Contents of long-closed Wisconsin service station auctioned

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Story and photos by Ron Kowalke

Opportunities to travel back in time do not exist except in fiction books and TV shows and movies. But on Sept. 10, in Mosinee, Wis., old car enthusiasts got the chance to enter a time-warp combination service station and repair garage that had been shuttered for decades, to bid at auction on its vintage contents of shop equipment, tools and automobilia and petroliana items.

The auction, presented by North Central Sales Auction company of Antigo, Wis., attracted approximately 280 on-site bidders. It was conducted on behalf of Alfred and Gertie Buelow, who operated the service station and repair facility since 1962. According to North Central Sales Auction officials, the facility, then operating as a Texaco-branded station, was closed sometime in the late 1970s and its contents remained largely intact for more than 30 years.

Vintage upright Lincoln Engineering Co. “Chassis Lubrigun,” one of a pair, the other being a near-match “Gear Lubrigun,” sold for $15 each.

Vintage upright Lincoln Engineering Co. “Chassis Lubrigun,” one of a pair, the other being a near-match “Gear Lubrigun,” sold for $15 each.

Vintage Hein-Werner rolling transmission jack sold for $185.

Vintage Hein-Werner rolling transmission jack sold for $185.

 

The day of the auction, the contents of the facility’s office, parts storage bins, double repair bays and outbuildings were organized outside the garage on tables or in rows on the ground. The station’s gasoline pumps had long ago been removed, offering plenty of room to display large and small items offered for sale to the highest bidder. Prominent vintage shop items included a rolling Hein-Werner Corp. (Waukesha, Wis.) transmission jack, a pair of Lincoln Engineering Co. (St. Louis) upright lubrication stands (one for chassis lubing and one for rear gear lubing) and a set of American Scale Co. (Kansas City, Mo.) 2×12 screw-type jackstands.

This nine-tiered Niehoff Automotive Products display shelf filled with NOS parts was sold as two lots. The NOS parts all sold for $165, while the shelving unit went for $225.

This nine-tiered Niehoff Automotive Products display shelf filled with NOS parts was sold as two lots. The NOS parts all sold for $165, while the shelving unit went for $225.

There were several automotive parts display units offered for sale, including a few that were filled with new-old-stock (NOS) parts. The auction also featured many petroliana items associated with service station operation, including tin signs, parts display cabinets, customer give-away items and shop repair manuals.

Officials of the North Central Sales Auction company told Old Cars Weekly that the Buelows were pleased with the results of the sale, and several of the automotive-related items brought stronger-than-expected money.

Monroe Shock Absorbers rolling display cabinet with swing-out glass door sold for $35.

Monroe Shock Absorbers rolling display cabinet with swing-out glass door sold for $35.

One of two identical parts display units offered, this Tech tire repair metal flip-front cabinet sold for $40. The same buyer bought both for $80.

One of two identical parts display units offered, this Tech tire repair metal flip-front cabinet sold for $40. The same buyer bought both for $80.

Vintage Bowes Seal Fast “Tirepair Sections” metal flip-front cabinet sold for $165.

Vintage Bowes Seal Fast “Tirepair Sections” metal flip-front cabinet sold for $165.

Vintage metal die-cut Willard Battery Cables pronged display unit sold for $140.

Vintage metal die-cut Willard Battery Cables pronged display unit sold for $140.

Flanged, metal, two-sided Grant battery sign sold for $80.

Flanged, metal, two-sided Grant battery sign sold for $80.

Set of seven cardboard office display signs, each with a unique graphic, sold for $35.

Set of seven cardboard office display signs, each with a unique graphic, sold for $35.

Vintage metal AC Spark Plug gasket dispenser sold for $65.

Vintage metal AC Spark Plug gasket dispenser sold for $65.

One of a pair of vintage American Scale Co. screw-type elevating jackstands sold for $35 each.

One of a pair of vintage American Scale Co. screw-type elevating jackstands sold for $35 each.

 

If you enjoy shop signs and more, check out our selection from The Busted Knuckle Garage at ShopOldCarsWeekly.com.

 

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