The first 1936 Ford car, a roadster collected by Emery Ward, Jr., who died in 2007, reminded him of his first car. He spent several decades collecting every model Ford made that year.
SANDUSKY — A rare collection of 1936 Fords that drew the focus of auto enthusiasts from across the country sold Saturday for more than half a million dollars.
The cars had belonged to the late Emery Ward, Jr., who started his collection with a 1936 Ford roadster that was just like his first car. In the next three decades, Mr. Ward scoured the country looking for every model Ford made in 1936. He nearly made it. By his count, he owned all but one.
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Mr. Ward died in 2007, and his sons said none of the cars had been driven since.
“It was hard to see it all go, but we knew it had to,” said Emery Ward III, one of four brothers who put the cars up for sale.
The highest price paid was $68,500 for a restored wood-bodied station wagon, known as a “woodie.” A tan 1936 Ford phaeton, one of the rarer body styles from that year, was the only car to fall shy of the reserve price. Bidding on the open-air car ended at $47,500, a few thousand dollars less than the reserve.
“We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Mr. Ward said Monday.
Bidders came from as far as Washington state to the auction at the Erie County Fairgrounds near Sandusky. Mr. Ward said about 800 people attended.
“A lot of them were here because they’d never see anything like this,” he said. “I’d never seen anything like this.”
In addition to the 22 1936 Fords, the Ward Collection included car parts, engines, gas pumps, and several other vehicles, including a 1958 Edsel Pacer convertible.
The four brothers sold a few cars too, bringing the total number to 32 vehicles. Some of the other noteworthy cars included a 1940 Lincoln Zephyr, a 1958 Mercury Monterey convertible, and a 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe.
Together, the 32 vehicles brought nearly $776,000.
Bill Baker of Baker Bonningson Realty & Auctioneers Inc. in Clyde, Ohio, did the aution. Mr. Ward praised the auctioneer.
“You see the stuff on TV, I’d put Bill Baker right up there with them. He was fantastic.”
Several cars are staying in northern Ohio, including four that went to Sandusky buyers.
Dean Wikel, owner of Erie Blacktop and Pegasus Race Trailers in Sandusky, bought three of the 1936s, including the blue roadster. Mr. Wikel, who owns several other classic cars, said he hadn’t known of the Ward Collection ahead of the auction.
“I feel almost a little embarrassed about it.” he said. “I was flabbergasted on what the quality was.”
He and his wife also bought a four-door convertible and a five-window coupe. Two friends met him at the fairgrounds to drive the three cars back to his garage, about 20 miles away. They cut the short trip in thirds so each could get behind the wheel of each car.
“We enjoyed that immensely,” he said. “... We turned some heads on the way home.”