About the Collection
Mr. Thomas began his career in 1950 as a parts runner in Knoxville, Tennessee at Public Oldsmobile. He later moved his family to Texas and learned the car business with Red McCombs under the guidance of Austin Hemphill in San Antonio. His first dealership was Courtesy Ford in Baytown, acquired in 1967.
In 1970 he purchased a Ford dealership in Corpus Christi, now named Champion Ford-Mazda. In 1972, he moved to Houston and purchased Bob Currie Ford on the Gulf Freeway, now Champion Ford. He owned an interest in approximately fifty franchises operating through twenty major facilities in Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The Texas dealerships, except for Galveston County, Texas, were merged into AutoNation, Inc. in 1998. The Mississippi and Louisiana dealerships were sold in 2002. He currently owns all the automotive dealerships in Galveston, Texas, a total of fourteen franchises.
His most visible activity outside the car business was managing partner of the Houston Rockets acquired in 1982 and sold in 1993. He invested in and managed a number of financial institutions during the late seventies and eighties. They included Great Southern Bank (Chairman), Houston, BancTexas, (Chairman) Dallas, First Texas Saving, Dallas, Gibraltar Saving, Houston and South Main Bank, Houston.
Mr. Thomas currently spends most of his free time attending sporting events of his grandchildren, (7 grandsons and 1 granddaughter), and collecting antique automobiles for his personal collection maintained at his Ranch.