Dates have been announced for the auction of Ronald Hackenberger’s massive vehicle collection.
An open house, viewing and meet-and-greet with Ron and Eunice Hackenberger is scheduled from noon until 7 p.m. Friday, July 14 in Norwalk. The auction will take place Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16, with with doors opening at 9 a.m. each day. Those interested can request an auction list to see the car lineup.
The auction is open to anyone who loves old cars and trucks, and — according to advertising literature — “wants to give the Hackenbergers’ treasures a good home.”
In late June, the Reflector published a story about Hackenberger’s plans after a fence went up around the previously empty lot and cars began to be lined up, raising the curiosity of passing motorists on busy U.S. 250.
In the January/February issue of Discover Norwalk Magazine, Don Hohler wrote a feature story about the upcoming auction.
About 700 vehicles, including many cars, trucks and tractors, will be part of the auction. Some are rare, others vintage and a few one-of-a-kind. Horse-drawn wagons, buggies and bumper cars will be auctioned as well. Everything will be sold at no reserve.
The vehicles are being stored at a number of area venues. Some of the cars and trucks are on display in the parking lot for a Milan Avenue building that housed several businesses — department stores Cook’s and Rink’s, as well as Norwalk Bargain Center and Old Towne Windows — before sitting empty for years.
Hackenberger has contracted with Minnesota-based VanDerBrink Auctions, which is owned by vintage car sales specialist, Yvette VanDerBrink. She is working closely with a Cleveland-based firm, JF Marketing/Auction & Real Estate Services, owned by John Fraelich, in the cataloging of roughly 800 items.
It hasn’t been a simple process. Most of the cars Hackenberger picked up over the years have out-of-state titles, so they’re being retitled in the State of Ohio. According to the state website, each vehicle has to be individually inspected and have a fee paid. Although the inspectors are able to do a hundred or so cars at a time, the process took several months.
The collection includes more than 250 made by Studebaker. There are other American classics such as Hudsons, Kaisers and Packards. There are foreign-made vehicles, including British and Italian roadsters and French cars such as Citroen DSs and 2CVs. And there are tiny cars, such as Crosleys, a Goggomobil, Honda N600s and Z600s and an Isetta. Hackenberger also is auctioning a DeLorean and a Bricklin SV-1. Hackenberger has a website with pictures of the vehicles and a link to request a catalog.
Hackenberger didn’t originally plan to auction off his collection of classic cars. For the 40 years he spent collecting them, what he really wanted to do was build a car museum.
However, as he told Discover Norwalk Magazine, Hackenberger purchased the former Outlet Mall in Avery just before the recession started, resulting in a big financial hit. That is part of the reason for the auction.
“I am now in my 80s — still in good health, but nevertheless in my 80s, Hackenberger told Discover Norwalk. “I just want to see what the Dodge Big Horns, the DeLorean and the Bricklin will fetch. And, don’t forget about the Studebakers. I must have 250 of them in my collection and that includes a restored Studebaker Conestoga Wagon that hauled flour between Baltimore and York, Pa., a Stude Buggy, a Stude sleigh and a Stude wicker cart — all in mint condition when I bought the collection as a package deal in New Jersey for $5,000.
“It is going to be gratifying to see pieces like those go to owners who will have as much fun bidding in June as I did in buying them over the last 40 years.”