Mark T Smith


I am completely and totally in love with automobiles. This obsession started as a little boy. I spent a large portion of my childhood attending automobile shows at places like Hershey, Macungie and Carlisle Pennsylvania. I saw cars that were truly works of art. Auburn Boat tail Speedsters and the Cord 810 “coffin nose”. Pre-war, post-war, fifties fins, muscle cars, exotic, unusual, beautiful automobiles. When I was about eight years old my father bought his dream car. His dream car was a 1955 convertible black Ford Thunderbird. He bought the car locally and I rode home with him, top down, the night that he bought the car. On the way home the T-Bird broke down in a Howard Johnson’s parking lot. A quick milkshake and a phone call to my godfather. My godfather was primarily a collector of Lincoln Continental’s – although he had just about every type of vehicle you could imagine at one time or another. He arrived with a small toolbox, got the car restarted and we went happily on our way.

Around the same time, I became obsessed with Corvette Stingrays. There was not a year Stingray that I did not like. The lines on those cars were so daring and the car was so uniquely American.

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Two years ago I returned to Florida. I needed a  new classic car to celebrate the move. At some point I decided to widen my search of classic cars to include Corvettes. Because of the humidity and salt air here in Miami, a fiberglas body sports car has a significant advantage in terms of upkeep – I always loved my Avanti for this reason. After a long search and test drives in a a bunch of contenders for my new ride, my girlfriend found a really nicely reconditioned 75 Corvette stingray for sale a reasonable price. It certainly needed work but it was all original and the cosmetics were good – and what the hell, it was cheap! It was a 1975 L-48 V8 350 cubic inch motor (5.7L) a close ratio 4 speed with a 3:31 posi traction rear.  Manual steering, brakes and gear box, T-tops and a deluxe interior.

I went home to think about the car overnight – Still looking for a rational reason not to buy this car. I still was not sure that I wanted a Corvette. The decision was put to rest after rummaging around in my studio, I found a Matchbox car that I collected as child. It was a “sugar scoop” era Corvette. It was one of my old favorites, it had been repainted many times. I remember the way that I felt as a child when I first saw a Corvette from this era – the proportions were so outrageous, there was nothing else like it on the road. Still thinking about the Stingray I drove earlier, I flipped a matchbox over. I noticed on the bottom of the car the casting date for the toy which was 1975.

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I bought the Stingray the next morning. 

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About Mark T. Smith

Mark T. Smith is a celebrated American painter. He is best known for his colorful, complex paintings and his passion for the application of art into the fabric of everyday life.

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