Collector’s 700-car stash goes on the block
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Most of us are natural-born pack rats. At some point in our lives, we've collected things such as coins, comics, bottles or baseball cards.
It seems that the habit of collecting is an essential human trait. That clearly is the case for Ron Hackenberger, an 80-year-old retired real estate agent from Norwalk, Ohio, who has spent half his life assembling a collection of more than 700 wheeled vehicles — cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors, buses, wagons and buggies.
About 350 of these Litestar Pulses were produced from 1984 to 1990. (Image: VanDerBrink Auctions)
His plan to build a museum for the collection went south with the recession in 2008 and the ensuing real estate market collapse. That setback, coupled with the lack of storage space and his advancing age, prompted Hackenberger to put the collection up for auction.
Slated for the weekend of July 14-16, it promises to be the most colossal used car sale in Ohio history. And it just might be worth the trip to check it out.
Need to make a delivery? Try one of these Divco trucks. (Image: VanDerBrink Auctions)
Hackenberger's fascination with cars began at age 15 when he acquired a 1948 Studebaker — a bullet-nosed beauty that he regarded as an automotive masterpiece. His interest in the innovative designs from Studebaker, America's leading independent carmaker from the early 1900s until its demise in 1966, led Ron to add a 1956 Golden Hawk to his stable — and then a Lark and an Avanti, and so it went.
Hackenberger was hooked. And with the success of his real estate business, he was able to buy vehicles as he'd come across them. Studebakers were the mainstay of his growing collection (he now owns 250 of them), but he was always on the lookout for rare and unusual vehicles — as he puts it, "something that you wouldn't see every day."
President Lyndon B. Johnson owned an Amphicar like this one and would play tricks on his unsuspecting friends by driving the amphibious car straight into the water. (Image: VanDerBrink Auctions)
Most of the vehicles set to go on the auction block certainly fit that description. Showcasing Hackenberger's love for the unusual is a collection of micro cars such as the Crossley, Goggomobil, Isetta, Honda N600, King Midget and an extremely rare Czech Tatra. Other foreign marques in the collection include Citroën, Peugeot, Fiat, MG, Jaguar, Borgward and Porsche.
The collection includes foreign marques, like this Citroën. (Image: VanDerBrink Auctions)
Vintage American classics, however, make up the bulk of the collection. Many, such as Hudsons, Packards, Kaisers, Henry J's and DeSotos are, like the Studebakers, no longer produced.
This Kaiser Darrin is one of only 435 produced by the company in 1954. (Image: VanDerBrink Auctions)
Hot rodders and customizers will have a chance to bid for Hackenberger's roster of muscle cars, including Mustangs, Camaros, Dodge Chargers and Plymouth Barracudas. Sure to attract some aggressive bidding as well are a Bricklin SV-1 and a DeLorean DMC-12 gullwing coupe.
More interested in two-wheeled vehicles? Try this 1949 Harley Davidson. (Image: VanDerBrink Auctions)
Hackenberger has contracted with Minnesota-based VanDerBrink Auctions, owned by vintage car sales specialist Yvette VanDerBrink. She in turn is working with Cleveland's JF Marketing/Auction Services to catalog the vehicles and conduct the auction.
The auction will be held onsite in Norwalk, Ohio, beginning at 9 a.m. on July 14, 15 and 16, and online as well — so prospective buyers across the world will have a chance to bid. Everything is to be sold "No Reserve."
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