Archive for Saturday, May 26, 2012

Collectors find a couple gems at Packard auction

Fans, salvagers gather to view lot of 15 cars

View an audio slideshow of the sights and sounds from Saturday's auction of 15 Packard cars owned by the Barland family at 1106 Rhode Island.

May 26, 2012


Sixty years ago, Leroy Schroller would dust the fleet of Packards on display at his father’s dealership. But Schroller, then 15, was not allowed to do anything other than that.

“I could never drive them,” Schroller said. “He didn’t even want me sitting in them.”

So when Schroller heard there would be a Packard auction in Lawrence, he recruited his son, Kevin, as company, sneaked the checkbook from his wife and slipped out the door of his home in Marysville early Saturday morning.

When he arrived at the auction, hosted the estate of Raymond Barland, Schroller inspected the 15 Packard cars clustered in the yard.

The yard, shaded by tall trees, was littered with junk: miscellaneous car parts, lumber, nails, piles of bricks and stacks of Packard bumpers. All of it was being auctioned.

Schroller, who now owns and operates his father’s dealership, Schroller Motor Sales, was there for the Packards only. He and his son eyed the cars, determining which ones, if any, were worth buying. After figuring there were at least two worthy of a bid, they leaned against one of the Packards and listened to the auctioneer rattle off prices.

Most of the Packards were in rough shape: rusted and gutted, with shattered windows and trunks filled with muck. But to have that many Packards in one place was a special thing, Kevin said.

“You’ll never find this many Packards in one place again,” he said.

The Packards attracted nearly 100 bidders, said Mark Elston, auctioneer.

“The salvage guys were here (today),” Elston said.

Melvin Copp, of North Lawrence, was hoping the Packards would fetch $200 or so. That way he could purchase a couple to salvage and still turn a profit. Instead, most of the cars went for about $400.

Not all of the Packards went to scrappers. A couple went to collectors. One of them was a 1957 Packard 400, which went for $1,800, the highest bid of the auction. It was bought by Leroy Schroller.

“It’ll be a pleasure to have it,” he said. “If it works out like I want it and I live long enough, that’s gonna be my car to drive. ... All these years I’ve been dreaming about it, here I’ve got one.”


DemoParty 5 years, 12 months ago

Sad to see what happens when treasures are left to rust

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 12 months ago

If everyone had saved their old Packards in dry storage, examples in good condition would be very inexpensive today.

There was a 1950 Packard for sale in my home town in 1970 that I wanted really badly. It was in the back row of used cars at Zimbelman Motor Company on Washington Street in St. Francis, Kansas.

It was black, and the only thing wrong with it was there was a spot that had rusted through on the driver's side front fender. Other than that, a good polish and vacuuming were the only things it needed to be a rather nice looking driving car, since it ran perfectly. It had no mechanical problems at all.

Asking price in 1970: $500.

And for the same asking price there was an absolutely beautiful blue and white 1962 Studebaker Lark, but it had a tear in the interior. After a few months, the Studebaker sold.

But the Packard didn't. It sat on the back row for a long time, until a fence in the back broke in a windstorm, fell on the back window, and shattered it. Then Zimbelman Motor Company moved to a new location on Highway 36, and the 1950 Packard was driven to sit in the back row at the new location.

But by then the interior was ruined. It sat there for a couple years, and then it was gone.

Ron Holzwarth 5 years, 12 months ago

Now that I'm thinking about it, I also remember the gray 1936 Plymouth that they had for sale very cheaply at the same time. It also ran perfectly, but it had a few minor dents. I never did look at the interior very closely, because I didn't really like that car very much. That one sold after about a year..

There were plenty of other older cars sitting outside in western Kansas at that time that could have been purchased very cheaply. But, I was the only person that was interested in them.

Those Edsels sure were nice, so was that silver 1946 Packard. And the Fraziers, those were pretty cool too. The one I wanted the most of all was the 1936 Nash business coupe, but that one needed a whole lot of work. However, the style of the car impressed me so much that I wanted it anyway. Just like the two tone brown and beige 1936 Buick S & S hearse. I have an enlarged color photograph of that car that I took in 1970 on my living room wall.

All of them sat outside and rusted away since no one except me wanted them, and I was quite young, I had very little money, and I had no place to store them.

frank mcguinness 5 years, 12 months ago

These were not the Elegant Packards of the pre 1950 era. These were basically studebakers with the Packard logo from when the company was merged for a short period. Nothing really that special.

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