Bob Regehr collection 1
Bob Regehr collection 1

Life wasn’t all hot air for Bob the inflatable castle king

WHO’S have thought a bouncy castle and a massive car collection would have anything in common?

These days, a child’s birthday party, or even corporate event, features a bouncy castle.

Kids and the young-at-heart bop around in them and have a fantastic time.

They originated in the US back in 1959, when John Scurlock in Shreveport, Louisiana  was experimenting with inflatable covers for a government project when he noticed his sons enjoyed jumping on the air structure. 

He was a was a pioneer of inflatable domes, inflatable tents, inflatable signs and his greatest achievement was the invention of the safety air cushion used by fire and rescue authorities to catch people jumping from buildings or heights.

His wife, Frances, started the first inflatable rental company in 1966.

Two years later, Bob Regehr, of Hutchinson, Kansas, debuted a variation called the bounce-house at the 1968 Chicago World Fair. 

It quickly found a good slice of the market and Regehr, who owned a Texaco petrol station at the time, made more than a few dollars, which allowed him to indulge his passion for cars.

Regehr began collecting cars when he was just 14, buying a 1940 Mercury. 

He later became a car salesman, and then opened the Texaco station, where he knew he’s always be around cars. 

The  station was a successful venture and allowed Bob make contact with customers.

If he liked what they drove, he’d make an offer to buy.

It turns out he collected hundreds of cars over the years, and a few tractors, before his death in September, 2019.

Now more  than 140 of them will be sold off by VanDerBrink Auctions on October 24.

It’s said Regehr once had 226 cars and parts stored in various buildings. 

But as age crept on, he lost track of what he had, which explains why the collection was gradually pared down during the ensuing years.

He had a thing for Fords, with more than 50 of the blue oval vehicles included in the sale. 

His favourite was the 1932 Ford, and a wide variety of body styles are represented in the collection — among them two rare B400 two-door convertible sedans which were originally United States Embassy cars in Europe.

In fact, there are 20 1932 Fords up for grabs.

General Motors and Chrysler are represented as well, with several Corvettes, a 1972 Pontiac GTO, 1955 Dodge Coronet Hemi, along with Buicks, Cadillacs and Plymouths. 

Also on offer are a 1936 Auburn Boat tail Speedster Kit car, Lincoln V8, 1970 Plymouth Cuda Pro-Street dragster, 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS, 1959 Nash Metropolitan Coupe, 1983 GMC Caballero, 1973 Jaguar XJ6 and finally a 1950 Packard Deluxe.

If you plan on going, the auction is being held on the Kansas State Fairgrounds, in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Good luck, and don’t forget to wear a face mask.


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