SAN DIEGO — Car and truck collectors in Southern California are all abuzz over an antique vehicle auction set for Easter weekend.
Bernie’s Antique Cars in will open its doors to buyers between Friday, April 19 and Sunday, April 21; but the actual auction is Saturday, April 20.
Bernard “Bernie” Long started collecting old cars when he was in high school and he never stopped, according to his daughter Carol Bromley.
“This was his love. Everything car, truck and tractor related, he couldn't get enough of it,” Bromley said.
Long passed away at the age of 88 in February.
Bernie’s collection spans eleven acres in Bloomington, California near San Bernardino and includes about 100 rare vehicles and thousands of hard-to-find parts.
“My parents would go on trips and most of their time was spent on dirt roads and he would find stuff all over the country and bring it back,” said Bromley.
Over the decades, Bromley recalled car collectors offering big bucks to purchase the vehicles.
“People used to come to our door almost in tears. They wanted to buy stuff so bad. But he just would not sell,” she said.
To car and truck collectors, Bernie’s yard is like a goldmine covered in dust, with bits and pieces of vehicles that you just can’t find anymore.
The man running the auction, Alex Trepanier, knows a thing or two about the vehicles set to hit the auction block.
That’s because Bernie's backyard was his old stomping ground when he was a kid.
“(Bernie) and my dad were really close friends and I kind of grew up coming out here,” Trepanier said.
Now, the old classics will soon be sold to the highest bidder.
“Really, it's a good thing because if he didn't save these cars, most of these cars would have gone to the junkyard,” said Trepanier.
And soon, Bernie Long’s car collection will fire up again.
“I hope it goes to people that will carry on the tradition and they will enjoy and love these vehicles as much as my dad did,” said Bernie’s daughter.