toured Vietnam while the war was still going on. He ended up selling it for $116,000 at a Barrett-Jackson auction show, though admits he should've hung on to it.
A special piece indeed.
12 Owned and Sold Over 200 Healey Products
The line of Nash-Healey cars and products are precious throughout the automotive industry. Dennis Collins has become something of a historian when it comes to those beloved sportscars. According to Hemmings, over 200 different Nash-Healey products have one time or another been in Collins' possession.
That's staggering considering how elusive this line of cars and parts are today. That includes his restoration of the 100-6 two-seater named Goldie. Perhaps the most precious of all Nash-Healey products is a special 1950 one that's detailed more below. Without a doubt, there's plenty of car enthusiasts out there who salivate over the jewels that have passed through Collins' garage.
11 Restored “The First Purpose-Built American Sports Car”
The brightest of all the Nash-Healeys to pass through Collins' grasp has to be the chassis N2001. Supposedly the first one of its kind ever built, according to Hemmings, Collins went through a thorough process restoring it. Collins, in a history about the car, dubbed it "the first purpose-built American Sports Car." Though it's worth mentioning there are reports out there that argue against this.
If this was, in fact, the first Nash-Healey, then it's value is enormous. According to the description, it cost $8,000.
That didn't encourage many buyers in the long run but only made it more prized over the long term.
10 Sold The Chassis N2001 At Auction
Alas, the Chassis N2001—which Collins said was the first Nash-Healeys—had to go to auction. After going through all the painstaking efforts of restoring the car from top to bottom, all that remained was selling the car.
According to Hooniverse, the car's sale did a record, going for $500,000. The car was part of the Worldwide Auctioneers in May 2013. Though by the time Collins sat down for an interview with Hooniverse, the same car sold for almost $1 million. It just goes to show valuable the car was, while also being a testament to the restoration job Collins did.
9 Regrets Selling A Nash Healey Number One
Collins couldn't hang on to the Chassis N2001 forever, as much as he wanted to. That car may have sold at auction after an intensive restoration. At the time, Collins got a healthy $500,000 from it too. That doesn't mean he doesn't have any anguish about letting it go though.
"I'm a huge fan of Nash Healeys," Collins admitted in his interview with Hooniverse. "One of the cars that I most regret selling is Nash Healey number one."
It makes sense that Collins would have second thoughts about this years later, considering how much more it's worth today.
8 Sold Six Mustangs For A World Record At Auction
If there's anyone that knows how to work car auctions, it's Dennis Collins. A couple years back, according to Hooniverse, Collins set a world record for selling six of his eight Mustangs. One of them was his 1990 7-Up Special Edition car (detailed further down this list).
The Mustangs sold at the well-known auction Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale. According to Collins, it made sense why the cars sold at record-setting prices. "They are some of the best Fox Bodies in the world and some of the rarest in the world," says Collins. Even more, they had barely any miles on them.
7 Sold A 7-Up Special Edition Car For $82,500
One of the prized Mustangs Collins sold at his record-breaking auction was a 7-Up edition.
According to Hooniverse, the car ended up selling for a whopping $82,500. Collins goes on to tell the story of how he came to own this rare 1990 7-Up Special Edition ride. "My 7-Up car was a Ford exec's car that got picked up at a factory on a trailer, it never went to a dealership it went straight to the exec's house," shares Collins.
Apparently, the cars were meant for NBA games when random people from the crowd could win it by making a half-court shot.
6 Lost Track Of How Many Healeys He’s Owned
There's few who have ever had the pleasure or honor Collins has of owning as many Healeys. "I've owned them all," Collins admitted to Hooniverse in an interview. He mentions 104, 106s and 3000s as just some of the Healeys that have passed through his collection. At one point in time, Collins kept track of what Healeys he owned.
Though that lasted for only so long. "When it got to the point where I documented owning 500 of them I just stopped counting," Collins admits. After a while, the novelty of owning all those cars probably wanes though.
5 Owns SN-95 Mustangs
There's a lot Collins can teach aspiring car collectors who want to make the kind of money he does.
For example, he once had SN-95 Mustangs, which as the Hooniverse interview points out, aren't the most well-known or beloved vehicles around. Though they certainly sold well at the Barrett-Jackson auction.
So what's the secret? According to Hooniverse, sometimes all that matters is the small things. If Collins keeps the cars in great shape, has all the documentation and doesn't rack up miles, there's a strong change the cars will sell well. Even advice as simple as this can go a long way.
4 Founded Collins Bros Jeep
These days, Dennis Collins spends most of his time managing Collins Bros Jeep, a custom Jeep business. According to eCelebrityFacts, Collins launched the company back in 1984, which sells Jeeps and Jeep parts including such brands as OEM and NOS. In 2007, the company expanded its line of products to a custom line of parts.
BLKMTN, which stands for Black Mountain, includes accessories and parts made for off-roading Jeeps.
The company resides in Texas, where Collins grew up. It also happens to be where he got his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance. There's no doubt he's been putting those skills he learned to the test having found and managed Collins Bros Jeep.
3 Attends And Participates In The Heights Car Show
Dennis Collins is no stranger to showing up at car shows and other venues with his coolest rides. That includes the Heights Car Show that takes place at The Heights Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas.
In a video posted to Collins' Facebook page, he unveiled a 1967 Chevrolet and 2018 Black Mountain Jeep. According to Collins, the car show promises to have "exotic cars and for the first time, four-wheel drives." Instead of being out of touch with what's going on today in the car industry, Collins is cool enough to be present by showing up to local events.
2 You Should Know: He Wants Nash-Healey Cars “Dead Or Alive”
The American auto industry was lucky enough to have a boom following World War II. Nash-Healey was a line of beautiful sportscars that came out during this time in the early '50s. Committed to the preservation of these old classics, Collins has a registry of Nash-Healey cars.
Although the website has yet to document all the cars in the registry, the home page does have an ad posted for Nash-Healey's "Wanted Dead or Alive." That means Collins and his team want any '50-'54 Nash-Healey's whether they run or not.
They also buy Nash-Healey parts in addition to cars.
1 Has Showcased Jeeps Since 1984
Collins has a rich affinity for Jeeps. They're what helped him and his brother get in the business. Collins got to show Hooniverse in an interview where Collins Bros Jeep first started.
According to Collins, he and his brother Jaime's venture into Jeeps traces back to 1984.
That's when they unveiled Jeeps they had rebuilt. Although they started out small, Collins has gone on to reap the success of all his hard work. As Hooniverse appropriately points out, he's now looking at an "empire." Today, Collins stands as an inspiration to all who are in the automotive business.
Sources: eCelebrityFacts, Nash Healey Registry, Jalopnik, Hooniverse, Facebook