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A Gentleman’s Collection

A special night at the Amelia Island concours saw Orin Smith’s storied classic automobile collection go up for auction

Orin Smith stands next to his 1958 Rolls Royce two-seater “Honeymoon
Express.”

Orin Smith stands next to his 1958 Rolls Royce two-seater “Honeymoon Express.”

A man’s life is defined by many things: his work, family, philanthropy, and for the late Orin Smith, a passion for collecting and restoring some of the rarest automobiles in the world. “Orin had collected historic and noteworthy cars previously while living in New Jersey. He began anew when we moved to Vero Beach, and then something just clicked with him,” said Stephanie Smith, his wife of 25 years. “He had the most incredible artistic eye. He could visualize the end result despite the car being in pieces when he acquired it. And his eye was always right.”

The Smith collection was presented by Sotheby’s on its own exclusive night at the iconic Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 10. Prior to the sale, few had glimpsed the collection as a whole where it resided in a massive showroom near the Vero Beach airport, but Lee Lipfert, the collection’s manager, knows his way around the sea of incredible automobiles he meticulously maintains. 
“The 1936 Pininfarina Lancia Astura Cabriolet Series III was a 10,000 man-hour job to restore,” says Lipfert. 

“The short wheel base model is very rare. (There are) less than 10 that I am aware of. This one was found on a farm in Italy in very poor condition, in pieces, really. There are scouts that look for these diamonds in the rough.”