A gift of adaptability, talent, mechanical aptitude

Mentors from his youth fueled the passion local man has for his multitude of hobbies

It takes two to hold a NASCAR trophy. Billy and Gina Davis, of Richmond, hold Billy’s father’s 1953 NASCAR Missouri State Champion trophy. His father was known as “Little Willie” when he raced at Richmond Speedway. (Photo by Liz Johnson/Richmond News)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

Extraordinary, adaptability, mechanical aptitude, talent, skills, an artist. These are words some have used to describe Richmond native Billy Davis.

Davis is humble about these descriptions, applying most of the credit to the men who mentored him in his youth, his father’s mechanical ability and the skills with which he was born.

“He’s an all-around talented auto-body guy,” said Mike Johnson, a friend of Davis. “He can do it all. He can repair any kind of damage – he’s also a paint specialist.”

Johnson is mostly referring to Davis’ day job as a collision specialist at Gregg’s Collision in Higginsville. His skill with repairing cars means he often receives requests from Gregg’s customers to do their repairs.

However, any task Davis sets his mind to, he has been able to accomplish – often on the first try – and if not the first, then just a few tries more. He enjoys painting cars, working on cars, building models, quilting and playing guitar, just to name a few of his hobbies.

Childhood mentors

Davis lived next door to Ross Tractor and Bill French Auto Body when he was growing up in the 1970s. Davis said he hung around both shops and got interested in cars.

“I’d be there to the wee hours of the morning working on the cars with those guys,” he said. “I lived just next door, so my mother wasn’t worried about me at all.”

Ross got into the demo derbies, so it was a natural transition for Davis to help. At the age of about 11 or 12, Davis would move the cars around and load them.

“I just loved it,” he said. “They were good to me (Ross and French), and they let me hang around and taught me things.”

The complete story is in the Friday, September 8, 2017 Richmond News.

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