One of the most impressive collections of vintage Chevrolet models in the United States is looking for a new home. Auction company Big Iron is selling several dozen cars and trucks through a massive, no-reserve online auction.
Located in Elm Creek, a small town about 150 miles west of Lincoln in rural Nebraska, the Chevyland museum once welcomed about 100 visitors per day, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Attendance gradually declined during the 1990s, and the museum closed in 2019. Its founder, Monte Hollertz, died at 87 the following year. His son Al now owns the collection, and he has decided to part with most of the cars, bikes, and memorabilia in it.
As its name implies, Chevyland primarily focused on Chevrolet cars and trucks. Hollertz began collecting cars well before he opened the museum in 1973, and he amassed an impressive collection over the next 46 years, including several that he restored with his son. Highlights include a 1915 Chevrolet Baby Grand Touring, a 1922 Chevrolet 490, a 1946 Chevrolet fire truck, a 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Lakewood, a 1963 Chevrolet Impala, a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette, and a 1986 Chevrolet pickup wearing numerous period-correct accessories.
Some of the cars in the collection are unrestored, low-mileage examples. At least one has a fascinating story: Inconspicuously finished in light blue, the 14,000-mile 1965 Impala was used as a getaway car by convicted murderer Duane Earl Pope after he robbed the Farmers State Bank in Big Springs, Nebraska, and killed three people inside. He rented the Impala from a Hertz office in Kansas and politely returned it after the robbery.
Foreign car fans aren’t completely out of luck: Hollertz also owned a 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Pickup, a 1985 AMC Eagle, 1985 Volkswagen Jetta turbodiesel, a 1987 Audi GT, and a 1965 Volkswagen Beetle-based kit car that looks like a Porsche 917, among other imports. Several Oldsmobile models and a Buick are up for grabs, too, as is a 1978 International-Harvester Loadstar 700 school bus that has been partially converted into an RV.
Hollertz’s collection includes numerous motorcycles, like a 1978 Harley-Davidson Custom powered by a Honda Goldwing engine and a 1978 Honda 750. If cars and bikes aren’t your thing, you might still find a new toy to take home. The catalog lists a 1959 Lone Star outboard boat with a trailer, a two-wheel-drive Case tractor, a Cushman 735 three-wheeled golf cart, a pair of vintage two-stroke snow blowers, and an aluminum camper. You can also literally take home a toy, because there are quite a few model cars (most sold in lots) in the collection.
Spare parts (such as hubcaps and upholstery) and miscellaneous memorabilia (including dealer signs, training kits, and advertising material) are part of the sale as well. All told, 554 items from the Chevyland museum are listed on auction site Big Iron. Act fast if you see something you like: the no-reserve auctions will end on May 6, 2021.