Hooniverse Weekend Edition: Kruse Auctions hang out the For Sale Sign…

Owner Dean Kruse tells newspaper that he is considering offers for his troubled auction business. It is just the latest chapter in the collapse of the once-great car-auction empire.

This is a story that ran Friday on Speed TV’s blog site. It goes on to say:

Dean Kruse, the founder and owner of the Auburn, Ind., auction house, said this week that he was considering several offers to buy the Kruse International name and assets, according to a report in the DeKalb Star, the auction’s hometown newspaper.
Kruse has been slipping under the surface for several years, besieged by financial setbacks, complaints from scores of allegedly unpaid consigners and a daunting number of lawsuits. Recent auctions have been sham affairs, and instead of its usual website listings of dozens of upcoming auctions, current visitors will find a terse message that reads: “Kruse International has no current auctions scheduled at this time.”

It has been reported that the last collector car auction run by Kruse was on March 13th of this year. However, the Kruse signature event, The Auburn Auction, is being run by a company called Auburn Auctions LLC, with reports swirling about claiming that this is nothing but a shell company for Dean Kruse with hopes of dodging the numerous legal issues that seem to hound Kruse.

This past January, Kruse sold two rather rare Duesenbergs on the cheap. First was a handsome 1930 Model J Willoughby-bodied long-wheelbase limousine, which was restored in 1991 and in excellent condition. Selling price? $335,500, including commissions. Second was a 1935 Model JN, which was a Rollston-bodied convertible sedan. This was sold at a reported $792,000, including commission, which is a steal because the same car was declared a no sale in September 2009 with a high bid of $1.7 Million.

Hemmings (The Bible of the Collector Car Hobby) has been holding an informal “Death Watch” on the Kruse organization for the last two years now. They also revealed that they had a moritorium on reporting on the decline of the company. Read more on Speed TV, and check out the article on Autoweek about the Bargain Duesenbergs.
Image Sources: Main Image: Kruse International, Duesenberg: Kruse International, Banner: Judy Hedding; About.com

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  1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    And the last item on the auction list…
    What do I hear for this vintage, one-owner, unrestored auction company? It was running as recently as this March, but could use a little TLC to get it back to show quality.

    1. smokyburnout Avatar

      They'll probably get more money for it if they sell it at Barrett-Jackson next month. Not sure how they'd roll an auction house onto the stage, though.

  2. junkman Avatar

    Say what you will about Dean Kruse but he is a survivor. He has survived numerous (self-inflicted) financial crises over the years. Additionally, he has sold his company twice to major corporations at a premium, then bought it back for pennies on the dollar. Can he do it again? No one really knows but I wouldn't bet against it.

    1. acarr260 Avatar

      My thoughts exactly. I was at the spring auction this weekend though and it was pretty disappointing though. Maybe ebay will want to give it a try again? That sure is a nice museum that they basically bought for him…

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    He needs to stop letting people give him IOUs for cars. Get the money, Dean.

  4. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    So many small to medium sized businesses seem to work this way. I'm thinking about Hennessey, Steve Saleen's various companies, and lots of other businesses that deal in "cool stuff".
    All too often they ride a wave of economic prosperity and/or luck up to being a major player, and never build in a solid business model for when people aren't just spending money like crazy. They overbuild, then under-price and constantly assume they'll get back to the good times just by continuing to build/sell cool stuff. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way.

  5. Alff Avatar

    I've always wanted to be a Col. I got 50 bucks. Who's in?

    1. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

      I guess I'm in for a C-Note. Let's all pitch in and start the Hooniverse Classic Car Auction!

      1. acarr260 Avatar

        So we'll be the anti-BarretJackson? put me down too.