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The North Bend Eagle


Soukup auction in North Bend
A large crowd gathers around a 1936 Chrysler up for aution. It went for $28,000.

Soukup auction draws crowd from all over

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 6/6/06

They came from far and near, but those buying were more likely to come from far.

They all came for the auction of Harold Soukup’s collection of cars, car parts and toy semi-trucks. Soukup was born and raised in North Bend, but with his work he traveled all over the country, collecting Mopar (Chrysler’s motor parts division) items, Plymouth cars and anything to do with them. When he and his wife Leona moved back to North Bend in 1995, he stored his cars in a number of buildings around town and kept collecting.

After Harold passed away in January, Leona knew she couldn’t take care of his car collection and it was time to minimize.

“I wanted the cars to go to people who could take care of and appreciate them,” she said.

That brings us to a hot July Saturday – the temperature hovering at 96 degrees with a heat index of 115 – when the town of North Bend welcomed car hobbyists from all over. License plates on vehicles from Iowa, Colorado, Montana, Missouri, South Dakota, Georgia, Illinois, Wisconsin, California, Tennessee, Minnesota, Arkansas and more than 15 different Nebraska counties were seen around 7th and Chestnut.

Duaine Nelson came from Grand Island. He collects 1962-64 Chevorlets and came to see what the cars would bring. The 68-year-old found out about the sale in a magazine for car hobbyists.

Brian Hageman, 30, saw a poster about the auction at a swap meet in Wahoo. He describes himself as a car hobbyists, a “Dodge guy, Mopar guy.” He was looking for parts at a reasonable price.

“The parts are pretty reasonable,” Hageman said. “More than I’m willing to pay, but still a good price.”

Gil Kjos, 66, came from Sioux City to see the toy semi-trucks, which he collects. He owns more than 100 already and was planning to bid on a few in the Soukup collection. He predicted they would go for around $30.

“Used to be $10 to $15,” Kjos said, “ but you don’t see that any more.”
Kjos was correct in his guess, with the toys going for $12 to $140, with an average of about $30.

The auction was run by a Minnesota business Leona Soukup hired on the recommendation of a friend. The company used three auctioneers and three clerks during the day. Advertising was done in all major car magazines and Plymouth club newsletters as well as the internet. Before the cars started selling, there were more than 200 signed up to bid.

“That’s pretty good for the heat and more speciality cars,” clerk Judy VandenBosch said.

Daniel Wilson, 11, was at the auction with his dad, Dave. They came from Omaha but have connections to North Bend through Dave’s grandfather, John Bauer. In fact, it was his genealogy that led them to the sale. Dave’s mother, Shirley Wilson, was doing some family searching on the internet when she saw the sale mentioned.
Daniel bought license plates from 1932 and three seat belts for the 1955 Chevy he is restoring. His grandfather and dad also restore cars.

“I’ve been doing it since the day I was born,” Daniel said. “It’s in the blood.”

Betty Meays, 60, from Columbus, started restoring cars with her dad, Eldon Nadrchal, as a 14-year-old. She has five classic cars she is restoring and was buying books for a 1951 Plymouth coupe she is working on.

John Luxton and Rick Brorecht traveled 1,350 miles for the auction, driving in from Dundalk, Ontario, Canada.

Luxton, 70, a retired Chrysler dealer and Brorecht, 65, a retired trucker, saw the auction information on the internet and decided to make a trip out of it. They left home July 5, visited the Iola Car Show in Wisconsin and then headed to North Bend.
Luxton said they “left the girls at home” and are traveling in a 35-foot motor home that Brorecht made pulled by a semi-tractor.

The men like to buy and restore cars. Luxton is interested in Chrysler items and Brorecht likes newer Chevy stuff. They were planning to ship anything they bought back home.

“We should be selling rather than buying,” Luxton said with a smile.

Leona Soukup’s was pleased with the turnout, but her most prominent impression of the sale had nothing to do with the money or people it brought in.

“Hot,” she said. “It was unreal.”

The St. Peter youth group sold more than 1,300 bottles of water at the concession stand for a dollar each. Business at the Corner Cafe was very brisk also.

“You never know,” Soukup said. “There were so many people from all over the country. A lot of our friends from the Plymouth Club were here.”

Soupkup was surprised at what the signs brought, many bringing in $1,000 or more.

The sale lasted from 10 a.m. to around 4 p.m., with the family there at 7:30 a.m. and around longer for clean up.

“Overall, it went very well,” Soukup said.

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