Every year that I cover Artomobilia, I meet some of the most fascinating car owners who share remarkable stories about their cars and their lives. And this year’s 15th Annual Artomobilia is no exception, as I have met collector and race car driver Scott Holley with Holley Motor Sport.
Holley founded SBC Wealth Management, based in Carmel, Ind., in 1983 and is in the process of retiring from the helm as CEO of his company as he switches gears and focuses on his other passion — racing and collecting vintage and classic cars.
“Over the past decade or so, I have sold off some of my ownership in SBC [Wealth Management] to some of our key people to create an internal succession,” Holley explained. “There are now six owners, including myself, and it’s time for them to take the reins.”
Holley and his wife, Debbie, are avid car enthusiasts and collectors of some 40 outstanding examples of automotive ingenuity and beauty. Additionally, Holley races and shows his vintage and classic cars — which include a 1963 Jaguar E-Type, a 1966 Ford Shelby GT350 and a vintage NASCAR racecar — in various racetracks and Concours events that include Artomobilia, at which he has earned “Best in Class” and other braces.
On the Road to Glory
Holley shared with us that his passion for cars began at a young age.
“When I had enough money from mowing yards to buy my first car, I couldn’t keep it off the drag strip,” Holley shared. “That was the beginning of cars and racing for me, and then I got married and founded SBC Wealth Management. It was the mid-80s when I got involved with Autocross [racing] through the SCCA [Sports Car Club of America] and did that for a few years.”
Holley won some championships and started road racing Porsches in the early 90s.
He added, “I had some friends who were traveling around racing SCCA, and we ended up putting together a four-car team, bought our own rig and all raced Porsches in different classes.”
In the mid-2000s, Holley was laser-focused on building his [SBC Wealth Management] business and sold his rig and “hung up the helmet” in 2007 to focus on family and growing his business.
However, Holley’s passion for cars was not extinguished, and he began collecting muscle cars in 2008. His collection comprised first-generation Dodge Vipers, Dodge Challengers, Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and other fantastic muscle cars.
Holley shared a fun little story about how his wife, Debbie, really changed the trajectory of Holley’s collection at that point in their lives.
“In 2008, I had stepped away from racing, and my wife and I wanted to do some ocean boating,” Holley recalled. “We were chartering big boats, and I got my captain’s license. One day at the Miami boat show, she said, ‘Rather than buying a boat, why don’t we do some car stuff?’ I asked what she meant by that, and she said, ‘Let’s do some traveling in a fun car.’ So, I bought a Superformance Cobra — which is the only replica that is authorized by Shelby — and we joined the Superformance Cobra Owners Forum [SCOF].”
Holley participates in SCOF’s annual Super Cruz and other organized cruising events with other members of the forum.
“It’s six or seven days of living out of Cobras, and there’s usually a small group of hard-core cruisers —10-12 cars — and more often than not, we’re someplace in the Rockies,” Holley said. “We get rained on, hailed on and they’re usually some pretty wild trips.”
At the time Holley started collecting muscle cars, Debbie said to him, “I don’t really like muscle cars. If you buy me a Jaguar XKE, you can have anything you want.”
Holley added, “That’s what I did. I bought her a one-owner 1969 Jaguar XKE that was like new, and we ended up showing it around the country.”
Returning to the Track in Vintage Fashion
Holley self-admittedly fell in love with Jaguars and began collecting and showing his Jaguars. Holley even got into the restoration part of collecting [vintage] cars and completely rebuilt a 1963 Jaguar E-Type that belonged to Scott Brown, a local race car driver. It was at this point that Holley got into vintage racing.
“That Jaguar E-Type is a race car,” Holley explained. “When that car showed up, my wife said, ‘Are you going to race again?’ And I said, ‘Probably.’”
And as his story goes, Holley ended up racing in one of the toughest classes in the vintage racing — the FIA Group 6 — and won championships in a car that was once an “underdog” and became known as the “car to beat.”
“As far as racing goes, a couple of years ago, a friend of mine wanted me to drive his NASCAR road race car at Road America,” Holley shared. “I’d always thought it might be fun to have a NASCAR road race car and go road racing, but to me, they always seemed big like a school bus. I’m a sports car guy, but once I got in one, in the words of my friend, ‘They get small really quick.’”
Today, Holley is the proud owner of two NASCAR road chassis and is actively racing in the NASCAR Vintage Racing series. Holley is currently leading in points in his class, winning most of the races he’s recently competed in.
“I’m kind of the old guy who’s new to the NASCAR scene, and they’re wondering who this old guy is that they’ve never heard of before driving a stock car,” Holley jested. “They quit joking when I put it on the pole at my first race up at Road America last year.”
Holley added, “It’s some pretty serious racing, and we get some body damage. There were a few wrecks in Indy [IMS] this year. There’s a big race every spring called the Mitty down at Road Atlanta. It’s one of the largest vintage races in the US, and it’s run through the Historic Stock Car Racing Association. And Mike Hilton, who is a former president of NASCAR, met with a group of us racing our stock cars and asked if we would be interested in being the opening race for the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen [International] in 2023, and we said yes!”
Taking a moment to reflect on the last couple of years, Holley said, “What really got me back into racing was that vintage Jaguar. What’s fun about vintage is not only can you still get serious and run for a championship, but the cars that we grew up with and raced back when I [was] first serious about racing you can still engineer. And in order to win and to be fast, it’s not just about being a great driver — you’ve got to have a great car. The fun part for me has always been tuning to get the car to do everything that it’s capable of doing.”
Closing One Chapter While Penning a New One
As Holley is retiring as CEO from a near 40-year stint at one business that he successfully grew into a billion-dollar RIA firm, he shared that he’s soon to open his dealership, Holley Motor Sport, LLC, up at the Motor District development in Westfield.
“I have an 11,000-square-foot garage for my collection,” Holley said. “And I’m fortunate to have a wife who lets me have twice as much garage as house. I’ve had fun buying and selling some cars from my collection, and my good friend is the owner of the distribution network for all things Superformance and Shelby Legendary cars. So, I am opening up a dealership for Superformance and Shelby Legendary cars in one of the Motor District retail commercial buildings, which has just started construction. I hope to be there by the end of December, and we’ll probably have an open house next spring .”