WINONA Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – First news at nine is proud to present County by County Winona, where we look at the people and the places that make Winona a special part of our community. We’ll be sharing county by county stories every night this week. Tonight, attention classic car lovers: there are a couple of weekends this year Winona is the place to be.
The city of Winona has a population of more than 26,000, and that number gets a significant boost twice a year thanks to Remlinger collector car auctions. Co-owner Dave Hanner says people from all over the country come to Winona to buy and sell classic vehicles.
“We do two a year, one in the spring, one in the fall. We run anywhere between 250 to 400 cars, depending on the auction,” said Hanner.
Each auction is done via consignment with Remlinger acting on behalf of the seller.
“Say if you have a ’65 Mustang that you’d like to sell, what we do is we consign that car to our auction, there’s a small entry fee, and then when we sell the car, we take a percentage,” said Hanner.
In his two years with Remlinger, Hanner has seen a wide variety of vehicles come and go.
“We see the Corvettes; we sold a ’58 Corvette for, I think $120,000 last fall. We consigned a 1959 Porsche 356a, which is a very rare car, and it’s worth north of $100,000 dollars,” said Hanner
High price tags are not uncommon at Remlinger, but there are more affordable options.
“So, we have cars probably from $1,000, all the way up to the sky is the limit. I think last year, we sold a car for $130,000, and we’ve sold cars as low as $500, so there’s a little bit of something for everybody,” said Hanner.
Buying and selling cars aren’t the only activities for attendees on auction days. Founder Jim Remlinger displays classic drag race cars and other unique vehicles he’s collected throughout his life.
“The auction stuff is in the back, and in the front is for the museum part of it. I have most of my cars are in here, and I’ve got a couple of cars on loan from some good friends of mine. We’ve got go-carts in here, vintage go-carts that we’ve purchased over in Paris, France, and we have a lot of cars in here are one of 50, one of 70, one of 100,” said Remlinger.
The museum is an expansive piece of automotive history, which Remlinger can tell you all about. Between the museum and the auction, Remlinger is a key player in Winona’s tourism, as well as the wider Coulee Region.
“Our last auction last fall, I don’t think there was a hotel room in Winona, and we actually had a lot of people staying in La Crosse. I think we had almost 4,000 people in attendance at our last auction,” said Hanner.
Jim Remlinger believes his business can get even bigger.
“We’d like to grow this auction in Winona to probably about 500 cars per auction,” said Remlinger.
In the meantime, Remlinger and Hanner are gearing up for the first auction of 2022.
“So, June 3rd and 4th we have our Spring auction here in Winona, right here at this facility. We plan to run 400 vehicles. Everyone’s welcome as far as a buyer, a seller, or spectator,” said Hanner.
Remlinger will also hold an auction in Lincoln, Nebraska this July. The fall auction in Winona is slated for October 7th and 8th. An ’82 Chevy Corvette and a ’67 Ford Mustang are among the cars set for this spring. Remlinger offers free general admission for anyone interested in watching the auction.
Tune in this Sunday at 9:35 pm after First News at Nine to watch our half-hour special, County by County-Winona. We’ll introduce you to the people, places, and things, that make Winona County unique.