The old saying goes, “All it takes is one good idea to make it.” For Bob Regehr, it would be that one “big idea” that would change his life. As a kid we all remember jumping in one of those inflatables at the fair or a birthday party. But did you ever wonder who invented the bounce house? Read a bit further to find out.
Bob Regehr grew up on a farm near Hutchinson, Kansas where lessons of hard work were an everyday occurrence. Bob would take the work ethic he learned on the farm with him on his many ventures. As a boy, Bob loved cars and was fascinated with the designs and going fast. When he was 14 years old, he got his first car, a 1940 Mercury. Bob had a wild lacquered 2 -tone green paint job Merc with a custom tuck and roll interior. His friends referred to the car as “The Easter Egg.” Bob met his wife Judy in that car. If you ask his son Jeff, he swears he was conceived in that car. Bob never sold that first car. In fact, Bob never sold any of his cars, and the Merc it is still part of the collection.
Bob was always looking to make a fortune and headed to Denver, Colorado and tried his hand at selling Fords at a dealership. Bob thought selling Ford cars would be easy, but he found that being a salesman wasn’t the job that he was looking for. Bob headed back to Hutchinson, Kansas and started a full-service Texaco gas station. The gas stations not only supplied a good income, but a steady stream of fabulous cars. The income from the gas station started fueling Bob’s car hobby. Having the gas station was like having a rolling car show every day. Bob would often try to buy cars that he serviced at the station. One of those cars was the 1953 Buick Skylark convertible that will be sold at the upcoming October 24th auction. The owner was a lady who was a regular at the station. Quite often, Bob would ask to buy the car and she always said, “No.” One day she stopped by the station and told Bob she had sold the car. Bob was determined to own the Buick and tracked the car down in Hemmings Motor News and eventually bought the car. The car is in the collection with less than 50,000 miles on it.
Bob and Judy’s business grew as did the family. Four kids in all: Tracy, Kelly, Jeff, and Kristin. It was watching his son Tracy practice pole vaulting that Bob came upon that one "good idea" that would change his life. Bob had the idea of putting a dome over a trampoline so kids could jump inside. Bob took his idea and prototype to the 1968 Chicago World’s Fair and christened it the “Moon Walk.” It was the hit of the show. Bob charged 25 cents per kid to jump around in his “Moon-Walk.” When Bob realized he had made $1000 in a day, he knew that he had a hit. Bob received an order for two of his “Moon-Walks” and contracted a company in Wichita to make the first 2 units bringing his idea to life. He brought them to the customer hoping for $600 each. the sale surpassed his wildest dreams fetching $6000 each. That big idea started his successful venture. Bob sold and traveled with “The Original Moon-Walk” bounce house to carnivals along with the game we all remember, trying to climb that wiggly ladder to ring a bell. The “Moon-Walk” became a huge hit loved by everyone across the world. This one “good idea” gave Bob the money to buy more cars and various real estate ventures to store them.
1932 Fords were Bob’s passion, and he would buy up as many as he could find. That buying spree also pertained with any car that he, well, just liked. Bob was a private person and bought the cars and put them in buildings and rarely showed his collection outside of a few close friends. The Auction will be one of the first times that the public will see the collection in over 40 years. Luckily, Bob would have the kids wash and wax them even though not many people saw them. The kids remember that he would tell them, “Hey, don’t sweat on the chrome.” That hard work ethic was installed in all the kids and Bob wanted to make sure that they knew how to work. They were his little workers.
Bob Regehr sold the “Moon-Walk” business to his brother, and the money fueled his passion for old cars. Bob began briskly buying cars, going on car buying trips and attending swap meets. The 1932 Ford Hi-Boy hotrod that will be sold was used on many trips and even went to Pikes Peak. If you saw Bob, you would never know that he had a collection to envy. When Bob’s wife passed away it seemed to take away part of the joy of the collecting. Kelly, his daughter, came home to take care of her father and his business.
In 2009 the collection was featured in Hotrod magazine and the world got their first glimpse of the Bob Regehr Collection. At that time, it was comprised of over 200 vehicles that had been tucked away for more than 30 years. Bob’s health was failing, and he started to privately sell the cars. Kelly and a friend sold many, but it was a near sale of a 1932 that he said, “that was enough” and told Kelly to take him home. He told Kelly to hold an auction after he passed away because he couldn’t stand to watch any more of the cars leave. They closed the doors until Bob passed away.
Following their dad’s wishes, the family will sell the entire collection at auction on October 24, 2020 at the Kansas State Fairgrounds in Hutchinson, Kansas. It will be the first time in over 40 years that the public will get to see this private man’s amazing collection. This Kansas “barn find” has approx. 140 American classics, parts, and more. The collection has everything from Corvettes, Tri-Five Chevrolets including Nomads, Camaros and Cadillacs. The collection, of course, has 1932 Fords, Bob’s favorite. The grouping of almost 20 - 1932 Fords. There are 1932 sedans, coupe, cabriolet, and even 2, 1 of 884 made, 1932 B400 2dr. sedan convertibles that were embassy cars overseas. There are many ‘30s and ‘40s Fords in the collection. The collection is a grouping of restored cars, many original cars, and also projects. Of course, with any large collection, there is an assortment of early Ford parts as well.
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC will be selling the Regehr collection at the fairgrounds in a LIVE ONSITE auction with online bidding. There will be a preview of the rarely seen collection on October 23, 2020 from 10 to 6PM. The auction will start at 9AM on October 24, 2020 starting with a Model A’s and then those fabulous 1932 Fords and more amazing American classics. An assortment of parts will be after the cars for onsite bidders. This is an amazing collection and you won’t want to miss your chance to buy a part of the “Moon-Walk” Collection.
For a complete catalog, video, and more information www.vanderbrinkauctions.com or Call VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC at 605-201-7005. Plan now to attend this amazing auction and remember, “don’t sweat on the chrome.”
Yvette VanDerBrink- Auctioneer
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC
*As an Amazon Associate, Old Cars earns from qualifying purchases.