By the time one hits high school, one had better have a firm handle on the alphabet. Perhaps it was in that spirit that longtime New Hampshire high school teacher John Moir assembled his impressively abecedarian classic car collection.
It all started decades ago with Moir’s very first car purchase. It was a 1950 AC 2-Litre Sports Tourer by Buckland, which today is valued at upward of $200,000. Over the years, Moir sought out and purchased more select classic cars with names that began with letter of the alphabet. Wrapping his collection is a 1910 Zebra Type A Runabout, valued at around $30,000.
Moir stored his storied collection in what anyone south of the Mason-Dixon would call a car barn. But in true New Englander style, Moir dubbed it the Ca’a Bahn. Word spread and though the Ca’a Bahn wasn’t an official museum, it did attract the occasional curious and resourceful visitor.
“It became sort of an underground legend more than anything,” said RM Auctions’ Don Rose, who will handle the upcoming auction of Moir’s collection at the Oct. 9-10 event at the historic Hershey Lodge in Hershey, PA. “Nothing delighted John more than showing them off to people if they did come. Because every car had some sort of story for him.”
Among those storied cars was one that Moir used as his personal ride for a short time while attending Harvard University – a 1930 Cadillac V-16 Roadster by Fleetwood, expected to haul in upwards of $450,000 to $600,000 at the auction. This glamorous Depression-Era ride is one of the few that Moir didn’t purchase himself, but inherited from his father who bought it new in 1933.
The A-to-Z collection’s oldest ride is a 1900 De Dion Bouton Vis-à-vis, named for the French expression meaning “face to face” because the bench seats face each other. It’s expected to fetch around $60,000 at auction.
“John is so proud of this collection, and it’s only because his heirs weren’t as keen about keeping them together that he’s decided to sell,” Rose says. “It’ll be a bittersweet moment for him, since it was at Hershey that he would show his cars over the decades. But while John may be in a wheelchair, his mind is still sharp. This is his way of managing his collection until the very end.”
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