Automotive Aladdin’s cave to go under the hammer

| 9 Sep 2011

The contents of the spectacular Lee Roy Hartung collection, which featured in C&SC July 2003, will be auctioned off in early November.Canadian sale house RM’s Auctions America outfit is to put the world-famous collection of cars, motorcycles, bicycles and automobilia up for sale from 3 to 5 November, following Hartung’s passing earlier this year.The collection – known as Hartung’s Auto Museum – near Chicago, Illinois was the result of more than five decades of collecting by Hartung, who claimed that the items all came from chance encounters and house clearances within just 15 miles of his hometown of Glenview.Auctions America’s lot list is likely to run into the thousand, but star consignments include a Spohn-bodied BMW Veritas Convertible, 1959 Fiat Spider and an Edwards America that won Best of Class at the inaugural Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1950. The Edwards – an attempt by Californian Sterling Edwards to take on European sports cars in the early 1950s – also won its class in the Pebble Beach road races.Other gems on offer – seen when C&SC's Lost & Found contributor Michael Ware visited in 2002 - could include a customised1936 Lincoln V12 and a 1926 Hertz (built for the car rental market), along with a 1937 Pontiac.Another highlight is a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom I, which is believed to have been in storage since 1949 following an incident when a passenger was accidentally fatally ejected from a faulty suicide door.The cars will go under the hammer with a raft of rare early motorcycles, including an untouched 1911 Pope, a 1912 Sears Twin and a 1913 Flying Merkel Twin.All the cars and motorcycles are buried in a sea of motoring and aviation ephemera, from US licence plates (possibly the largest number in the world) to mascots, automotive instruments, and signs, as well as petroliana and gas pumps.See Auctions America Lee Roy Hartung Collection for more.

Some highlights from C&SC's July 2003 feature follow. Double click on the lead image to launch a slideshow.