Sneak Peek: Hartung Part 1



About a year and half ago, I went to an auction preview for the legendary scrap collector Lee Hartung. I hadn’t heard of him prior, nor of his collection. But I did know that there was this odd path off West Lake Ave. in Glenview, that had great No Trespassing signage that always called to me.




I went, on the urging of good friend and Fuelfed member Alan G., who knew Hartung personally. The cover charge was well worth it. Once through the muddy tent entrance, my eyes and imagination just popped! It was so massive, I can’t even start to tell the whole story, so I’ll break it down into a four part series, this being the first.





I didn’t know where to start, so I just wondered around in amazement as to how one man, whose sole career was a North Shore scrap collector, could have amassed a collection so big and diverse that 10 Jay Lenos couldn’t even touch it.



Lee had an eye for the details and the bad ass. Probably why I was so ahh-struck.






From the world’s largest sequential (as in alpha, numeric and chronological order from every state!) license plate collection, to every type of spark plug ever made. Just the most random car-oriented treasures imaginable.






Lee liked his motorcycles too. Hundreds of them stacked against the pole barns. Just thinking about it all, makes my mind race.


Thor-motorcycleHartung-simplex Hartung-indian-four Hartung-Triumph


You see, Lee was quite creative with his acquisition techniques. For example, he would develope relationships with car dealerships and acquired their new old stock after the models had changed-over years prior… for free! He would scour the local obits and call newly widowed wives offering to remove the deceased husbands’ old cars and motorcycles from their garages for free of the normal fees. You know, because he felt sorry for them.

But how did all this start? I’ll touch more on that in part 2.




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