Five years ago, Auctions America managed an on-site auction at the National Military History Center in Auburn, Indiana, generating $2.97 million in sales so the museum could pay off its mortgage.
Next month, 15 more military vehicles, each formerly displayed at the museum, will be offered up for bidding at Auction America’s annual Auburn Spring sale, being held just across the street — well, on the other side of the Interstate highway — at the Auburn Auction Grounds.
Expected to draw the highest bids, and perhaps the most attention as well, are a 1944 Buick M18 “Hellcat” tank destroyer and a 1944 Panzergajer 38(t) Mit 7.5cm Pak Ausf M, a Czech-designed tank-style vehicle.
The Hellcat was one of more than 2,500 M18s built by Buick in 1943 and 1944. They were considered the fastest full-tracked, armored fighting vehicles used in World War II, traveling at speeds as fast at 55 mph, according to Auctions America. The 76mm gun atop the vehicle could penetrate armor that was 100mm in thickness.
Hellcats were powered by air-cooled, 350-horsepower, 9-cylinder Continental R-975 C1 engines and weighed around 40,000 pounds. had an open turret so the vehicle commander had a full field of vision, though no overhead protection. The driver sat at the front left of the vehicle and the co-driver at the front right. Three other crew members were inside — a gunner, a loader and the commander, who also could operate a Browning M2 50-caliber machine gun.
The ’44 Buick goes to auction with a pre-sale estimated value of $275,000 to $350,000.
After Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1939, it found that army’s LT Vz 38 (38(t) tanks to be inadequate for the needs of the Eastern Front and converted them into anti-tank vehicles (Panzerjaegers), Auctions America says in its online catalog. They carried either captured Soviet 76.2mm field guns or German 7.5 cm PaK 40 weapons.
The one being offered at the auction is an improved M model which had its fighting compartment moved back in the hull. The vehicle is being sold without an engine or transmission and carries a pre-sale estimated value of $200,000 to $350,000.
Other vehicles from the military museum going to auction include a 1944 White M16 armed motor carriage with half track ($120,000 to $130,000), a 1942-45 Dodge WC57 3/4-ton command car ($100,000 to $150,000), and a 1942-45 GMC Dukw353 amphibious vehicle ($75,000 to $100,000).
Others include a 1944 Ford F605S-Bofors-1 3-ton truck, 1992 AM General M998 Humvee, and a 1941 Krupp 8.8cm Flak 36 artillery gun.
For additional details, see the Auctions America website.