The saga of the Hostetler’s Hudson Auto Museum concludes August 4 when Worldwide Auctioneers has been contracted by the town of Shipshewana, Indiana, to sell what is considered the world’s best and largest collection of Hudson, Essex, Terraplane, Ralton and Dover cars and trucks.
The auction will be held at the museum building in the northern Indiana town.
“This is one of the most impressive and impactful collections you’ll ever see — there are so many one-off and scarcely seen examples,” John Kruse of Worldwide Auctioneers said in the news release. “We’re honored to have been entrusted with the sale of such a matchless collection.”
The auction will include around 60 vehicles and will liquidate the museum’s collection, Worldwide said, adding that those vehicles range from a 1909 Model 20 to a 1956 Hornet, and include a one-off 1928 Murphy-bodied town car, 1917 Shaw Special built on a Duesenberg chassis, and a 1951 Hornet convertible.
The museum collection is based on cars collected by Eldon Hostetler, a local resident and successful inventor who grew up on an Amish farm but was fascinated by the motorcars that drove past. As soon as he was old enough, Hostetler secured his driver’s license and bought a second-hand 1938 Hudson.
“I have had good fortune in my life, which made it possible to collect old Hudson cars,” Hostetler wrote before his death in 2016. He held 65 patents, among them those for poultry feeding and watering systems manufactured by his Ziggity Systems Inc.
Hostetler donated his car collection to the town so it could add a car museum to its list of tourist attractions based on its Amish and Mennonite heritage. His widow, Esta, died in 2017 and there was an almost immediate move to close the museum, which was being underwritten by a motel tax.
Various efforts attempted to find new funding, but earlier this year the town and museum board decided not to re-open the facility when the new tourist season began and to sell the contents at auction.
Worldwide Auctioneers stages auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona; Texas; and Monterey (Pacific Grove), California; and is based in Auburn, Indiana, not far from Shipshewana.