It might seem a daunting challenge, three major collector car auctions in the span of five weeks.
“When you are an auctioneer, you can’t have too many auctions,” contends John Kruse, co-principal of Worldwide Auctioneers, which just finished it sale August 4 at the Hostetler Hudson museum in Indiana, and heads to the West Coast for its August 23 at Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in northern California, before returning to its hometown of Auburn, Indiana, for its annual auction during the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival weekend.
“I have a framed advertisement from the 1970s where my father, Dennis, conducted 30 real estate auctions in 30 days,” Kruse continued.
“Doing a bunch of auctions is a bunch of work, and collector car auctions certainly take a little bit more work than other types of auctions, but it’s just more exciting and more fun.”
John Kruse and his business partner Rod Egan spread their geographic reach two years ago with their first January sale in Scottsdale, Arizona. Last year they did their inaugural sale during Monterey Car Week. They also do an annual sale in Texas, but it also changed venues recently, moving in 2017 to the Dallas/Fort Worth area from Houston.
Kruse admits that the 3-in-5 challenge is being made easier by the venues in which the auctions will be held, and by the Worldwide staff; “when you have great people, you figure out a way to do it,” he said.
The sale of the 69 cars in the Hostetler Hudson museum is a single-consignor event that will spread throughout the entire community building in Shipshewanna, Indiana.
In Pacific Grove, he added, Worldwide has found a quaint community that already was the site of several free car shows during Monterey Car Week and was willing to work an auction into its car-week calendar. This year, parking will be expanded for auction attendees while maintaining coastal parking for sightseers, and the golf course has made changes to the 18th fairway and its golf cart path to enhance the showroom space within the auction tents, Kruse added.
Kruse said auction attendees also will appreciate that three new restaurants, including a pub-style facility, have opened recently in Pacific Grove.
But just a week after the Pacific Grove auction, the Worldwide team will do its annual Auburn sale back in Indiana.
“Fortunately for us, being based in Auburn, we’re coming home, and that provides a huge benefit,” Kruse said.
Another hometown benefit is a close working relationship with the auction venue, the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the U.S., which is housed in the historic former L-29 Cord, Experimental and Service buildings for the Auburn Automobile Company. Knowing the auctioneers’ schedule, NATMUS staff and volunteers moved their vehicles to storage early to make room for the auction consignments, many of which will be rolled into place before the Worldwide team heads to the West Coast.
Kruse said that Worldwide’s focus in Pacific Grove will be on six-figure vehicles, especially those in the $200,000 to $800,000 price range.
For example, he noted a 1967 Lamborghini 400 GT 2+2 on the docket, with Superleggera coachwork by Touring, one of 247 produced and being offered — for the first time in more than 40 years — and in highly original condition, and “a car anybody would be happy to own.”
Also on the docket are the likes of a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham sport convertible, a 1961 Jaguar E-type Series 1 roadster and a 1968 one-owner version as well, 1916 and 1927 Locomobiles (the 1927 was purchased new by Cliff Duran, son of GM founder Billy Durant, the 1916 is 1 of 2 surviving and won the FIVA Preservation Award in 2017 at Pebble Beach), and a 1966 Shelby GT350 being offered for the first time since the mid-1980s.
The Auburn docket will be one of Worldwide’s largest ever.
“Normally we have a 70 to 80 car auction,” Kruse said. “This year we have 110 cars.”
The reason is that several collectors have consigned multiple vehicles to the auction, including 24 cars from the Jack & Donna Steele Pontiac Collection, all to be offered at no reserve. The vehicles include a 1973 Firebird Trans Am HD-455, one of only seven in Brewster Green with a 4-speed transmission; a 1962 Catalina Super duty 421 factory drag racer; and a 1957 Star Chief Custom Safari two-door station wagon with Tri-Power 347cid V8.
The Godbey Family Collection is sending 43 vehicles, again at no reserve. Kruse said five of the vehicles have been in the family’s museum since it opened in the 1950s. The Godbey cars include a 1934 Delahaye 134 with Sical coachwork and vehicles as different as a 1979 Autobianchi A112 Abarth and a 1998 Ferrari 550 Maranello and a 1931 Ford Model A sedan delivery and a 2004 Ford GT confirmation prototype.
From Florida comes the John Wolsiefer Sr. Collection that includes the 1950 Oldsmobile Super 88 convertible that Wolsiefer bought when he was in high school in 1953.
Also on the Auburn docket are a 1979 Mercedes-Benz 300 TD station wagon formerly owned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s custom-made 1965 Morris Mini Cooper.
The complete auction dockets can be found on the Worldwide Auctioneers website