Country Classic Cars, a Route 66 mainstay in Illinois, sold to new owners | Local Business

STAUNTON, Ill. — A uncommon 1957 Chevrolet coupe got Russ Noel into the common car or truck small business. Now, just after extra than 20 years, he’s retiring and heading out on the highway in a present day Chevrolet Cruze.

Noel and his spouse, Anita, have offered Region Common Automobiles in Staunton, Illinois, to Josh and Candi Laurent, who system to create on the Noels’ good results and hope to switch the organization into a spot for fans and holidaymakers alike. The Noels are organizing to get benefit of the Cruze’s fuel mileage and vacation the nation and visit good friends.

“Business has been superior the quantities are very good,” said Noel, 78. “We’re excited.”

Noel started off Place Traditional Automobiles — a Route 66 mainstay 43 miles northeast of St. Louis — in 1999 as a pastime after he and his spouse made a gain advertising that Chevy coupe. Quickly, State Common Cars grew into a verifiable depot of 600 typical cars and trucks.

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“It was a good deal a lot easier than farming,” he said.

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Region Traditional Automobiles survived a fire and tornado in 2017 and 2018, and created it via the COVID-19 pandemic. The Noels just lately resolved to retire, stated the enterprise for sale and sold it to Josh Laurent.

“One detail I noticed right here is the phenomenal possible in creating this a serious player in classic autos in North America,” said Laurent, a more than 20-year veteran of the automotive marketplace who got his start out as a technician and recently labored in dealership acquisitions.

Laurent and his spouse, Candi, system to modernize the enterprise — they’ve presently introduced new social media channels for Region Common Automobiles — and emphasis on restored classics.

In excess of the following couple a long time, they prepare to create a new indoor showroom, restoration store and inevitably cut down stock to 300 or 400 cars. The Laurents also want to make State Common Automobiles a destination for Route 66 vacationers. This spring, they hope to host buyer gatherings, these types of as motor vehicle cruises and swap satisfies.

The business is changing, Laurent mentioned, from people who appreciated having a venture to do the job on to individuals who are seeking restored, top-stop models.

“They’re a great deal higher dollar amount,” he said. “The values are rising drastically.”

Country Common Cars and trucks is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. It is situated at 2149 East Frontage Road in Staunton, off Interstate 55.