The Bullock GM Dealership Auction

Bullock Chevrolet Auction

After the Lambrecht Auction, we figured it was only a matter of time before more old dealerships like it would hit the market. What we didn’t realize was how soon they would come up for sale. It goes to show you, once one family sells and makes a killing doing it, every other old family dealership will start doing the same. We aren’t particularly excited to see another family turn over their entire estate to an auction house, but we are glad to know that this collection is going to be given a chance to go to new homes. Unlike the Lambrecht collection, the Bullock Chevrolet dealership doesn’t appear to have any unsold and never driven cars in their collection, but they do have a lot of cars and a ton of parts. There is a lot of rusted metal here, but it would be worth going and taking a look just to walk through the old shops and fields simply to take in all the sights. Like Lambrecht, this auction is also being managed by VanDerBrink. It is currently scheduled to hit the block on September 6th in Grant, Nebraska. Take a look at the complete listing here at VanDerBrink Auctions. Thanks Jim S for the tip!

buick-with-baby

Like most old family businesses, Bullock Chevrolet has a long history and quite a story. For five generations, the Bullock family has farmed and run small businesses in the Grant, Nebraska area. As the family grew, so did the variety of businesses that the family owned and operated. It was only a matter of time before someone in the family would open a car dealership. The one to do it was Wayne Bullock and he bought his first Oldsmobile franchise when he was just 19. The dealership grew, even though he nearly lost it when GM found out he was so young, and his children grew up helping out at the dealership. After graduating from college, his son Noel came back home and helped with the dealership, eventually taking it over. Noel’s two son’s also grew up in the car business too, but in 2002 they gave up the GM franchise and focused on selling used cars and restoring classics.

dusty-projects

Opening a restoration business seems like a natural progression for the Bullock family, as the dealership had an impressive stockpile of NOS parts, projects, and parts cars. This family didn’t manage to acquire as many used cars as the Lambrechts, but they still have an impressive number of cars. The business model of taking in trades and not selling them seems like a strange idea by today’s standards, but we can see how it was beneficial to the dealer and we are grateful for it, as it means there are still large collections of used cars like this to be found!

gto-judge

While this collection is composed primarily of old rusted cars, there are plenty of nice ones in the mix. There are several fully restored cars plus a few survivors. One of the nicer cars in the collection has to be this GTO. During the years that Noel was still selling cars, he received a number of sales awards, including the John DeLorean award for selling the most 1965 Pontiac GTOs, so it’s little surprise that the family has a connection with the Goat. They have a long list of complete and solid cars, with several having already been restored. Some of the more notable ones we spotted include a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge, a 1957 Chevrolet Cameo Pickup, and a rather fascinating 1959 Cadillac Eureka Body Hearse.

From what we can see, this auction appears to have some great finds and we can only imagine what parts might be stashed away in the old service center. Given the family’s history with cars and the number of GTOs to have passed through this dealership, we wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few old speed parts lying around. This looks to be a worthwile event to stick on the calendar and we will be sure to keep an eye on the online bidding to see what things end up going for. We just hope this doesn’t turn out to be another Lambrecht, but given the lack of never sold cars, we don’t see prices getting so outrageous. Be sure to look through the complete list of cars and let us know which ones grab your attention!

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Comments

  1. Brian

    I think that this collection is another good example of what I have long believed to be true, if you trade in your car at a dealership, your basically given away your old car! I’m sure this is not as true as it used to be, but back in the “haydays”, 50‘s-70‘s, if you brought in an 8-10 year old car to trade in for a new one, and you were allowed $250 for it, after the mark up you payed on the new one, the dealer likely had less than $75.00 tied up in your old car, thus the lack of enthusiasm many small hometown new car dealers had about selling them. I’m sure, way back then, in the days of heavy brand loyality and even dealership loyality, the local small town dealer did have an interest in limiting the number of used cars floating around the local market. If you can’t find a good used one, you’ll just have to buy a stripped down new one instead. Alot has changed and now the used car business has become more profitable than the new cars, but you can still get a MUCH better deal on your next new car if your not trading one in!

    • stanleystalvey

      Good point. I worked at a new car dealer. They would take a trade in and have it sold for a large profit before you even finished your test drive on the new car.. Some people changed their mind and then found that their trade-in was already gone from the lot. What a surprise..

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Also in the smaller towns and dealerships there was less incentive to sell the used cars. Why sell used cars into the smaller market, when the money was in the newer ones.

  2. DT

    My father had that same Buick convertible(identical), the windows were hydraulic

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    Back in the good ol’ days, there was a rather hefty markup on the main stream of cars and trucks. You could deal retail or wholesale. Retail made it look like you were getting a generous amount for your trade-in. But, if you had the chance to see the wholesale side, it was very different. Unfortunately today, that doesn’t happen. There isn’t a lot of markup. Some of those special promos actually put the new vehicle below dealer cost. The difference is made up through company kickbacks, usually at the end of the production year. But trade-ins now can strangle a dealership because the investment is substantial. Consequently they want to peddle the trades ASAP!

  4. paul

    Thanks yet again Jim S. Nebraska, can’t these ever be on the right coast?

    • Clay Bryant

      Paul,
      You could probably ship one of these back to the east coast for around 8-900 bucks.Might be cheap enough to do that.I live in Nebraska and will be there.Incidentally,go to VisitNebraska.org and have a Tour Guide sent out.Pretty out west and north of there.

      • jim s

        please give us an update on how the auction goes.

      • Justin

        You could do a lot in Nebraska other than the auction. I live about a hour from where this auction will be at…it’s a very small town in western Nebraska. Lake McConaughy is about a half hour or so from where this auction will be, so camping will be a-plenty available north and west of Ogallala. This town is 20 miles or so south of Ogallala. Closest major airport is Denver or Cheyenne. Hope that helps you out a bit.

    • paul

      Of course I know the answer to that is in this part of the humid country their would be damn little left of anything, from rust. & Clay , no I have a project & limit myself to the one, but wouldn’t mind wondering through, of course if I did run across some OEM parts for my Corvair Spyder I would snap them up in a heart beat.

      • Clay Bryant

        Paul,you’re working on one of my favorite cars.When I was a kid(no stagecoach jokes)(Although my mom used to tell me”Clay,you should be on a “stage”.There’s one leaving in 15 minutes) I had a 61 Monza that I completely rebuilt the engine in with bigger heads,cylinders,Runyan headers and it went like stink.I never parted with it until the day our local postmaster asked me when I was going to sell it to him for his boy.In one half of one second,I told him “Right now”.Went and got the title and 30 minutes later a done deal.Headed straight to Omaha and bought the first Camaro in my home town of 8,000.To make your heart weep,the Camaro listed at $2,967 and I got it for $2,550.Drove it until I got called back up for Vietnam(activated reservist) and when I got home I kept a family car(61 Lincoln 4-dr convertible)and a fun and family car,a 65 Corvette coupe.Another “heartweeper”,the Lincoln was mint and only gave 200 bucks for it.It had reverse out on the tranny but fixed that rather cheaply at the time.Really enjoy the Spyder,they’re fun.(You can fold down the back seat,put a couple pillows back there and watch a drive -in movie with the feet thru the middle.(I won’t coach you on the rest…you just have to find the drive-in theatre nowadays)

      • Suzi Bullock

        Paul I’m having a hard time making heads or tails out of that comment but I just thought I’d throw this out there for ya- our end of Nebraska is extremely arid & sandy. :)

  5. scot

    ~ You could not be more correct concerning the changes which have taken place within dealerships. A friend, whose father was a district rep for Ford for a number of years until he was offered a good deal on an Oldsmobile store pointed out that over the years the showroom became a much less important center for profit than the service department. And as cars continue to get more complex that trend will not be interrupted. Very few of us perform any repairs on new cars today.

  6. Brian

    I can’t speak with certainty, but I think car dealers on the right side operated a bit differently than they did out in Neb! At least in the area I grew up in, most of the new car dealers were just in that one business, with the possible exception of possibly selling farm implements as well as one or two makes of cars, neither of which made they franchise holder extreamly wealthy. Most of the new car dealerships in my hometown pushed everything on the lot pretty hard; they needed every sale they could get to keep the doors open! I can recall the local Chevy dealer still having a new, late 77ish Monte Carlo that sat on the lot until about 80 or 81, before it was discounted enough to find a buyer, but I think that had alot more to do with the gas crisis than it did with the dealer trying to hold onto it. There was only one new car dealer that seemed to hold onto both new and used cars forever and they had a reputation for being extreamly hard to deal with. But even they would dump used cars that had sat around (so long that they began to rust down on the lot!) every five years or so. Rumor had it that the owner was deeply involved in activities that, shall we say, were highly profitable but also very risky and the dealership may have had a lesser focus on moving cars and a higher purpose for the sanitation of funds! At any rate, I think most dealers, at least where I’ve lived, didn’t have the luxury of storing away hundreds of left over cars, new or used, if they wanted to stay in business. It may have happened in the northeast or New England, but in the southeast, it seems to have been a rare thing.

  7. AMCFAN

    The whole greaseball cat and mouse approach has been the same and hasn’t changed since the very first dealership.

    Tesla hopefully will end the stranglehold of the autodealers who are fighting to stop them. They do not appreciate someone being able to go and to see and drive a car (without the high pressure beat down) go home and think about it. Make a well informed descision. Order a car on line and have it delivered right to your door!

    • Brian

      Saturn failed to do it more than 20 years ago, of course it’s parent company was vested in the dealership system, so… I’ve long advocated that the dealer system is out of date and needs to be retired and replaced by modern, semi self service approach! Factory stores in malls and shopping center (think Apple stores), who had a few non comission representatives on hand to demonstrate the products and answer questions, and a handful of demo cars in the parking lot for test drives, and everything else would be ordered online, at home, including financing. The respresentative at the factory store will call or email you when your car arrives and is ready for delievery. Whatever paperwork that has not been e signed is completed and you leave in your new car! No more trade ins, but I’m sure a whole new industy would pop up that you can make contact with that would be happy to flease, I mean purchase, your old car from you at wholesale prices, if you don’t want to be bothered with selling it yourself. Of course, that would mean the consumer would have to wait weeks, not hours, to have the new car and people like things instantaneously. I still believe that when it comes to buying a new car, most people want the experience at the dealership completed in one day; it’s not so much about having the car immediately as it is about having the horrible, time wasting experience at the showroom over so they don’t have to come back and listen to more crap on another day!

      • geomechs geomechs Member

        All well and good, Brian. but where do you go to service the car when it breaks? You could say that they could contract out service shops to do that but who’s going to pay the overhead for tooling and training? I talked to a dealership when a major change happened to their truck line back in the 90s and the bill for the special tools alone was $75K. You’ve got to charge out a lot of hours to pay for that. Then there’s next year’s model. I think you’re going to see dealerships around for some time to come. There might be fewer of them but they’ll still be around.

      • Clay Bryant

        Brian,
        Wait and see what your attitude is when something breaks,you go back to the mall,the guys selling someone else a car and he tells you”Wait,I’ll be with you in a “minute”.

      • Brian

        geomech – If Elon Musk, or someone else, is successful with online car sales, and the people want it, then becoming an authorized service center will likely become the dealership owner’s consulation prize. Survival of the fitist sort of thing. I am a realist and understand the dealer lobby’s power, so not expecting anything to change anytime soon.

        Clay, I am a personally believe that I would rather have no warranty at all, up front, than to have one that will not be honored. In that spirit, the only time I’ve taken my car into a dealer service department in the last 20 years is for recall work and one waranty claim, which I could have done myself but it was free! I either do all repairs myself or farm out the work to local shops if special equipment or knowledge is required. I go into the dealer parts department to get dealer only items that can’t be had elsewhere. The last time I was there, the counterman couldn’t find the part on his computer and told me to go home then bring the old part in. I went home and cross referenced the part online myself and found it at AutoZone. We no longer trade in cars, we drive them until they are worn out and sell or dispose of them before buying a new one. I’m fortunate that, by design, I’ve been able to avoid the dealerships as much as possible, except for the occassional curiosity browsing! In my case, if the salesman tells me, one minute please, I’ll start thinking about whats about to happen to me and leave! Some may have found dealerships they love, and if they are happy, I am happy for them. For me, keeping my money still trumps good customer service, hands down.

  8. TuckerTorpedo

    <>
    Not VanDerBrink Auctions again- the same people who held the Lambrecht auction! This company was WAY over their heads, out of their league, and woefully unprepared at that one. Remember the ridiculous little distorted pa system and auctioneer booth/stand in the middle of it all? Remember the amateur video previews done by the wife describing/hyping the vehicles? It was handled like a minor county farm auction- embarrassingly badly handled.

    • paul

      TuckerTorpedo, I wasn’t at Lambrecht but from what I read in every publication they made a fortune at that dealership so something was done right, who knows maybe the plan was to sound like they were a bunch of farmers, what ever, they had people reaching DEEP in to their pockets.

  9. RetiredCarGuy

    I know this family and this dealership. There is quite a racing history in the family and the dealership was quite successful. This is winter wheat country south of I-80 in Nebraska and there are plenty of folks with money. I plan to attend the event for the sole purpose of keeping you all updated. Plus, I’m a native Nebraskan who still lives here (moved back some years ago) and I love cars. Stay tuned. This’ll be a good sale in spite of the auction company.

    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Please do keep us updated! Some photos and sale prices would be great. If you email them to us at mail@barnfinds.com we will do a followup post after the auction. Thanks.

  10. Don Barzini

    I am surprised there is not a more detailed catalog with pictures and descriptions of the cars being sold.

    I can’t wait to see what some of these car sell for.

    • Alan (Michigan)

      There sure are a Ton of photographs….

      Hard to believe that everything in that huge mixed lot will be going at a single auction. There is a TON of stuff. That Caddy hearse would make a cool resto-mod.

  11. Paul

    I read through the Bullock Family history on the auction house website, this is a great to read, especially since I am the owner of that ’69 Judge convertible that Noel sold!

  12. z1rider

    I have driven through Grant Nebraska and much of the rest of rural Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri many times. Part of this dealers demise can be attributed to Henry Ford. Ford always considered the needs of farmers in many business decisions. And of course Ford sold tractors and other agricultural implements.

    E.T. “Bob” Gregorie, Fords chief designer in the 30’s lamented that Mr. Ford always insisted that the trunk of their sedans be able to carry several bushel baskets so Farmers could take produce to sell in town.

    In most (not all) cases, if a small town still has a new car dealer it is usually a Ford dealer.

  13. That Guy

    The discussion about the car dealership industry is interesting. I agree that the business model is outdated and cannot survive long-term. It depends on high-pressure sales tactics designed to separate the mark from his/her cash as quickly as possible, before they have a chance to research or analyze or comparison-shop. It also depends on customers having limited access to information. I think the only reason the dealership model continues to exist is that the industry has managed to embed protection for itself into legislation over the years. The argument that dealers provide service which an Apple-style retail shop cannot is valid, and it needs to be addressed in any alternative business model. But the facts are that consumers are more sophisticated, have better access to information, and are less tolerant of boiler-room-type hucksters than they used to be. A business model in which success is measured by how thoroughly the sales staff can screw their customers isn’t going to survive the 21st century.

    • Brian

      That Guy- good input. I only used the Apple store as a model, because people seem to really like it. I’m not in the auto sales industry, nor do I want to be, so a better business model can be created by someone else. If they are not already, the industry should be working on this idea themselves – a no dicker, straight-out, no trade-in sale price for their inventory, listed right on their website, click here for credit app, click here to make a deposit and buy it now … or something of the like! I don’t see it happening and most don’t seem very interested in participating in buyers programs (prepriced) such as Sam’s club, AAA, etc., at least in my area.

  14. KB

    Paul, the SW part of the state is quite different than the east. Very little humidity and no clay! (sand)
    I have had 4 cars I’ve kept in a tree row for about 35 years, unfortunately about 20 years ago
    they got vandalized, all the glass broke out. The interiors are a little rough now but still very little rust. I checked on them about a month ago, as I now live in the (humid) part of the state, the engines still turn over!

  15. Clay Bryant

    Brian,
    I learned that about trade-ins over 50 years ago and believe it or not I have only traded one car in in all those years and that was a 56 chevy that I traded for that Monza I was talking about up above.I sold every car I had myself,and I’ve had more cars then you could ever imagine.(and that’s not a play on words)I’ve been on both sides of the fence as I’ve had a couple of used car dealerships over the years,one “regular cars” and one collectibles and know the place that trade-ins has in the scheme of things.I used to open up a NADA book in front of a customer,show them book,then beat the hell out of that and I still came out well ahead. I’ve developed a reputation that I’m proud of and don’t worry about people coming up and puncturing my “vitals”.Have lived on the left coast and the right coast and glad I’m where I am.I’m still never too old to learn a lesson.I had a side window motor replaced on a 89 Cadillac Alante roadster out in California last year and it ran $370 bucks.Redid the right side here a couple months ago in absentea’ but this time I bought my own motor over e-bay(new rebuilt) for 34 bucks.Good deal?They charged 550 bucks to put it in.I really have compassion for people on both coasts.It’s a product of cost of living and having to put up with someone that will “do it cheaper” and probably does that just to feed the kids.I’m close to 70 now and have a problem keeping my own motor running in the ol’ bod.Incidentally,while I have everyone’s attention on here,look for a super Corvette show in York,Nebraska at our new 9 million dollar convention center in April or May.I think it will be one you won’t forget.My last one was 32 years ago and had 4400 people there that Sunday afternoon.

  16. Brian

    Clay,
    Hats off to you, my friend! You sound like a heck of a guy and I’m sure you’ve got some great experiences that I’m sure I’d enjoy hearing about! Of course, I’ve know some great people in the auto business that truely tried hard to do the right thing by their customers, glad to hear you are one of them! Here’s wishing you the best and keep playin’ with cars – it will keep you young!

  17. Mike

    I worked for Noel 20 years ago. Some fun. I got to be head of sales, head mechanic, head parts man, head cleanup boy………..and I got to acquire a few of the goodies he has on the auction.
    We have acquired a few of our own goodies out here on the farm at Venango(18 miles west of Grant)since Dad started collecting in ’59. We are now 3 generations into it. ’19 Liberty, ’27 Stude, Supercharged Avanti, 3 4dr Lincoln converts, ’46 Mark I, 38K mile Five-O, 5 spd, Must. GT convert, 3K miles ’47 IH firetruck, 40 Merc, plus 100 other finds. Not enough barns. Am putting some pics on barn finds.
    There are also some RV spaces in Venango. 4 with hookups are at the Cactus Palace Bar and Grill.

  18. Justin

    The narrator in the video is either from Chicago or Canada.
    Her pronunciations are comical throughout!
    Shocks = shoyks
    Scott = Scoyt
    Nebraska = Nebrayska
    Colorado = Coyldraydo
    Cars = Cayrs

    Hilarious!

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