You’ll never see VanDerBrink Auctions banging gavels in the tiny ballrooms of the Monterey Peninsula and slinging million-dollar cars left and right. You will, however, find Yvette VanDerBrink and her crew doing business in the farm fields, sand lots, and lumber yards of Middle America. We wouldn’t want it any other way.
Four years after more than 15,000 auto enthusiasts descended upon tiny Pierce, Nebraska, for the sale of 500 cars amassed by former Chevrolet dealer Ray Lambrecht, the Minnesota-based auction company is turning it up a notch.
This weekend, July 15–16, in Norwalk, Ohio, VanDerBrink will give literal meaning to the cliché, “There’s something for everyone,” when it auctions off Ron Hackenberger’s collection of more than 700 cars, trucks, vans, buses, motorcycles, scooters, tractors, bumper cars, and horse-drawn buggies. The no-reserve auction coincides with the Blue Suede Cruise vintage drag racing event at Summit Motorsports Park.
“While the Hackenberger Collection won’t offer the same number of 0-mile lots as we saw at VanDerBrink's 2013 Lambrecht Auction, there is certainly more variety,” says Brian Rabold, Hagerty’s vice president of valuation services. “This sale is guaranteed to draw bargain hunters from around the Midwest, as well as those who just want to witness the breadth of one man’s collection.”
Auction goers can preview the lots on Friday, July 14. The sale begins Saturday, July 15, at 9 a.m. at Summit Motorsports Park, before moving to the former Wolohan’s Lumber Yard on North Highway 250, just north of the Ohio Turnpike, on Sunday, July 16. Online bidding is also available.
Hackenberger, who owned a successful trucking business and was also a cattle rancher before retiring, began collecting vehicles in 1962 and planned to open a museum. But as the years passed, the cost of building a first-class facility to house his collection proved to be too much. “I’m over 80 years old. It’s time to move on and let somebody else enjoy them,” Hackenberger told the Toledo Blade. “I have owned them long enough.”
Hackenberger’s first three cars were Studebakers—a 1948 Champion, 1952 Champion, and 1956 Golden Hawk—and obviously his love for the brand never waned. Approximately 250 Studebakers are up for grabs, including a 1963 Avanti, a number of Presidents, Commanders, and Hawks, and several trucks, vans, and buses.
Among the more unusual automobiles being offered are a couple of Amphicar 770s, a gullwing-doored DeLorean DMC-12, and a similarly styled Bricklin SV-1. There’s also a Czech-built Tatra, German-manufactured Borgward Isabella and Bremen, and microcars like a BMW Isetta, Vespa 400, Trabant, and Goggomobil, as well as a number of Crosleys and Austin Bantams. Other automotive orphans include cars from Kaiser, Packard, Nash, Hudson, DeSoto, and Packard.
Big Three icons are included, too, from Ford Mustangs and Chevrolet Bel Airs to Plymouth Barracudas and Dodge Chargers. If you’re looking for luxury, you’ll find Cadillacs and Lincolns. Utility? There are military vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, hearses, and taxi cabs. And motorcycles—plenty of motorcycles—including a 1947 Indian Chief Roadmaster with sidecar and a 1949 Harley-Davidson.
Hackenberger says he isn’t sad to see the cars go—“they’re just iron”—but he did admit to the Blade that he can’t part with them all. He originally planned to keep 10 cars, but that number is now up to about 30.
Maybe one day we’ll see them in Monterey.