WTT Extends Season Thru November 12, 2011!

Open through November 12, 2011Great news from Maggie Valley… The Wheels Through Time Museum has announced that they’ll be extending their season by almost two weeks this year to end after the museum’s 9th Annual Antique Motorcycle Raffle on November 12, 2011.

Initially slated to close after Halloween weekend of this year, the museum has experienced one of its best fall seasons yet, and the visitors just keep on coming!

"This season marks our 9th year here in Maggie Valley and it has truly been one of our best yet," says museum curator Dale Walksler. "We had the pleasure of hosting tens of thousands of folks from around the world this 2011, and we wanted to extend the opportunity for those who haven’t had a chance to visit or wanted to come back for another taste of good old-fashioned American history.

The museum has continued to grow since its relocation to Maggie Valley in 2002, and currently houses over 330 of America’s rarest and most significant two- and four-wheeled vehicles. At the present, over 99% of the collection is in running and operating condition, and demonstrations are held regularly for any visitors who asks.

On the museum’s final day of operation this year, they’ll be raffling of a beautiful 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber during the conclusion of the annual Haywood County Toy Run. Over 2500 visitors will be in attendance, and come rain or shine, someone will ride away the winner of a genuine piece of American motorcycle history.

For more information on WTT’s extended hours and the 9th Annual Antique Motorcycle Raffle, visit the museum’s website, at www.WheelsThroughTime.com.

The World Famous Lee Hartung Estate

America’s Ultimate Barn Find Auction!!!


Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

The Lee Hartung Collection!This November 3-5, 2011, Auctions America by RM in partnership with RM Auctions will be lifting the gavel on one of the Chicago area’s best known treasures — The Lee Hartung Collection.  Billed as the "Ultimate Barn Find Auction", the three-day sale will include over 2500 lots, and will put up for sale literally hundreds of America’s rarest and most unique two- and four-wheeled vehicles.

Lee Hartung was a collector’s collector.  Based in Glenview, IL, Hartungs collection rested on 4 acres in the middle of the North Chicago suburb, and was amassed over the 60 years since he purchased the property in the 1940s.  For those fortunate enough to get a glimpse of Lee’s collection over the past decades — they were among a select few to step into a time-warp that told a unique story of 20th century Chicago —- from Lee’s point of view.

Dale was one of those fortunate individuals, having stumbled across the collection in the mid-1980s during a trip through the Chicago area to visit a friend.  Immediately, Dale recognized the gravity of the collection, as well as the unique and passionate individual that had made it his life’s mission to preserve and amass the history housed within those walls.

The Lee Hartung Collection!!!"Upon walking on the property, one would have no idea what to expect," said Dale.  "Unless you had been there before, you might even thing that you’d ventured into the wrong place.  But after being greeted by Lee and dropping a few bucks for admission in the donation jar, you knew that you’d stumbled onto one of America’s most little known treasures".

"Lee collected everything Chicago." says Dale.  Resting just inside collections main building were over a hundred rare automobiles and motorcycles.  A collection of Ford Model-A and Model-T cars and trucks sat within inches of each other, covered no only in dust, but with various other collections Lee had amassed over his decades of accumulating history, including Early televisions, toys, radios, and hot-rod automotive parts many of which had never been used.  Motorcycles and bicycles lined the walls and sat on shelves twenty feet off the ground, put up by Lee as far back as the 1950s.  Gas pumps, piles hit and miss engines, childrens rides, and vintage outboard motors rested in every corner, having most likely sat since Lee had discovered them who knows how long ago.

The man, the myth, the legend......Mr. Lee Hartung!Lee had an eye for both rarity and originality.  Many of the machines in the collection had never been restored or modified, including the very rare 1948 One-of-a-kind Veritas and the 1951 Sterling Edwards Roadster, as well as a host of motorcycles including original, unrestored examples of a 1912 Harley, 1910 Pope, numerous four-cylinder Hendersons and Indians, a 1910 Excelsior, 1902 Wagner, and even a 1913 Flying Merkel. 

"Since the first day I met Lee Hartung, I knew right away that I was in the presence of one of the most passionate, yet eccentric people I’ve ever met," says Dale.  "From that day on, I made it a point to stop by at least once a year, to see the collection grow, sit and share stories, occasionally swap a few parts, and to hear Lee’s general outlooks on life.  I always left amazed, and with a new life lesson that only ‘The General’, as we called him, could teach."

As fate would have it, Lee Hartung passed away in May of 2011.  "It was a very sad day," says Dale, "as a good friend and one of the world’s most interesting and passionate collectors was gone forever."

While we may never see the likes of another Lee Hartung, nearly ever piece of his collection will have the opportunity to live on, as RM Auctions/Auctions America has announced a 3-day sale of the collection on November 3-5, 2011, with a total of over 2500 lots, and a special two-day preview for those interested in attending.

Since RM’s announcement, Dale has been hard at work helping to uncover, identify and value many of the machines that will be up for bid, as well as lending his particular expertise in breathing a little life back into several of the motorcycles and autos for the first time in ages.

Watch a few of the videos to see first-hand the magnitude of the Lee Hartung Collection, and even catch Dale and crew get a few of the bikes running for the first time in decades.

For more information on the Lee Hartung Estate Auction, visit RM Auctions Website!

By around 4:30, we were into North Georgia and only about an hour from our destination for the evening — Panhead City in Rome, GA.  I got on the phone with Chuck, the owner, and let him know we were all running strong, and should be pulling in before six.

So another 50 miles down the road we went, passing through little town after little town, giving the locals a site I’m sure they hadn’t seen since the 60s (or longer!).  The last 10-mile stretch of four lane gave us a chance to wind ’em up a little, proving (if only to ourselves) that all the care and preparation we took in getting these bikes ready for the road was enough to ride ’em, and ride ’em hard. 

Pulling into Panhead City, we were met with great hospitality by Chuck and his friends.  Barbeque, Chuck’s Special Spicy gumbo, and beverages of any sort were up for grabs, and Baker Drivetrain even handed out a few awards for riders, including the oldest bike on the run, a 1933 Harley VL all the way from Nashville, TN.

By the time it was dark, we were all beat, and headed to the hotel, to reflect on the day’s ride a little, and to gear up for whatever came our way on Day 2.

To be continued……