First look: Hartung Auction photos

Old Cars Weekly auction reporter Ron Kowalke was heading for the Lee Roy Hartung Collection Auction in Glenview, Ill., about the same time we returned from the Nov. 2 auction preview. Ron will be providing the prices realized very soon, but in the meantime here’s a peek at this unique accumulation of cars, parts, toys and all sorts of other collectibles

Lee Roy Hartung was born sometime in the mid 1920s and passed away last May. His legacy bears out the oft-heard phrase “a lifetime of collecting.”

Everyone at the preview agreed that Auctions America did a fantastic job of organizing this massive collection for sale. Originally, everything you see in these photos was packed inside the single building with the Edsel sign. The AA staff spent three months arranging the goodies into lots for collectors to bid on.

The work involved in setting up the sale included clearing the land of brush and trees, removing 5 ton of scrap metal, making temporary roads through the muddy grounds and erecting gigantic tents for the display of vehicles and the actual bidding gallery. All of the license plates you see on the walls in the photos were taken off the building rafters and mounted on plywood panels to be sold one panel at a time (rather than one plate at a time).

On preview days, the remote parking lots were clearly marked, the parking and shuttle services were free and everyone from the parking attendants, to the shuttle drivers to the AA staff at the auction site was courteous and helpful. Most impressed by the entire operation were local Chicago collectors who had known Lee Hartung and visited his museum. One of them, Nick Caruso, said that he was amazed how good a job Auctions America had done setting up this sale. “It is really amazing that they got all of this ready in such a short time,” he said.

This policeman greeted visitors at the main building. Lee Hartung’s dad was a policeman and he collected vintage police items. These old safety signs were sponsored by Pepsi-Cola and had the Pepsi name on the cast iron base.

Hundreds of thousands of parts were to be sold in lots like this one including a bright metal tire cover band and some vintage Cadillac parts still in their factory wrappers. Expect to see a lot of this at Chicago area swap meets.

Many of the collectible license plates and other items had connections to the “Windy City.” This sign was made for the Chicago Motor Club, which was a branch of the Automobile Association of America.

Somebody cut the hefty frame rails of a 1909 Cadillac to separate this engine from the car it came in and convert it to use as a stationary engine.

The blackout lights on this ’41 Ford suggest that members of the press were considered to be involved in an “essential occupation” during World War II. Wouldn’t this make a great Old Cars Weekly staff car?

One of the car stars of the show was this Edwards – one of a handful made. This started out as a racing version, rather than an Edwards America street car. Over the years it picked up a Jaguar drive train from Hal Ulrich.

The “finer junctiques” were in the large tent outside the bidder gallery. They included many Ford Model T’s and Model A’s, some special interest cars and a gaggle of very rare early motorcycles (and side cars).

This was not all of the Model As, but it was the better ones. Each license plate you see behind them was removed from the rafters and mounted on plywood panels by the hardworking Auctions America staff.

One of the ironies of this auction will probably be the fact that Lee Hartung tried to save many of his cars from use as hot rods, but in the end, the majority of them were best suited for that purpose. Here’s a few rodders will love.

Antique Automobile Club of America Steven L. Moskowitz got a kick out of the “We’ve Been to Hershey ’72!” sticker on this 1-ton truck That was this writer’s first Hershey and Steve said he thinks it was his first time at the show, too.

This is the building that originally held everything you see in these photos of the preview and much more. Over the years many collectors including Jay Leno and George Barris visited the Hartung Museum.


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3 thoughts on “First look: Hartung Auction photos

  1. dennis white

    used to receive magazine was very good info inside & enjoyed reading it. then recyled to local old folks home to the eldery gents they went crazy over the magazine .


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