Piet den Hartogh was convinced. He believed in his beloved Fords and thought they were the best cars money could buy and he should preserve pre-war cars for future generations. So he started collecting them in 1956 with the personal goal of owning at least one car of each model line. In later years he founded his private museum in Hillegom near Amsterdam and was listed in the Guinness Book of Records with the biggest private Ford collection worldwide with about 250 cars in total. When he died in 2011 his daughter Greske took over the collection, but public interest in vintage cars and pre-war cars was going down.
Therefore the museum decided to auction 47 cars on their own website in 2014. They were sold without reserves and so often only catched minimum amounts of money – not worthy of the lifetime achievement of Piet den Hartogh. So they stopped those auctions and tried to find a collector who would buy the complete museum. This search remains without a result and now they try to auction the remaining 49 motorbikes and 222 cars together with well-known auctioneers Bonhams at 23 June.
Den Hartogh collected mostly Ford cars from the beginning of their history until World War 2, but also some cars from after the War. Even an Army-Jeep built by Ford under license from Willys is part of the big collection, as well as an original Willys Jeep. Next to the Ford cars he also got some luxurious sedans from sister company Lincoln as well as lorries, transport vehicles, fire engines, taxis, busses and an ice-cream van.
This is another private collection which will be auctioned this year – but so far it is the biggest one. Although there is another big auction at 23 June at the other side of the Atlantic: RM Sotheby’s will sale the ‘The Dingman Collection’ with more than 800 lots, but most of them are collectibles while only 36 cars are included.