AUBURN – For the Waller family of Nolensville, Tenn., the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival and corresponding car auctions are a great getaway and family vacation.
Traditionally held over Labor Day weekend in Auburn, the festival and auctions – conducted by Auctions America by RM and Worldwide Auctioneers – draw thousands of car enthusiasts from across the country and around the globe.
Dodson Waller, his wife, Sandra and their children Pamela, 13, and Mitchell 11, stay in a hotel, rent a golf cart and spend most of the weekend scouting for cars.
Dodson Waller had nothing in particular in mind this year, but was just waiting for something that catches my eye, he said.
Obsessed with cars since he was a small child, Waller has turned his passion into a lifetime hobby.
He met his wife in Nashville, Tenn., where she was working as a clerk in an auto parts store and it was love at first sight.
Waller was worried that his future wife would think his fondness for cars was over-the-top.
I could not change the way I was, and neither could she, he said. But Waller neednt have worried.
As soon as I found out about the cars, I asked, Does it run and can I drive it? Sandra Waller said.
And shes been driving them ever since.
Of her husbands collection of too many cars to count, Pamela especially loves the two 1957 Chevys – one a nifty red and white number and the other a blue Nomad.
Dodson Waller kept a watchful eye on the cars entering the auction barn as he sat in the golf cart with his family.
Im partial to the old Cadillacs of the 1930s, he said.
His father always had a Cadillac, Waller remembers.
He would buy a two-year-old Cadillac every two years from a guy who traded them in like clockwork, Waller said.
Just a few years away from getting their own set of wheels, the kids also have their eyes on a few choices of their own.
I like Corvairs, said Pamela, while her younger brother admitted to a passion for Trans Ams and Mustangs.
Inside the auction barn, meanwhile, the deals were going fast.
In minutes, a 1965 Shelby GT350 sold for $198,000, a 1932 Auburn 12 boattail speedster fetched $275,000 and a 1935 Duesenberg Model J Derham garnered a whopping $456,500.
The auction and festival continues today with a celebrity charity auction at 11 a.m. Barry Weiss, star of A&Es Storage Wars, will lead the auction, which will feature several motorcycles and cars, and proceeds will benefit the family of U.S. Army Sgt. JaBraun Knox, a young Auburn soldier who was killed in Afghanistan, and the Fort Wayne Base Community Council Military Support Fund.
Parking is free with park admittance.
After the auction, Weiss will be available on the grounds with autograph sessions scheduled from 1 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. in the auction arena.