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HomeEventsWill RM’s Auburn Fall auction be the last at the historic location?

Will RM’s Auburn Fall auction be the last at the historic location?

Local developer negotiating to buy Auction Park site and turn it into a sports complex

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Will RM Auctions’ Auburn Fall collector car auction, scheduled for September 2-5 at the Auburn Auction Park in northeast Indiana, be the last such sale on the site that once housed Kruse’s annual Labor Day event?

KPCNews.com reports that negotiations are taking place for the sale of the site on the east side of Interstate 69 south of Auburn to be sold to J.T. Fisher Properties LLC by Auctions America Auburn Parks LLC, which purchased the property in 2011 from Kruse.

Fisher Properties head Joe Fisher told the newspaper he hopes to close on the property this month. He recently sold his business, Fisher Specialties, and has developed and shared plans to use the former auction site for a sports complex. Fisher, after selling Fisher Specialties, maker for kitchen cabinet and countertop for 31 years, told the newspaper he wasn’t ready yet for retirement. 

Auburn, Will RM’s Auburn Fall auction be the last at the historic location?, ClassicCars.com Journal
An Auburn, a Cord and a Duesenberg are parked in anticipation of their sale during the ACD Festival and auctions in 2018 | RM Auctions photo by Corey Escobar

Fisher’s plans, which were submitted recently for approval by the Auburn Plan Commission, include an indoor soccer field, 10 indoor basketball courts, 9 volleyball courts, 8 baseball fields, 4 outdoor soccer fields — which also can be used for lacrosse — and a splash park, as well as an area just across County Road 11-A for future commercial development.

The property includes more than 150 acres north of II-A (the current auction park) and another 52 to the south.

Fisher is confident enough in completing the sale that he told the local website he’s already booked basketball tournaments for the next two years. 

“We are hoping it will be a big draw for Auburn,” he said. “If Auburn wasn’t already on the national map, we are hoping this will do it. I grew up here in DeKalb County. We see this as a vital need for the community.”

Kruse’s annual Labor Day collector car auction dates to the early 1970s. He sold the I-69 location in 2011, but retained ownership of another large site just across the interstate where he built a complex that includes car museums and event venues. 

He subsequently sold that site to Worldwide Auctioneers, a company co-founded by his nephew, John Kruse. Worldwide stages collector car auctions at the site several times a year, including the Labor Day weekend.

Worldwide’s 14th annual Auburn fall auction is scheduled for September 3-4.

Auburn was the historical home of the Auburn Automobile Company and was where E.L. Cord had his headquarters for the Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg companies. It also is the site of the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile and the National Auto & Truck (NATMUS) museums ,and each Labor Day weekend stages the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I have many good memories at this place. The first time I attended was September 5th 1983.
    Maybe some corporate greedy people don’t realize that Auburn Indiana Labor Day Weekend is where it all started. Barrett Jackson and Mecum learned from this pioneer. I hope the deal falls through and it remains an auction park.

  2. I’ve been going to the Auburn Fall Auction for 30 years. It’s gone downhill fast since Kruse sold it. It wasn’t even worth attending this year. If they can’t host a better event, they should find something else to do with the property.

  3. When you combine an idiot (Fisher) with an excess of money he doesn’t understand you get this. What’s next Fish head….another micro brewery in Auburn?

    I’ve coached for 50 years and Auburn does not need a sports complex. Auburn is known as an auto town.

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