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Everything on track for vintage auto auction

By DON HOHLER • Updated May 9, 2017 at 1:17 AM

“I knew there would be cars to wash.”

The youngest of the six daughters of Ron and Eunice Hackenberger, 46-year-old Snowhomish, Wa.-resident Jewel Young, joked as she joined four of her sisters at the family home on Milan Avenue over the weekend. The only one who couldn’t make the get-together was Lisa Cowman, 51, a teacher who resides in Quincy, Ill.

They will all be in, however, as part of a 44-immediate family-member contingent for the much-publicized vintage car auction on July 15 and 16 at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk.

The auction will feature 700-plus vehicles from the Hackenbergers’ 50-year collection.

John Froelich, of JF Marketing Ltd/Auction & Real Estate Services, is in charge of the Norwalk couple’s auction.

“This get-together is nothing new. We were tight-knit from Day 1,” said the oldest of the girls, 54-year-old Milan resident Ranae (Alexander), a teacher at the local Trinity Christian Academy. “Probably a lot of that had to do with where we slept in our Monroeville home. Five of us, two on top and two on the bottom of a bunk bed and the other in a crib slept in one room of our 10 by 50 trailer. That kind of closeness never left.”

Renae spoke for all five saying they are elated to see her father’s dream come true.

Those cars were his pride and joy for 54 years. I even drove one of them because my first car at age 16 was a Studebaker.”

It was at the Texas ranch between 1984 and 2002 when most of the girls learned what work was all about.

“It was fun, though,” said 52-year-old Eve (Cross), the manager of Indian Trails Campground in Fitchville. “We all had our daily chores. It was quite a contrast between Monroeville and Texas.”

“Carla was our tomboy, the matriarch of the family, Eunice,” said. “She always made herself available for the dirty jobs.”

And Carla defended what her father did as far as buying vintage cars.

“Dad never drank or smoked. It was his hobby and money well-spent,” she said.

Ron Hackenberger echoed what his wife said about Vermilion resident, Carla (Flowers), who splits her day jobs between helping her sister, Beth (Ackerman), 53, the manager of The Colonnade, and working at the Sandusky Veterans Home. “When it came to grass seeding at the ranch, there was none better.”

Hackenberger talked about his ladies, claiming he had the best six daughters in the world and wouldn’t trade any of them for a son. “I had six great girls and one lucky lady (his wife).”

As far as the auction, all appears to be on schedule.

“The title chase is just about finished,” Hackenberger said. “That was the challenge, obtaining titles on cars from every state of the union and Canada.”

“We are in the process of getting the catalog put together. There is a lot of interest and not only from the states. Recently, I answered a request for information from Dublin, Ireland,” Hackenberger said.

Lead auctioneer John Froelich, of Cleveland, is trying to come up with a number as to how many will be on hand for the Friday event at Summit Motorsports Park. It is being held in conjunction with the raceway’s Blue Suede Cruise show, an event that draws 5,000 on its own merit.

There will be an invitation-only VIP open house for family and friends on Thursday, July 14, at Summit Motorsports Park.

“Yvette Vanderbrink, the South Dakota co-auctioneer who was back in town two weeks ago, believes between 10,000 and 15,000. What we do know is that it is a unique auction,” Hackenberger said.

Froelich and Vanderbrink will be two of six auctioneers working the event.

Most of the cars that are in the compound on Milan Road will be the ones ferried to Summit for a sale in front of a tent that will seat 2,500. Froelich, who will oversee the movement of the vehicles, said it will take between 10 days and two weeks to make the move.

“John (Froelich) says he can transport 40 a day for 10 days,” Hackenberger said.

The Sunday (July 16) auction site will be in Avery at the former Wolohan Lumber complex.

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