1947 Indian Chief motorcycle rides off with the top bid at VanDerBrink’s Hackenberger auction

In a sea of cars that actually included a couple of sea-worthy vehicles, a motorcycle stole the spotlight at VanDerBrink Auctions’ two-day, two-location, no-reserve auction in Norwalk, Ohio, over the weekend.

The disbursement of Ron Hackenberger’s massive collection included 700 cars, trucks, vans, buses, motorcycles, scooters, tractors, bumper cars, and horse-drawn buggies. The total for cars, trucks, and motorcycles sold was $1.67 million. The overall total, including tractors, buggies, and memorabilia sold, was about $2 million.

A lifelong enthusiast, Hackenberger accumulated items for decades and dreamed of opening a museum one day. His plans never reached fruition, however, so he decided to part with the majority of his collection. Hackenberger’s first three cars were Studebakers—a 1948 Champion, 1952 Champion, and 1956 Golden Hawk—and his love for the brand never waned. More than 200 pre- and post-war Studebakers were offered. Beyond those Indiana-based Studebakers, Hackenberger’s collection was incredibly diverse and included milk trucks, ambulances, limousines, muscle cars, sports cars, three-wheelers, and even a couple of amphibious Amphicar 770s.

One thing that all of the auction vehicles seemed to have in common was their condition. Many of those sold on Saturday were running project cars at best, while Sunday’s lineup was full of vehicles that looked to be parts cars. The old phrase “ran when parked” was used frequently in the auction catalogue. That meant that buyers looking for a cheap project were spoiled for choice. The average sale price was barely $4,000, and many hammered at less than half that.

The top sale of the auction was a restored 1947 Indian Chief with original sidecar that went for $37,800, even though it reportedly hadn’t seen the road in 15 years. The top selling automobile was a 1965 Amphicar 770 at $31,500; another much-rougher example sold for $13,650. Other notable sales on the high end included a 1971 Citroen DS for $9,450, a very rough 1954 Kaiser Darrin Roadster for $21,000, a decent 1963 Studebaker Avanti for $15,225, a very rough 1949 Tatra T600 Tatraplan for $23,100, a 1967 Porsche 912 for $26,250, and a 1958 Packard Supercharged Hawk for $19,950. Prices include a 5-percent commission.

Otherwise, there truly was something for just about everyone. There were microcars and small cars from Crosley, Metropolitan, Reliant, King Midget, Bantam and Vespa; British sports cars; Japanese Datsuns and Hondas; French Citroëns and Panhards; and German Borgwards. There were also plenty of unusual American automobiles, including Checker limousines and wagons, firetrucks, DIVCO milk trucks, and orphan cars from Packard, DeSoto, Hudson, and Nash.

The overall top 5:

  1. 1947 Indian Chief with sidecar sold for $37,800
  2. 1965 Amphicar Model 770 sold for $31,500
  3. 1969 Jaguar E-Type Roadster sold for $31,500
  4. 1938 Studebaker pickup sold for $31,500
  5. 1955 Ford Thunderbird sold for $26,250
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