HomeCar CultureCommentaryTornado smacks Illinois collector car dealership rebuilt after 2017 fire

Tornado smacks Illinois collector car dealership rebuilt after 2017 fire


In the summer of 2017, Country Classic Cars in Staunton, Illinois, was devastated by a fire, but the Noel family re-opened the dealership earlier this year. On Saturday, disaster again struck the collector car dealership, this time when it was hit by a tornado.

“The good thing is, nobody got hurt,” Russ Noel told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re still trying to look at the cars and see now much damage there is. (The tornado) went over the main building here that we built last year and it came down and hit two of the other buildings.

“I’d be afraid to guess at this point how many cars are damaged,” he added. “There are parts of the building you can’t even walk through yet.”

The newspaper noted that one of the damaged buildings had been completed less than two weeks ago. There are five buildings on the dealership property.

Noel said he and his wife and their staff plan to be selling cars Monday.

“We’re ready to rebuild.”

The Noels opened their dealership in 1999. The fire last year was fought by 13 area fire departments and consumed nearly 150 collector cars.

Country Classic Cars posted this photo on its Facebook page after the 2017 fire | Facebook photo
Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Very sorry to hear about the Tornado damage especially after the recent fire.
    Glad no one was hurt and that the Noel’s plan to reopen soon.
    I am a car guy and own a Challenger TA 340 Six Pack and follow Country Classic Cars inventory frequently.
    Heard very good commentary on the owner and their operation and hope to visit them in the future.
    Hope the damaged cars were minimal.
    Best wishes


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