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.
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.) 2x12 screw-type jackstands.
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.
If you enjoy shop signs and more, check out our selection from The Busted Knuckle Garage at ShopOldCarsWeekly.com.
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