It’s the estate of the late Tim Donahue. The auctioneer for the event will be Tim’s, Inc. Auctions.

PLYMOUTH, Conn. – A breathtaking single-owner lifetime collection of vintage automobiles, petroliana items (gas station collectibles), Coca-Cola and Harley-Davidson memorabilia and many other items in various collecting categories will come up for bid on Sunday, Jan. 25th, at the Plymouth residence of the collector, Tim Donahue, who only recently passed away at age 58.

Fully restored gasoline pump with the Harley-Davidson colors and Phillips 66 logo on the top.

Fully restored gasoline pump with the Harley-Davidson colors and Phillips 66 logo on the top.

The auction address is 80 Keegan Road in Plymouth, a town located in west central Connecticut, situated north of Waterbury, west of New Britain and south of Torrington. The auction will start promptly at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. For those unable to attend in person internet bidding will be offered by Invaluable.com and LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be taken.

Donahue’s collections were as broad in scope as they were impressive in quality. In addition to the petrol and other abovementioned items, there will also be horse-themed items (Donahue was an equestrian in addition to being the owner of D&D Autoworks), antique pedal cars, telephone booths, pinball machines, two jukeboxes (one of them a Seeburg), bicycles, advertising clocks and a 1940s-era restored pull-behind camper-trailer.

Auctioneer for the event will be Tim Chapulis, owner of Tim’s, Inc. Auctions, with locations in Bristol and Litchfield. The two men knew each other; in fact, Donahue transported via flatbed truck some cars that were sold at Tim’s big on-site auction in Goshen on November 1st. Little did Chapulis know he’d be handling Donahue’s estate auction less than two months after that event.

“I was very saddened to hear about Tim Donahue’s passing, and I am equally honored to be offering to the public these large and important collections,” Mr. Chapulis said. “Everything in this auction is in showroom condition, and represents a lifetime’s worth of passionate collecting by a man who was a true baby boomer, a product of the ‘50s and ‘60s, the eras that he loved.”

Visitors to the Donahue property on auction day will realize right away they are in for something special – almost surreal. The long, winding driveway, lined with vintage street lamps, leads to a spacious property he called “Hooterville Farm” (after the fictional town in the hit ‘60s TV shows Petticoat Junction and Green Acres). The house and older three-bay barn contain the treasures.

Bidders will be transported to another place and time when they lay eyes on “The Hooterville Express” – a doodlebug tractor (the colloquial name for a home-made tractor made during World War II, when production tractors were in short supply), with its Ford chassis in the front and fat tires; plus a fully restored Allis-Chalmers tractor made around the middle of the 20th century, bright orange in color.

Both tractors will be sold, along with Donahue’s personally driven race car with #25 emblazoned on the doors (appropriate, since the auction is being held on the 25th); a vintage Le France flatbed truck, used to transport the race car to events, customized with a unique front that resembles a fire truck; and a cranberry red 1937 Pontiac four-door convertible car with white top and suicide doors, in running condition and originally owned by the Lyons family of Thomaston, Conn., who showcased it in Memorial Day parades and other town functions. The car is estimated to sell for $20,000-$30,000.

Other vehicles will include a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle, retrofitted to look just like the car from the Disney film from around that time called Herbie the Love Bug, complete with #53, a black racing stripe, roof rack, sunroof (rare for that vintage) and a fabric-like top; a 1978 MG two-door convertible car, black; and a pedal-driven (no motor) three-wheeled Good Humor ice cream trike, restored and in mint condition, ready for displaying or selling ice cream.

Donahue, who was a member in good standing with the Bristol Car Club, loved Harley-Davidson motorcycles as much as he loved automobiles. Many collectibles sporting the distinct orange and black H-D logo will be auctioned, to include Donahue’s vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle, now on display inside the house. Not many people incorporate motorcycles into a home’s décor. Donahue’s is a 1959 Hummer in fantastic condition, a true collectible for serious fans of Harleys.

Harley-Davidson items for sale will include an antique floor safe with orange and black H-D logo, a coin-op soda vending machine with H-D logo and colors in excellent condition, a fully restored gasoline pump with the H-D colors and Phillips 66 logo on the top, and H-D ice cream counter chairs, round and old-timey, now part of a room in the house set up as an ice cream shop.

A Vespa scooter, unrestored, will also come up for bid, as will Donahue’s collection of Indian Motorcycle collectible items. These will include typeset printing blocks, tools, wrenches and ephemera. Also sold will be more than 250 models of toy automobiles, motorcycles and trucks, to include some period Japanese friction cars and a Buddy L toy truck with Coca-Cola bottles.

The pull-behind camper-trailer is small by today’s standards but reflects the times (circa 1940s). It features race car-themed curtains and a vintage Coleman stove. The petrol and petroliana will include gas pumps, globes and signs, with brand names such as Mobilgas, Gulf, Phillips 66 and Texaco. Old oil and gas cans will also be sold, many in multiple lots.

Coca-Cola was another passion of Mr. Donahue’s. Coke collectibles in the auction will feature vintage vending machines, to include a mid-1940s mailbox-style model made by F. L. Jacobs (Indianapolis, Ind.). Jacobs was one of the few firms allowed to produce new vending machines during World War II due to the popularity of caffeinated Coca-Cola with machine part workers.

Other Coke items will include a classic self-serve Coke vending machine by Vendo and a floor-standing soda cooler from the 1930s, mounted on original Coca-Cola storage crates (as from the era), with the bottles available by lifting the cooler’s lid. This model didn’t accept coins, as future coolers did. People grabbed a soda and paid at the register. These coolers were used in general stores before electricity reached rural areas. Blocks of ice are what kept the drinks cold.

The equestrian lots will include horse carriages, buggies, horse tack and other items. Additional items in the auction will include a restored barber’s chair with white enamel base and black leather chair, an antique oak ice box, advertising signs other than H-D/Coke and gas station, and other objects and collectibles that were still being discovered from the attic and barn at press time.

“This is an auction event well worth attending for just about anyone, even if it means traveling a great distance,” Tim Chapulis said. “There are items in this auction that will resonate with every person who ever stopped for gas, bought a Coke or just got nostalgic for a simpler, slower time. That’s what this auction is about — honoring Tim Donahue and his passion for collecting.”

On auction day, Tim’s, Inc. Auctions will take up a collection for the Bristol Car Club, in Tim Donahue’s honor. Proceeds from the sale of a few items in the sale not coming from Donahue’s estate (such as vintage guitars) will also go to benefit the Bristol Car Club, as well as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a cause that is near and dear to Mr. Chapulis’ heart. At nearly all Tim’s, Inc. Auctions, money is raised for St. Jude’s in honor of Tim’s late father, Peter Chapulis, who was also a longtime successful auctioneer. To date, $70,000 has been raised for St. Jude’s.

Tim’s, Inc. Auctions, with locations in Bristol and Litchfield, Conn., is celebrating 36 years in the auction business. The firm is always seeking quality consignments for future sales, especially lifetime personal collections built over many years. To consign an item, an estate or a collection, you may call Tim Chapulis at (860) 459-0964, or you can send him an e-mail: [email protected]

For more information about Tim’s, Inc. Auctions and the upcoming January 25th auction of items from the lifetime collections of Tim Donahue, please visit www.timsauctions.com. Updates are posted often and many new items are still being uncovered and cataloged for the Jan. 25 auction.