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1978 antique car auction

April 9, 1978: A 1919 Dodge Bros. business car with a screen body goes up for auction. The car sold for $6,250. Sixty cars from Harrah’s Automobile Collection sold in auction held in Reno, Nevada.

This photo accompanied a Charles Hillinger story in the April 10, 1978, Los Angeles Times. Hillinger wrote:

RENO—Rex Lucas paid $66,000 for a 1912 Packard touring car to put in the den of his Salem, Ore., home.

LaReu Thomas of Los Angeles ended his 20-year quest for a 1929 Chrysler convertible coupe identical to the one he and his wife drove on their honeymoon in 1934.

Jane Potter of Canyon, Colo., paid $8,000 for a 1928 Whippet coach so she “could have a go-to-dinner lined on the inside with bud vases full of roses.”

They were three of the successful bidders at an $866,400 auction Saturday of 60 rare antique and classic cars from Harrah’s Automobile Collection.

Dr. Terry M. Bennett, 38, an American physician who operates a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, mailed in the highest bid of the day, $150,000 for a 1933 Duesenberg convertible coupe.

When the absentee bid was successful, auctioneer Don Britt placed a phone call to Arabia, where it was 4 a.m.

“I’v always wanted to own a Duesenberg. Now I can go back to sleep and dream about my Duesey convertible,” said the elated physician from his bed.

The Duesenberg, consider an American classic, is one of the few of its kind in existence. It originally sold for $18,000.

Bill Harrah, whose 1,500 cars comprise the largest, most complete and most valuable collection of rare cars in the world, placed 60 autos of which he has duplicates on the block.

More than 2,000 bidders came from across the nation, from England, Mexico, Switzerland, Spain and Canada. …

Bill Harrah passed away on June 30, 1978. Most of his collection was sold in auctions held from 1984-86. About 175 vehicles were donated to establish the National Automobile Museum in Reno.

April 9, 1978: A potential buyer inspects the engine of a 1931 Bentley. The car sold for $50,000.  Credit: Bill Varie/Los Angeles Times

April 9, 1978: A 1921 Model T Ford sedan fetches $7,250 during auction. Credit: Bill Varie/Los Angeles Times