Jerry Andreasen has come to one unwavering conclusion after 45 years of collecting antique cars: He'd never do it again.
The 74-year-old lifelong bachelor from Omaha's Benson neighborhood said he's spent “more time than I can even think of” driving around the country in search of Ford Model Ts, Oldsmobile touring cars and Austin Healey convertibles. He scoured newspaper ads and car club fliers for sales in Hershey, Pa., and eastern Colorado.
“I'd put all my money into cars,” said Andreasen, a retired drywall worker. “Whatever I'd make, I'd turn around and put it into cars. but I'd never do it again because I never had time for anything else. I've never been on a date.”
Last year, Andreasen began selling off his collection of cars, motorcycles, parts and tools. On Aug. 11, he hopes to liquidate about 90 cars during a 10 a.m. auction at 12616 N. 156th St., a farm about a quarter-mile south of Bennnigton.
Because of the size of the collection, parking will be limited. The auction company has made arrangements for a shuttle to bring attendees out from Bennington Middle School.
Auctioneer Gabe Petersen of Herman, Neb., said this will be the most antique cars his business has ever sold at one time. The cars are in various stages of assembly, with some that will be sold only for parts and others with the potential for full restoration.
“We've never sold that many, that old before,” Petersen said. “It's kind of a hodgepodge with a little bit of everything for the casual and serious collector as well.”
Andreasen moved about his neatly lined cars during a recent visit, telling stories about each one while dressed in khaki pants and a long-sleeved shirt in 99-degree heat. He wistfully talked about the museum he once hoped to build to store them all.
“I sold off my choice cars last year, and the auctioneer practically gave them away,” Andreasen said. “That man didn't know a pickup truck from a car. The guys this time know what we've got here, and they're excited. People who build street rods are going to have a ball.”
Pausing by a 1918 Buick truck with the back end cut off, Andreasen proclaims it his favorite of the lot.
“This is the same truck that the (Beverly) Hillbillies drove on TV,” he said. “I get a kick out of it because I can just see that old granny sitting up there in a rocking chair.”
A 1963 Falcon Ranchero elicits more memories for Andreasen, who grew up in Bloomfield, Neb. He drove the Ranchero for years, he said, because it didn't use much gas.
Another favorite is a 1938 Lincoln Zephyr that has a broken rear axle. Andreasen said it's a diamond in the rough “for the right guy.”
Nearby, a 1960 Austin Healey 3000 and an Austin Healey Sprite of unknown vintage look a lot closer to being road ready.
“Everything here needs work, but there are a lot of classics,” Andreasen said. “We already know that a lot of serious car guys are going to be out here, so I'm anxious to see what will happen.”
After the sale, Andreasen said he is excited to get going with his next project: finding a wife.
“I spent so much time working and getting my cars, I never got married,” he said. “I think I'm going to look for a wife, and I don't care if she already has a half-dozen kids.”
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