Regardless of unsuccessful public sale, Lakewood Township man’s traditional automotive bought to Florida museum – Duluth Information Tribune

LAKEWOOD TOWNSHIP — Suffice it to say the outcomes of a Jan. 14 public sale in Kissimmee, Florida, weren’t in line with Tom Maruska’s expectations.

He had invested 1000’s of hours and a substantial sum of cash to revive a one-of-a-kind 1956 Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser idea automotive that had drawn massive crowds of admirers throughout the nation on the auto present circuit in its day. Within the years that adopted, nonetheless, the automotive fell into neglect. The present automotive was a rusty mess by the point

Maruska acquired his palms on it and commenced the laborious technique of bringing it again to life


As Maruska ready to take the reinvigorated chrome-laden automobile to a nationally recognized traditional automotive public sale, he speculated that the one-off idea automotive might fetch $1 million or extra.

Man standing beside a car.

Tom Maruska talks Sept. 29 in regards to the 1956 Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser he spent three years restoring.

Steve Kuchera / 2022 file / Duluth Information Tribune

However that was to not be.

The bidding started at a proposed $1 million and ceased at $350,000, properly under the obligated reserve worth for the automobile.

On the conclusion, the auctioneer commented: “We’re a good distance from the home there, boys.”

The expertise confirmed misgivings Maruska had going into the public sale.

“They promised me a great place and promotional help. However they did completely nothing for the automotive,” he mentioned. “They put it on their web site as if it was a Corvette or a Mustang or one thing that was constructed within the tens of 1000’s. It was positioned between on a regular basis vehicles.”

“And the identical factor on-site down there on the public sale. That they had it subsequent to a used Porsche and a customized Charger,” he mentioned.

Car sitting in a driveway.

The 1956 Mercury XM-Turnpike Cruiser featured tailfins, chrome exhaust pipes coming by way of the quarter panel, and brake lights in the back of it roof in addition to on the tailfins.

Steve Kuchera / 2022 file / Duluth Information Tribune

As for the precise public sale, Maruska mentioned the tumbling worth spoke for itself.

“When my automotive went up on the block, I don’t know they even had an actual bid on it, as a result of the home has the suitable to bid as much as the reserve quantity, they usually by no means even acquired near the reserve quantity,” he mentioned.

A pair weeks later, Maruska had the automotive shipped again to his dwelling store in Lakewood Township.

Looking back, Maruska mentioned, “It was the mistaken public sale to have that automotive at.”

Maruska mentioned his first selection would have been to take the automobile to an public sale run by RM Sotheby’s in Phoenix. However once they supplied to take the idea automotive at a reserve worth of not more than $300,000, he felt that sum was just too low.

For Maruska, the story has a contented ending nonetheless.

Car interior.

The inside of Tom Maruska’s 1956 Mercury. Word the distinctive butterfly roof home windows that mechanically open and shut with the doorways to supply elevated head clearance getting into or exiting the automobile.

Steve Kuchera / 2022 file / Duluth Information Tribune

4 completely different events contacted him, expressing curiosity within the Mercury idea automotive after the unsuccessful public sale, and two made what he believed had been acceptable presents.

Maruska didn’t wish to go into particulars, saying the automobile bought for “an undisclosed quantity” to the American Muscle Automotive Museum in Melbourne, Florida.

Man opening a car hood.

Tom Maruska opens the hood of his 1956 Mercury on Sept. 29 to indicate its 292-cubic-inch engine.

Steve Kuchera / 2022 file / Duluth Information Tribune

When requested if the sale broke the $1 million mark, he mentioned: “It didn’t make $1 million, however it acquired shut sufficient that I used to be pleased with it.”

Maruska additionally expressed his pleasure that the automotive went to a museum, the place will probably be on public show, quite than sitting largely out of sight in a personal assortment.

One other plus is {that a} non-public sale not involving an public sale home will save each the customer and vendor 10% fee charges, even because the automobile makes a return journey to Florida in an enclosed trailer.

Maruska has now accomplished 22 automotive restorations. However the 72-year-old acknowledged the newest was his most bold.

He has no plans to decelerate and is at present engaged on a 1964 Amphicar, in addition to a 1965 Corvette.

“I’ve acquired to maintain going. In any other case, I’d simply be sitting round, doing nothing. And I like to remain energetic,” Maruska mentioned.

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