Three generations of automotive dealers gathered on May 1, 2003, to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Clanton's Auto Auction in Darlington. The anniversary sale, the auction’s largest sale of the year, attracted more than 850 dealers and ran more than 2,000 vehicles across the auction block, selling more than 1,200.

The auction’s first sale ran 24 cars and sold 18. At the time, the one-lane operation was known as Dealers Motor Auction and was owned by J.C. Clanton, Sr., and J.P. Kilgo. When Kilgo died in 1947, J.C. Clanton, Sr. became the sole owner and changed the name to Clanton’s Auto Auction.

Clanton, Sr. is believed to be the first person in the auction industry to guarantee checks and titles.

In 1987, Ray Clanton and his brother J.C. Clanton, Jr., sold the auction to General Electric Capital. Four years later, Manheim Auctions purchased General Electric Capital. Ray Clanton stayed on as general manager of the auction.