If you’ve never been to Nebraska, you might not have heard of the Chevyland USA Museum in Elm Creek.
But for car enthusiasts passing through the I-80 area, the Museum offered an interesting trip to the past for decades.
“Anytime we head west you always try to peek through the windows as you’re going down the interstate,” said Mat Cope, with BigIron Auctions.
Times changed, however, and the Museum closed its doors a couple of years ago.
“In the early days, the attendance was really good,” Al Hollertz tells 3newsnow, “but over time it got into the ’90s, the attendance kind of dropped.”
Now Hollertz is holding an online auction through BigironAuctions with all the Museum’s cars, motorcycles, parts, and memorabilia once owned by his late father, Monte Hollertz, up for sale. You can view the Corvette-related lots for sale here.
Interest seems high, especially for the 1969 Cortez Silver Corvette coupe that shows just 6,974 miles on the odometer, a number that might be accurate based on the excellent condition of the car. Featuring a saddle interior, it’s powered by a 350/300 horsepower engine, the lowest output that year, and has an automatic transmission. The car was sold new by Strong Brothers Inc., in Holdrege, Nebraska in April 1969, according to some of the original paperwork included with the sale.
The high bid as of April 24 is $28,250.
“The old car market is very hot, and there is a lot of collectors and … a lot of builders who are looking for cars,” Al says.
The collection also contains vehicles from the 1910s to the 1960s, including an infamous 1965 Impala that was used in a deadly Big Springs, Nebraska bank robbery by Duane Pope, who shot four employees in 1965, killing three and paralyzing a fourth. The 78-year-old remains in prison to this day for his crimes.
“The car was impounded and a gentleman from Grand Island ended up buying the car,” Al explains. “It had 13,000 original miles on it. It was preserved and sat inside in a garage.” Hollertz is holding an open house at the Museum for the public to visit one last time from April 29 to May 6, when the online auction ends.
“I do think it’ll be a bit of a walk down memory lane for folks that enjoyed this place so I know of several people locally who might stop by just to kind of pay their respects and take a look one last time,” said Ryan Harbur, with BigIron Auctions.
Al’s not sure what to expect as far as how much the sale will raise. “When it comes to an auction, you never know,” he said. “You get two people interested in something, and it can go crazy.”
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