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‘It’s gonna be insane’: Thousands will roar into Winona for car auction at Remlinger’s Muscle Cars

October 7, 2018
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Jim Remlinger talks about the cars that will be up for auction next weekend while standing next to his collection of cars at Remlinger's Muscle Cars — where the auction will be held — in Goodview.

Jim Remlinger has hit the throttle again.

This time it has nothing to do with the Steamboat Days Car Show, although it still has to do with cars.

Remlinger — an avid car collector, business owner and the organizer of the Steamboat Days Car Show — is going full bore to bring a car auction to town that’s during buyers from across the United States into Winona.

Remlinger and his partners at SG Auction — formerly known as Spring Grove Auction — have a list of 250 race cars, classic cars, hot rods, cruisers, hemis and high-performance cars that’ll be auctioned off Friday and Saturday, Oct. 12 and 13, at Remlinger’s new car collection warehouse, Remlinger’s Muscle Cars, near the old J.C. Penney building.

Admittance is free, and food will be available. But VIP tickets will include breakfast, a meal voucher for each day, VIP seating, five drink tickets per day, a T-shirt and koozie. A portion of the proceeds will go to the VFW for the Freedom Honor Flight program.

Remler expects quite a turnout. Remlinger and JC Nerstad from SG Auction said hotels in the area are booked with buyers coming into town. The auction has been heavily advertised in national car magazines across the U.S.

“We’re thinking about 3,000 people, but it might be more,” Remlinger said. “It’s attracting buyers from all over.”

Nerstad said they’ve had inquiries from people from Great Britain and Australia who’ll be bidding on cars online. Remlinger said that price of the cars will likely range from $1,500 to $200,000 per car — or more.

“It’s gonna be insane,” Remlinger said.

While talking about the auction, Remlinger gave a tour of the warehouse which includes two major parts. One side is dedicated to his collection of 30 or so muscle cars, hot rods and racing cars, along with 20 or so Lamborghini, Ferrari and other types of kid-size go-karts and small racing vehicles. It’s also got an uncountable number of neon lights and a fake gas station with a old-time gas attendant mannequin with wrinkly skin. The collection also includes biggest set of race cars in the Midwest, Remlinger claimed.

“You will never find another collection of original race cars like this in the Midwest,” Remlinger said. “I guarantee it.”

He pointed to a line of cars that included a Sox and Martin 1968 Barracuda and mentioned casually that the line of cars was worth $3 million.

Remlinger said the idea is to turn it into a car museum, but for right now and during the auction, the collection will be available to check out for attendees with a $10 ticket — or for free with a VIP ticket for the auction.

The other side of the warehouse is dedicated to the auction and future events. The 20,000-square-foot open space will have seating for 500 people, a stage in the center and a VIP deck for anyone who purchased a $50 VIP ticket.

While audience members and bidders check out the line of cars thundering through — including the two 1957 T Bird convertibles that’ll be auctioned off — students from Minnesota State College Southeast will have a different type of opportunity. Auto body students will get the chance to not only sit in the cars, but drive them as they’re taken in and out of the warehouse and reparked.

“This is a great opportunity for the students to interact with vehicles from years past,” MSC Southeast auto body instructor Tom Brandt said in an email to Remlinger. “This is an opportunity to be part of something most have only viewed during car shows on TV.”

Nerstad said as far as the auction goes, there will be something for everyone to enjoy — whether it’s watching the cars file through, bidding or walking around Remlinger’s collection.

Remlinger said it’s been a lot of work — he’s been at the warehouse at 7 a.m. every morning and leaving well after dark — but it’s worth it.

“We’re serious about putting this one together,” he said with a smile.

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