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“Cars, Cigars & Shirley” - Old Cars Weekly

“Cars, Cigars & Shirley” – Old Cars Weekly

September 18, 2018


The Doan Collection Auction- AKA “Crooked Herman Pedal Cars”

Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, since the age of three, Mr. Doan dreamed of the freedom a car would bring him. Doan could name all the cars, their features, and dreamed of the day that he would have his own. Uncle Sam called and he went into the service. After he finished his service he purchased his first car, a Model T Ford from a farm sale for $12.00.

He enjoyed the bachelor life, working, earning money, and being a playboy, and of course, enjoying his big cigars. He wasn’t in the market for a wife, but fate intervened and a blind date introduced him to the love of his life – Shirley. He knew immediately that he was going to marry her. That’s when his life and motto changed to “cars, cigars, and Shirley.” They married in 1952 and have been happily married for 65 plus years. They had one son, Houston.

Mr. Doan worked at a local department store and “curbed” cars on his off-time. I had never heard that term before, and he explained to meaning to me. Curbing consisted of buying used and new cars at local lots and selling them privately on the sides of roads – “curbing.” When he was working at the department store he was enamored with a REO Roadster on display. He bought the car and still owns it today. That REO will be available for sale in the upcoming auction.

Mr. Doan and his partner started the first Nissan/Volvo dealership in the Lincoln, Nebraska area in 1968. This was the perfect time to open the dealership since coincided with the beginning of the gas wars. Smaller, more fuel-efficient cars began to enter the U.S. market. Houston, his son, helped at the dealership and in some of his dad’s other endeavors.

Mr. Doan was active in the cast iron, vintage toys, and pedal car hobbies. Mr. Doan traveled throughout the U.S., also known as “Crooked Herman’s Pedal Cars” coming home with many treasures. Mr. Doan, developed molds and made his own meticulously detailed pedal cars that replicated many of the cars that he grew up with. He sold them throughout the United States. There will be several examples of his handy work up for sale at the auction, one of which is a Ford Model T Center Door Coupe. There will also be an assortment of handmade parts available for pedal cars.

While traveling around the U.S. to toy shows, Mr. Doan would pick up collector cars along the way. The 1905 REO Roadster that he first bought is up for auction along with a 1939 Buick, 1924 Buick, 1966 Ford Mustang convertible with less than 18,000 miles, among others. He particularly liked the Brass era and early cars. One of his favorite cars up for auction will be a 1951 Citroen Traction Avant 4-door sedan that he bought in Washington.

He eventually sold the dealership and invested in real estate. This allowed him the opportunity to enjoy all his hobbies, and living up to his motto of “cars, cigars & Shirley”. While he wheeled around talking about all his treasures and the related stories with me we were enveloped in the sweet smell of his cigars and stories of a fulfilled lifetime.

After many years of working with collector cars of big and small stature, Mr. Doan and his wife are in their 90’s and live in an assisted living apartment and have decided that it’s time to sell their collection. VanDerBrink Auctions will sell the Doan Collection on October 20th, 2018 at 9:30am on the farm on the edge of Lincoln, Nebraska. The collection hosts an assortment of collector cars including a 1905 REO, 1939 Buick, 1945 diamond T Truck, 1966 Mustang Convertible, and an assortment of Ford Model A & T cars. There is also one of Houston’s high school friend’s 1958 Triumph TR3 Roadster that is barn-fresh. Offered in conjunction with the big collector cars are approx. 70 pedal cars and even more cast-iron toys including Hubley, Arcade, Kenton, and many rare pieces. The auction will be live in person at the farm as well as bidding available online. For more info www.vanderbrinkauctions.com. See you at the auction, where you can bid for your chance to own a piece of the amazing Doan Collection.


How much is it worth?
Find out in the 2019 Collector Car Price Guide.
Get your copy today!


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We went down the lane, by the body of the man in black, sodden now from the overnight hail, and broke into the woods..