AUBURN — John Kruse doesn’t try to hide his enthusiasm about Worldwide Auctioneers’ 14th annual The Auburn Auction this weekend.
“I believe we’ve got the highest-quality offering that we have presented here in Auburn,” said Kruse, a co-principal owner of the company. “No one has chosen to sell cars like this in Auburn in 20 years.”
The auction in Kruse Plaza south of Auburn begins with a memorabilia sale Friday afternoon and concludes with bidding on 90 vehicles Saturday at 5 p.m.
“We’re talking seven figures of memorabilia and some really important, special signs and other unique pieces,” Kruse said about Friday’s sale.
For Saturday, he said, “We have an incredible lineup of classic cars. … We’ve got over 40 cars that would qualify to be part of the Classic Car Club of America — and just some killer stuff.”
Classics for sale include the hometown-favorite Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs built by Auburn Automobile Co., as well as Packards and Cadillacs.
From the same 1930s era and Art Deco inspiration as the classics, a curvy 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Coupe with a roll-top sliding roof ranks as one of the show’s headliners.
Stylish speed will share the auction spotlight, topped by a1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe CSX 2469, previously owned and driven by Carroll Shelby and also piloted by racing stars including Phil Hill.
Leading a lineup of vintage open race cars is an innovative 1937 Miller-Gulf racer designed by legendary Indianapolis 500 car builder Harry Miller. Kruse said it is “the most complete, original Miller race car, we believe, in the world.”
A 1969 Dodge Charger “General Lee” will sell without reserve to benefit the nonprofit J. Kruse Education Center & Career Coaching Academy based at Kruse Plaza. The Charger is one of only 12 licensed by Warner Brothers Studios to promote “The Dukes of Hazzard” TV series and is signed by stars John Schneider, Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach and other cast members.
Saturday’s vehicle sale will start at 5 p.m., an hour earlier than in previous years, to accommodate a slightly longer-than-usual list of 91 lots.
The event will begin with bidding on the 36th annual Classic Car Quilt made by the local Retired Senior Volunteer Program, which this year has a 9/11 theme, followed by six vintage motorcycles.
“The value of the cars we’re offering is higher than it has been in the past,” Kruse said. He credits that to the consignors’ confidence in Worldwide and the mystique of Auburn’s history as a builder of classic cars and the birthplace of collector-car auctions.
“I didn’t know if Auburn could ever have a magic like it used to, but I’m feeling that this year,” Kruse said. “I’m pretty optimistic about — and committed to — making sure Auburn, Indiana, not only stays on the map, but is rightfully and continually recognized as the classic car capital of the world and one of the highlights of the annual auction calendar.”