|By Pete Prunkl
ABINGDON, Va. — Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice, but that rule doesn’t apply to car collections. Two groups of classic cars, signs, gas pumps, toy cars and petroliana from two acquaintances were consigned to Alan Shope’s A-OK Auction Gallery for his Feb. 16 auction. “It is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” said Shope. One collection was from a gentleman in his 80s who was downsizing; the other was a portion of the estate of the late Bobby Eades, a Washington County teacher who restored antique cars as a hobby. The dueling collections drew other vehicle consignments.
Fifteen vintage cars and trucks dominated preview bidding and the sale itself. On auction day, on-site attendance swelled to 250 with Bobby Eades’ family and a representative from the downsizing octogenarian in the house. Floor and internet bidders duked it out over everything on four wheels with a Dodge and Chevy leading the pack. Estimates seemed sky high for the 2002 Dodge Viper (est. $40,000/$60,000) and the 1957 Chevy 210 with an LS small block Corvette engine (est. $50,000/$75,000), but an internet search revealed that Shope’s estimates were on the money for both vehicles.
The Dodge stalled at $38,000 and Shope worked hard to move it up to its low estimate, but the Viper wouldn’t budge. With a 15 percent buyer’s premium, the price came to $43,700. The 1957 Chevrolet 210 erupted in a battle between the internet and a floor bidder. The internet bidder got it for $42,550, under the money for a pristine 210. All sale prices quoted include a winner’s 15 percent buyer’s premium.
The top truck of the sale was a pristine two-tone gray 1954 Chevrolet model 3100 side-step pickup. Checking the internet, few 3100s had the side-mounted spare tire. An internet bidder won this beauty for $33,350.
The only other vehicle to sell for more than $30,000 was a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T with rear-end racing stripe, vinyl top and 350 horses under the hood. The last $4,000 was a two-way battle between a rapid response bidder and one more cautious. The R/T sold for $39,387..
The 274-lot sale was more than four wheels and good paint. The most spectacular non-auto consignment was a .38 Special Colt Python Target pistol engraved by the late Ken Hurst in October 1985. It came with a custom-made presentation box and Hurst’s signature card. The great Virginia engraver died in November 2018. The Colt sold to the internet for $15,870.
The sale’s top gravity-fed gas pump was a 120 inch Sinclair Dino with replaced globe and glass. It sold to a bidder for $2,875. The sale’s top computing gas pump was a circa 1938 Gilbarco model 96 for Fire Chief. The 88-inch pump sold for $2,990.
The top dollar gas station signs were practically a tie. The leader by a scant $115 was a stylized diamond Texaco double-sided porcelain sign that sold for $3,450. A shade behind the leader was a circular 1958 two-sided Texaco dealer sign that measured a whopping 6 feet across. It sold for $3,335.
The sale contained at least one potential sleeper. A boy’s Spaceliner bike made for Sears by Murray during the 1964-1968 period had been ridden hard. The poor condition Spaceliner sold for $57.50. In better shape, it might have brought $,1200. The futuristic bike sprang from the creative mind of Viktor Schrekengost (1906-2008), the industrial designer responsible for the iconic electric blue Cowan Pottery Jazz Bowl, the Murray Pedal Pursuit Plane and the White cab-over-engine truck.
For more information on A-OK Auction Gallery, call (276) 676-0009 or visit the website, www.aokauctiongallery.com.