There will be cars, for sure. You’ll still be able to come and look at a 1931 Ford Model A Deluxe with a custom-built nautical-themed trailer – valued at more than $150,000 – or check out the smooth curves of a 1935 Duesenberg Model J Sedan, if that’s your thing.
But this year, organizers of the third annual Auburn Fall collector car auction, which will be held over Labor Day weekend (starting today) at the complex once belonging to Dean Kruse, have a few new attractions up their sleeves.
There will be monster trucks. And they will crush cars, just none of the classics.
There will be helicopter rides taking people above Auburn. And there will be celebrities, such as Barry Weiss of the A&E reality show Storage Wars and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bobby Unser.
The new attractions are an attempt to bring the auction at the Auburn Auction Park back to prominence, according to organizers.
We’re trying to make the event more interesting, trying to get it back to what it was in its heyday, said Donald Gould, president of Auctions America by RM. Things like this will get us there.
Gould said there will always be something to do at the auction this year.
If you get tired of watching the auction, there will be the monster trucks. Once you finish with that, you can take a helicopter ride. Or you can meet a celebrity.
Weiss will not only sign autographs, he’ll also act as a celebrity auctioneer Sunday in an auction that will benefit the family of JaBraun Knox, a soldier from Auburn killed in Afghanistan in May. That auction is tentatively set for between 11 and 11:30 a.m.
Plus, there will be a seminar Friday on custom-performance-vehicle manufacturer Shelby American. The panel discussion will be hosted by Speed Channel commentator Dave Despain.
Bringing people to the auction park in the aftermath of controversy surrounding its former owner, Kruse International, has proved a tough task, according to Gould.
Kruse International, which was owned by Dean Kruse, was a fixture in the auction scene and in Auburn for years.
But the company became embroiled in claims of business malpractice, and Auctions America stepped in and acquired Kruse’s company and the Labor Day weekend auction.
Last year’s event admitted 43,000 car enthusiasts over its five-day run, nearly doubling the attendance of the auction in 2010.
With pre-registered bidders up 75 percent from a year ago and a car corral stocked with 50 percent more automobiles, Gould sees the chance for another brisk year of attendance.
Still, he sees room for growth, especially to reach the heights of yesteryear.
I think we’re still a couple of years out, but we’re going in the right direction, he said.
We’ve made leaps and bounds, improvements to the property, organization and our team.
Of course, the festivities going on at the Auburn Auction Park aren’t the only events this weekend.
The Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival will start today with the return of the 37th annual Hoosier Tour to the museum in time for a kickoff luncheon.
Saturday, nearly 300 classic Duesenbergs are set to parade around the streets of Auburn, a tradition in the town where the Duesenberg was created. There will also be pancake breakfasts, swap meets and flea markets.
Also, the fifth annual Auburn Auction, put on by Worldwide Auctioneers, will take place Friday through Saturday at the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States. Classic cars will be up for auction, including Mustangs, Thunderbirds and Ford Roadsters.