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Upcoming auto auction in Grant garners national attention PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 21:09

Noel, left, Scott, center and Brett Bullock stand behind one of the over 200 classic cars that will be auctioned off Sept. 6 in Grant. The auction has garnered national attention and will put the Bullock family, and Grant in the spotlight. (Timothy Linscott | Grant Tribune Sentinel)


by tim linscott

The Grant Tribune-Sentinel

What do you get when you cross a museum, a Perkins County history lesson and one of the largest auto auctions in U.S. history?

The Bullock Chevrolet auction is slated for Saturday, Sept. 6 in Grant.

After a long and storied history in Perkins County as a Chevrolet dealer, the Bullock family, Noel, wife Kareln, and sons Scott and Brett, will auction off around 200 collector vehicles, parts and other pieces of American heritage.

After the third largest auto auction in the world happened in Pierce, Neb., in September, 2013, the Bullock family discussed having an auction in November, 2013. Matriarch of the family, Genevieve Bullock, passed away Jan. 30, of this year as preparations for the sale were underway.

“We really wanted her to see this, it is going to be exciting,” Noel Bullock said.

Scott Bullock has been working an average of 14 to 16 hours a day on preparations for the sale.

VanDerBrink Auctions of Minnesota, the same auction company that handled the Lambrecht auction in Pierce, will be heading up the Bullock auction.

The sale has drawn national media attention and people from around the world have already made contact with the Bullocks about the plethora of vehicles.

A trio from Australia came to Grant to speak with Scott Bullock and a man from Arkansas has already come to view vehicles.

Two men from Kansas came to help out with the preparations of the sale out of shear love of classic cars.

“Getting the title work and purchase orders on over 200 vehicles will be quite an undertaking,” Noel Bullock said with a grin.

After the sale Bullock plans on continuing his used vehicle business in the same location.

Growing up around classic muscle cars, Scott Bullock said there is a buzz of excitement about the sale and he just loves being around the many GTOs and other cars that will be auctioned off. Noel Bullock won several awards for selling GTOs, including the DeLorean Award in 1965 for selling the most 1965 GTOs. He even sold a rare 1969 GTO Judge convertible, one of only 108 built.

An addition to the building last week brought back some nostalgia to the business as Scott and Brett had the original Bullock Chevrolet sign refurbished and hung back in its respective spot.

“It was great being able to do this for dad and get the sign back up for the sale for people to see,” Scott Bullock said.

Stepping back into time for a bit, seeing rare gems of American vehicles and watching car enthusiasts ogle will be part of the buzz created by the sale, which is what Yvette VanDerBrink is hoping will happen.

“There is such a diverse group of vehicles in this collection,” VanDerBrink said. “There is something for everyone, Ford, Chevy, trucks, you name it.”

Bullock History

The Bullock family has a rich, adventurous history in Perkins County.

Guy Bullock came to Perkins County and established the family roots that are still deep and proud to this day.

Guy Bullock was a county chairman in Perkins County back when the courthouse was built, and homesteaded land near Madrid, land that is now being farmed by the fourth generation of Bullock, Brett.

“My kids will be the fifth generation to farm this land,” Brett Bullock said. “I am proud of that fact.”

Eventually Guy Bullock started Bullock Hardware Store, which included a funeral home, in Madrid. Guy had a son, Wayne, who would help at the farm, funeral home and gas station, later helping his brother Noel build Bullock Airport in Boulder City, Nev., in 1933.

Guy’s third son, Ward, helped with the various family businesses, including the funeral home and hardware store. In 1927 he founded Bullock Funeral Home. In 1952 Ward’s son-in-law Bill Long took the business over and in 1962 Bill opened a funeral home in Grant. In 1982 Bill’s son, John, took the business over from his father.

Wayne would get his pilot’s license in 1933 and was involved with Bullock Airlines, which delivered mail and passengers from Nevada to California and Mexico. The company was the first to fly tours over the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam.

Noel would build cars in Madrid and began racing locally and in Florida. Eventually the business would contract stunt flying jobs for movies and also provided cars and parts for racers at Banning and Ascot race tracks. Noel was an avid racer and won races all over the United States. He was inducted into the racing hall of fame in both Colorado and Nebraska.

Noel was killed in a plane crash in 1934.

As a 19-year-old, Wayne acquired an Oldsmobile franchise in Omaha, starting his career in Madrid.

Wayne would add the Chevrolet franchise in 1936 and Pontiac and Buick in 1962.

The famous bull mascot used by the Bullock family was modeled after a prized bull Wayne named Nebraska Sam.

The company would eventually sell farm machinery, tractors and combines.

To survive the 1930s, Wayne Bullock ran combine crews from Texas to Canada and, in 1946, the beautiful art deco style business building in Grant, which is still a hallmark of the town today, was constructed.

Noel Bullock, Wayne’s son, took after his father and has had a hand in the operation of the farming business and car dealership from a young age.

After graduating high school in 1957 and college in 1961, Noel returned to the dealership.

Wayne Bullock spent time in Nebraska and California flying a cherished Bonanza airplane, as Noel began to fulfill his role in the business.

Sales was a natural for Noel, as he received many sales records, including the John DeLorean award, for selling the most 1965 Pontiac GTOs. Noel is also credited with selling a rare 1969 GTO Judge convertible, one of only 108 ever built.

Growing up, Noel’s sons would be involved with both aspects of the family endeavors. Scott Bullock always had a fascination and appreciation with cars and has helped his father on many occasions at the dealership. Brett would take over the family farm duties.

In 2002 the family ended their franchise with GM and continues to sell used cars, trucks and boats.

GTO Judge offered

With 360 horsepower under the hood, John Long drove a brand new green with a lime yellow racing stripe and spoiler 1970 GTO Judge off of the Bullock Chevrolet car lot.

A junior in college, Long noted the feeling of power and pride he had as he rumbled slowly down the street in what would become one of the most storied muscle cars in history.

“It is a fond memory of my life,” Long said, adding that he never pushed the car to its 140 mph limit. “I didn’t believe in driving that fast, so I never got it there (140 mph). However, my friends did.”

Long drove the vehicle for six years. With a new wife, Chris, a year old baby, John, Jr., a new career, Long didn’t have the funds to maintain such a vehicle.

“We knew we shouldn’t get rid of it, but we had no storage, no knowledge of maintaining a car like that and we were broke,” Long recalled, noting he would buy a ‘hand me down’ station wagon from his father that was used at the funeral home.

Long would sell the vehicle to Scott Bullock, son of the car dealer he originally bought the vehicle from, to which Bullock drove the Judge all through high school. Bullock would eventually part with the vehicle as well.

With the impending auction of hundreds of rare cars, including a 1969 GTO Judge, featuring the classic ‘Orbit Orange’ color, Long may look at the cars in admiration, but will not be purchasing another hot rod.

“I’m 64 and I have great memories of that time, but I’m not really a muscle car guy,” Long said. “My wife probably drove it faster than I did, I really never really needed a car like that.”

Long feels the upcoming auction will be a huge cultural phenomenon in Grant.

“I don’t think the people of Grant know how important of a cultural gathering is going to happen Sept. 6,” Long said. “This will be a major happening.”

Long’s story of selling a muscle car when starting out his family is a familiar one.

Long paid $3,400 for the GTO Judge in 1970. Legend has it he was told it was found in a car magazine for sale....with a price tag of $75,000.