“Go West Young Man!” was not just a saying but the call to adventure, with hopes of starting a new life and blazing trails and starting a legacy. The Bullock family was no exception.
They started with many others in Nebraska near the Ogallala Nation at the end of the Texas Cattle Trail. Grant, Neb., was a railroad town and the area was full of colorful characters such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Custer, Indians, Texas cowboys and more, all looking for that brass ring. Guy Bullock saw an opportunity and grabbed it.
Guy Bullock was chairman of the county commissioners when the Perkins County Courthouse was built. He homesteaded and began farming land on the Stinking Water Creek next to the Texas Trail. It was mostly pasture and to survive in the dry arid area cattle were grazed to supplement the farm. He expanded business with Bullock Hardware Store and funeral home in Madrid, Neb., adding locations in Maywood and Imperial. The Bullock family and business started to grow and Guy’s three sons were involved.
Ward and Guy expanded the hardware/funeral business, later adding farm machinery, furniture, gas station, tank wagon, and over-the-road trucking. Noel Ernest was wild and full of adventure, racing cars and flying airplanes. Wayne was born in the second level of the hardware store and fit in a shoebox. That didn’t stop him from joining his brothers in their adventures.
Wayne, at a young age, helped at the farm, hardware store, funeral home and gas station later helping his brother Noel E. in 1933 build the Bullock Airport in Boulder City, Nev. Wayne got his pilot’s license at a young age in 1933. Bullock Airlines delivered mail and passengers with routes from hubs in Nevada in Los Angeles and in Mazatlán, Mexico. They were the first to fly tours over the Grand Canyon and the Hoover (Boulder) Dam and also flew 4-10 passenger charter trips (LA $20, Grand Canyon $15, Boulder Dam $2.50).
The automobile and airplanes were an important part of the Bullocks' lives. Noel E. hand-built his early race cars in Madrid, Neb., and barnstormed locally and in Florida. The Florida business contracted stunt flying jobs at $300 a day with movie producers. Noel E. had Bullock Boring Service and Tool & Die Shop at 1606 S Flower St., Los Angeles, which Wayne frequented. He supplied race cars and parts to racers at Banning and Ascot race tracks. Noel E. was an avid racer and did races all over Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota. He won the Pike’s Peak Race to the Clouds in 1922 (the winning car is on display at the Broadmoor Hotel museum in Colorado Springs) and was inducted into the Colorado and Nebraska Racing Hall of Fames. Wayne was very proud of his older brother and was deeply saddened when Noel E. was killed in a plane crash in 1934. With adventure came tragedy.
When Wayne was 19 years old he went to Omaha and acquired an Oldsmobile franchise starting his career in Madrid. After being in business a couple of years, General Motors visited Wayne and found out he was not yet 21 and old enough to have a franchise. He convinced them that if they continued to ship him the cars, he would continue to sell them.
During future years, Wayne added the Chevrolet franchise in 1936 and later added Pontiac and Buick in 1962. He also had the farm and raised registered Herefords. A prized bull named Nebraska Sam became the mascot for the dealership. Wayne also sold farm machinery and Oliver tractors and combines. The dirty ’30s and the Depression brought hardships, but that drive to succeed had Wayne running his own combine crew that went through the US from Texas to Canada to make ends meet. The new dealership with the current Art Deco Design was built in 1946 in Grant, Neb., and the grand opening was in 1947 right after the war – and is still there today.
Wayne’s son, Noel, was always at the dealership and helped on the farm. He had that same spirit of adventure, and there were stories that he would take a car off the lot for the weekend and bring it back with bald tires and the mechanics upon inspecting noticed another set of “defective tires” and replaced them. Noel graduated from high school in 1957, graduated from the University of Colorado in 1961 and returned to run the dealership. Grandpa Wayne enjoyed living life to the fullest and wasn’t going to miss a thing and spent a lot of time between Nebraska and California flying his newly acquired Bonanza airplane. Wayne and Noel had many connections in California, Colorado, and all over the US.
Noel received many sales records (almost every year for both cars and trucks) from GM in the ’60s and ’70s. One of the awards Noel’s son Scott is proud his dad won is the John DeLorean award (when DeLorean ran Pontiac) for selling the most 1965 GTO’s. Noel sold many rare muscle cars including one of the 108 built 1969 GTO Judge convertibles.
Soon his sons, Scott and Brett, grew up and were involved in the farming and car business. Brett was more your pickup truck guy and is active with the farming today and has expanded the farm to over 3,000 acres that their great grandpa started. Scott followed in his dad’s footsteps and had many cars through high school. One of his favorites was his personal 1961 Corvette. Scott also had that need for speed that was rooted in their family and did many road races and “test driving” cars off the lot.
The dealership thrived and Scott learned a lot from Grandpa Wayne, dad Noel, and mechanic Wes. In college in Boulder, CO Scott worked at one of the largest collector car dealerships ran by a good friend of his dad. Today Scott is planning on restoring the dealership for a museum. In 2002, the family ended their franchise with GM and still continues with used cars at the dealership their Grandpa Wayne started.
The family currently and always have bought, sold and restored classic cars (restoration emphasis 1985-1995). They have many of the cars they sold and have been traded back to them. There are many Bullock Scripts and stickers on cars in the collection. Hidden in the dealership are parts that date back to the 1930s from the dealership. Though they don’t have any cars that are left over new inventory, they have many NOS GM parts, along with used and 200+ collector cars from restored frame-off to restoration to project and parts cars.
The Bullock family has decided to sell their collection of cars along with many parts from the original dealership at auction on Sept. 6, 2014. VanDerBrink Auctions will conduct this auction and says there is something for everyone.
The Collection has everything from a 1959 Cadillac Convert, rare 1948 Olds Woodie Wagon, muscle cars, Model A Deluxe Pickup and more. All will be sold at no reserve.
The auction will be held at a building the family owns at the south end of Central or Hwy 61 & Hwy 23. Friday, Sept. 5, there will be all day preview of the 200+ collector cars and parts and Inventory Reduction auction of the late model used cars at the 740 Central Ave. dealership in the later part of Friday.
Plan to be on time, we are selling some of the best ones first. The auction starts at 9:30 Saturday Sept. 6 and it will be a big day. For more information, visit www.vanderbrinkauctions.com or call 605-201-7005. If you can’t come to the auction you can bid online at www.proxibid.com, but the parts will be for bidders at the auction.
Plan now to attend this auction, you won’t want to miss it!