Mitchell Car Museum in Owosso to sell collection at auction - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Mitchell Car Museum in Owosso to sell collection at auction

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OWOSSO (WJRT) - (06/27/14) - The contents of a Mid-Michigan museum will be sold at auction later this summer. It's the private collection of a long-time Owosso benefactor.

William Mitchell made his fortune in the auto industry. He also collected some hard-to-find cars before he passed away two months ago. Now that collection is being dispersed.    

"The museum was put together in 1991 as a tribute to his father, Don Mitchell," said Don Nemets, the museum curator.

That museum holds 27 cars, including a 1954 Dodge Granada.

"There's one in the world and it sits right here in Owosso, Michigan. It was a concept car that was built by the Mitchell family for Chrysler," said Troy Crowe, Sheridan Realty and Auction Company, which is organizing the auction.

There are also two Lincoln Continental Mark IIs. The bodies were assembled in this building when it served as a factory. All the cars will be sold during an online auction Aug. 20.

"No bidding will be here, just because there is so much stuff," Crowe said.

Two open houses, Aug. 5 and 19, will be held here before the auction.

"We are going to charge $100 to come in to the museum," Crowe said.

If you have a winning bid, the $100 will go toward your purchase.

"A lot of museums are going to be very interested in these," Crowe said.

Many of the cars in the collection are station wagons because the Mitchell family believed they were the way families should travel.

"It was a booming business back in the 50'ss. One of the biggest selling cars," Nemets said.

Because it's an online auction, bidders could come from anywhere and the cars might eventually be scattered around the country or the world.

"I think the vast majority will leave the state of Michigan," Crowe said.

In two months, the building will be empty.

"It was the old Owosso Manufacturing facility by Alvin Morell Bentley, incorporated like in 1893.They made snow shovels and egg crates right in this building," Nemets said.

In 1991, William Mitchell of Mitchell Corporation started the museum and eventually filled it with cars his family had a hand in developing. The company - under his father Don's direction - made interiors for GM, Ford and Chrysler in the 50's and 60's.

"He did build the Lincoln Continental Mark II right here in Owosso, Michigan, which I think is kind of unique," Nemets said.

Mitchell Corporation was once a large employer in the area.

"It was all about jobs and people with the Mitchells and keeping people working," Nemets said.

William Mitchell died April 22.

"I had heard a little bit about it but I had no idea when I walked through that door and was given a tour to bid on the job. I had no idea it was anything like this," Crowe said.

"I have a lump in my throat at times thinking about it. But we're just basically caretakers and I know Mr. Mitchell would have wanted them to go to people who will appreciate them and love the cars as he did. He sure was my hero," Nemets said.

For more information on the auction, click here.
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