Amazing & Rare Pre-War Trucks & Cars Collection
Oklahomans are a determined, tough bunch, and John Lewis was no exception. Growing up during the 1930s John saw first-hand how it took determination and shear will to survive. His Momma worked hard and saved what she could while raising John and his siblings. Money was tight and hard work was valued. John learned these valuable lessons, which helped him become successful in his future life. Having only a 4th grade education, John was determined to make something of himself. He joined the Navy in 1943 as a teenager and took pride that he was one of the youngest submariners in the submarine U.S.S. Pintado. He took pride in his years in the Navy and was proud of their missions during WWII, sinking many Japanese ships. After John’s service in the Navy he worked as a fireman and an electrician. It was as an electrician that he learned his trade and started Industrial Electric, a thriving business in Lawton, Oklahoma.
With his business thriving, it allowed him to buy the vintage cars and trucks that he saw and loved as a kid. The Brass Era, pre-war cars and trucks were his favorite, especially fire trucks. Being a fireman, he had a fondness for old fire trucks because they represented saving lives and helping people.
John married Jane after an introduction from their daughter. John Kept his wife Jane’s calendar book full of traveling all over the U.S. for rare trucks and cars. They would bring home their treasures, and John and his mechanic, Raymond Jet, would bring them back to life. It brought John great joy to see something that time had forgotten brought back to life instead of gathering dust or discarded.
John was good at getting people, especially his family, to do things. He would call up the kids and grandkids after a trip on the road gathering trucks and cars and put them to work washing and helping him fix his new finds. Everybody was involved in his love of cars and trucks. He also raised cattle and owned several farms. John was full of life and he made sure everyone had fun, especially while working with his collection. Soon the collection out grew the garage at his home and he built a museum where they are currently housed. Over 100 at a time, he would have them arranged and set up with his other collections of saddles, Indian artifacts, fossils and various collectibles. John would have barbecues for his customers and host special functions at the museum. The museum was never officially open to the public, but John would show people by appointment.
Being a fireman, John loved the old firetrucks and there are many in his collection. The collection has everything from an early horse drawn fire cart, 1915 White fire truck, to a 1946 American LaFrance ladder truck. Most all are restored back to original condition. John’s collection is unique and eclectic; it even has an eerie collection of hearses. The hearse collection ranges from an ornate 1888 Sayers & Scoville horse drawn hearse to a rare 1928 Henney hearse with fake bodies included. John was always up for a joke and made people laugh. John wanted to make sure everyone always had a good time.
The collection is mostly comprised of pre-war Brass and Nickel era cars and trucks. A 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom II Landaulet coach as well as other limos are waiting to go back into service. A 1914 Ford Model T Speedster is beautifully restored and looks like it’s ready for the Great Race. There is an assortment of White, Mack, Dodge Brothers, Packard, REO Speedwagon, and International C-Cab trucks and deliveries plus a rare 1925 Mack truck with airplane engine testing equipment installed. For parades, John has an assortment of coupes, sedans, and touring cars, including a 1914 Studebaker among others.
John was always hunting for rare trucks and cars and one of his favorites and biggest challenge was procuring a 1925 White Bus. The 1925 White Bus is decked out in yellow with yellowstone lettering.
One of the other rarities in the collection is a 1910 Knox truck. The truck appears original, aside from the replacement 1950’s HEMI engine and theater seats added to the bed. That must have been a wild ride.
John’s collection grew until he became sick and realized he wasn’t going to have a lot of time. He didn’t want to burden his family with the enormous collection he built and sold the collection, in its entirety, to a couple of men in Lawton, Oklahoma. John’s wife Jane said, “It was hard to let go, but it was also a blessing not to have to figure out what to do with all those rare trucks and cars, and other collections.”
Now it’s your chance to get one of these rare pieces of American history. This is just one of several auctions that will liquidate this enormous collection.
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC will sell the John Lewis Collection on October 21st, 2017 at 9:30 at the museum at 816 SE 1st, ST. – Lawton, Oklahoma. The entire collection will be sold NO RESERVE, to the highest bidder. This will be your chance to get one of these rare pre-war trucks and cars. A preview will be held Friday October 20th with a social and barbeque that evening for bidders. If you can’t come to the auction, on-line bidding will be available. In addition to the trucks and cars there will be memorabilia, collectibles, parts and other items. There is even a water mine and bear trap along with approx. 80 rare, vintage trucks, fire trucks, buses and cars. Make your plans to attend the John Lewis Collection Auction. For more info, online bidding, catalog, and other great auctions Call VanDerBrink Auctions 605-201-7005 or . See you at this Amazing Auction!