A legacy at auctionPublished 12:16pm Monday, July 1, 2013
A&W founder’s vast car collection draws large crowd
Car enthusiasts came from all over to see the legacy of the late Bud Johnson and place their bids for his many rare cars.
The Bud “Rootbeer” Johnson Collection Auction began at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Mower County Fairgrounds. More than 50 cars from Bud Johnson — the late Austin resident who founded the local A&W that recently closed — and his son, Gregg, were auctioned off, along with scooters and other vehicles.
“It was a very big crowd,” said Yvette VanDerBrink, owner of VanDerBrink Auctions and organizer of the event. “The family is very happy.”
Among the auction’s highest bids were those for a 1957 fuel-injected Corvette Roadster, which went for $64,000, and a 1906 Cadillac Model M Roadster that sold for $37,500.
Dozens of attendees gathered around as the cars were auctioned off one by one, while scores more drifted between other vehicles in the collection, looking under the hoods and examining the interiors. They hopped over mud puddles from the morning’s rainfall and pointed out details to friends and family members.
El Rasmussen came from Sioux City, Iowa, to peruse the cars up close. One in particular, a 1955 Plymouth Convertible, caught his eye. On the whole, Rasmussen said the event was a good idea.
Rochester resident Garry Hall circled a black 1923 Ford Model T Coupe and studied the interior through the driver side window. Though he doesn’t collect cars, he came to the auction “just to see what kinds of cars they have.” The older-fashioned ones drew his attention.
“I kind of liked the Chryslers,” Hall said. “I appreciate the good quality of some of these old cars here.”
The auction stemmed from the Johnsons’ decision to clear out their collection.
“It just gets to be too much work to keep them all up,” Gregg said. “A few cars you drive more than the other ones.”
The event was advertised both locally and nationally, and bidders from around the world registered remotely and placed bids online. The auction was a “no reserve” event, so none of the vehicles were held.
Organizers didn’t disclose how much the auction raised. The funds go to the Johnson family.