On the last Saturday in August, the family of the late car collector Harold LeMay enlisted Mather Auctioneers to sell off some more automobiles that they didn't want or need. Like any good community garage sale, some other people were allowed to sell their offerings, as part of the day's proceedings.
The community here were automotive enthusiasts, especially those interested in vintage machines. On the grounds of the Marymount Event Center in Spanaway, Washington, several car clubs and a vintage trailer club, displayed the pride and joy of their members; they also was a swap meet and an opportunity to tour the 500 vintage vehicles owned by the family, along with an auction that could rightfully be called a garage sale.
The crowd of spectators held 211 people registered to bid. Another 12, not in attendance, bid using the Internet. They had their pick from 67 vehicles that ranged from 1959 FIAT multipla van to a rare 1921 Armleder KB111 heavy duty truck.
This was a crowd of committed vintage automotive hobbyists, rather than the speculators you'd find at some of the other more glitzy auctions. These were people who carefully looked everything over, that they were considering bidding upon; estimating in their minds how much time would be involved in restoring a car with no interior left, or whether they'd have to bear the cost of rechroming a bumper.
Preceding the cars and trucks were 21 lots that of parts, tools. A large plastic Texaco service station sign, which looked to be from the 1970s, sold for $200, after the bidding commenced on the cars, just because it was hung up at the end of the first row of them.
The first automobile offered was a 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 two door hardtop in good, original condition; the drivetrain was reportedly matching numbers. That helped it sell for a bid of $9,000 (plus the 10 percent buyer's fee accessed on all vehicles sold). It was followed by a 1979 Chevrolet Camaro coupe, again all original, in mostly good condition, sold at a bid of just $3,000. Then, bidding went back up, with a very nice 1946 Chevrolet four door sedan resto-rod, powered by a late model, overhead valve V8 of indeterminate displacement; sold at a bid of $11,000.
Stepping outside the open building where the aforementioned cars were housed, auctioneer Rick Little continued with an arcane 1960 NSU Sport Prinz coupe, powered by a two-cylinder engine. It had seen better days and might have been bought, for a bid of just $1,000, as a parts car. The buyer wasn't saying.
The 1959 FIAT Multipla series 600 van that sold next, for just a $2,050 bid, was suitable for only a parts donor car, or a vocational-technical school project. The buyer didn't say.
Next came a 1956 Dodge Royal four-door sedan that reportedly ran (but wasn't started). The odometer reading was 79,000 miles and from the looks of the car, those might have been actual miles. Painted two shades of blue, it drew a lot of interest, with bidding - and the sale - stopping at $4,750.
The Dodge was followed by a 1964 Chevrolet Impala two-door hardtop, which certainly looked as if it could run, as reported; however, it was slightly modified with chrome, aftermarket wheels with knock-offs. Up front, inside, were bucket seats. The transmission was an automatic. Bidding stopped with a sale at $7,500.
A 1948 Studebaker Champion convertible from the front three-quarter view. Looked at from the rear, the lack of an interior and a top were obvious; but the body was straight and the panel gap was good. (Photos by Terry Parkhurst)
Then the crowd engulfed a rare piece of Americana: a 1948 Studebaker Champion, two-door convertible. While it looked complete, save for the lack of most of the interior and a top, it was unknown when it had last been run. But as the auctioneers say, where are you going to find another? Studebakers are a bit of an acquired taste and the bidding, as well as the condition of this car reflected that. It sold at a bid of just $3,750.
The next offering was a 1962 Mercury Colony Park four-door station wagon. Painted light blue, with a white top and fake wood on the side, its blue interior looked well perserved and original. It was a good, solid looking car but its mechanical condition wasn't known; so it sold for a bid of just $2,500.
But it was Lot #37, a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado two-door convertible, for which the most money was paid.
The Eldorado was in decent shape and the chrome looked, presentable. Notable was the fact that the engine was a 305 horsepower, 365 cubic inch V8 engine, topped by dual four barrel carburetors. Altogether, it helped sell the Cadillac for a bid of $16,500, despite no word on when it was last r
That help bump up the 1954 Cadillac Eldorado two door convertible, sitting just next to the first Caddy. It was missing a headlight, and the engine was a 230 horsepower, 331 cubic inch V8; but it still sold at a bid of $13,000.
Another convertible, a few rows over, showed how interested the bidders here were in post-WWII American convertibles. Lot #55, a 1949 Chevrolet Deluxe two-door convertible, drew bidding between a few bidders who had their eye on it. The front seats were reduced to mostly wicker basket status, the top was gone and the last time the car had been run was unknown. Despite all that, the winning bid of $10,500 went to a man whose wife held up his bidder's pass to enter that bid.
Reflective of the fact that Harold LeMay was as interested in trucks as automobiles, there were noteworthy and rare trucks offered. These included some machines that didn't start out as trucks, such as a 1924 Hubmobile.
The Hubmobile, equipped with its original four-cylinder engine was questionable as to its value as a truck; nonetheless, it sold for a bid of $2,250, not including the Manley three-and-a-half ton capacity wrecking crane in the bed, fabricated in part with wood. The crane sold for a bid of $700, possibly to the new owner of the Hubmobile.
But all the other trucks were outside, setting nestled next to trees, where they'd been for years, due to their size. The first one to be offered was a 1952 International L-185 fire pumper; sold at a bid of just $1,800; after a 1963 Chevrolet Corvair quickly sold for $1,700 bid.
Auctioneer Rick Little and Harold Mather (sitting down in the small tractor used to move the podium) take a break from selling trucks outside, to sell a 1960 Dodge station wagon (foreground) for just $100. Such cars are usually bought as donor parts cars for others undergoing restoration. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)
That's when a rare 1921 Armleder KB111 truck, comprised of just a remaining cab and chassis (with engine) sold for $1,300. Four trucks sold after that: a 1960 Ford pickup truck with an American Motors engine of indeterminate displacement at a bid of $1,000; a 1952 International L-160 stake bed farm truck at a bid of $1,650; a 1977 Chevrolet 1/2 ton, fitted with a short wide box at a bid of just $1,000; and finally, a 1926 Chevrolet truck at a bid of $1,200.
Sold earlier, with just photos of them inside the building where the cars were offered, were a huge 1966 Mack B75 diesel truck for just $900 and a 1925 Pierce-Arrow tow truck for a bid of $1,750. None of the trucks were running.
The remaining 34 offerings were a potpouri of autos, trucks - some just in pieces - a 16 foot ski boat with trailer, two vintage tractors and a hearse. One of those tractors was a 1926 Cletrac, complete and seemingly restorable, that sold for a bid of just $500.
Some cars were setting next to assemblages of related spare parts, and so, were sold as one lot; despite having originally been listed as separate lots. For example, a complete 1941 Ford coupe was sold with a spare front clip and two hoods, for a total of just $500 (plus 10 percent buyer's fee). Then, 10 cars later, a 1947 Pontiac two-door fastback and front clip, top and four doors for a '47 Pontiac, became one lot and all sold for just $700 (plus the same buyer's fee).
Once in a while, a bidder would have picked out what he wanted and just stood by it, awaiting the car or truck to come up for sale. That's what happened with a 1960 Cadillac hearse. As soon as auctioneer Rick Little started his chant, one bidder standing against the wall of a shack where the hearse had been parked for years, put his bidder's number up in the air and took it down only once or twice, to mull things over; and then, he put it up in the air until his last bid of $1,900 ensured it was his.
The 1960 Cadillac hearse - the only hearse offered - that one dedicated bidder paid $1,900 plus buyer's fee to own. (Photo by Terry Parkhurst)
The last vehicle to be offered was a huge 1951 GMC one-ton stack bed grain truck. Complete, it was anyone's guess how long it'd had been since it was run; however, that didn't stop someone from bidding $1,800 to own it. No word on how he got it home. -- Terry Parkhurst