Carroll Hutton, of Teays Valley, was a collector of good friends, adventures and all things mechanical, especially items of historic interest — cars in particular.
When Hutton died April 1 at age 87, he left an estate that included 21 vintage cars and trucks, some fully restored, others awaiting Hutton’s TLC.
The antique vehicles range in age from a battery-powered 1907 flatbed truck that once kept Philadelphia newsstands supplied with magazines to a 1981 DeLorean, the stainless steel car with gull-winged doors made famous as the time-travel machine in the “Back to the Future” movies.
Other automotive gems owned by Hutton include a 1934 Mercedes 290 Cabriolet, one of only 10 known to still exist, once owned by a German Nazi SS officer, and a 1975 Cadillac said to have once been owned by Junior Samples, of “Hee-Haw” fame.
”He told me that his favorite car is his 1937 Buick opera coupe with a new motor and transmission” to make it roadworthy for modern highway driving, said Robert Phillips, sales manager for Joe R. Pyle Auction and Real Estate, and the man in charge of auctioning Hutton’s estate on Saturday.
Hutton, a Charleston native and a 1949 graduate of Stonewall Jackson High, served as an aerial photographer in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War era. After military service, he returned to the Charleston area and worked for many years at Kroger, working his way up to produce manager before deciding he wanted to take a plunge and transition to a career that was a bit more challenging.
Blending his hobby of scuba diving with his mechanical know-how, he created Underwater Services Ltd. in 1967, initially working on salvage projects and external repairs to towboats. Later, he and his company focused on the installation and maintenance of utility line river crossings, and inspecting dams and repairing dam components.
For decades, Hutton and his bulky air-fed dive suit traveled the nation doing projects for Underwater Services before he retired, allowing him to devote more time to his cars and other collectibles.
Between those careers, Hutton, who had earned a private pilot’s license, flew daily shipments of seafood from ports in the Carolinas to Charleston for sale to area restaurants and markets
In addition to cars, Hutton collected 19th- and early 20th-century farm tools, including a spinning wheel, yarn winder, butter churns and butter molds, an apple peeling machine and a cast iron dinner bell. He also collected items of interest he came across during his diving work, including cannonballs and musket parts.
Those items and hundreds more, including a cannon, a brass cavalry trumpet, antique railroad signal lamps, antique car headlights, magnetos, wheels and body parts, tools, vintage gasoline pumps and service station signs, will also be auctioned off Saturday.
The two homes Hutton designed and built on his Teays Valley property also are on the auction block. A three-bedroom circular-flow home on a 4-acre tract is situated on a knoll overlooking a pasture, pond. A newly built octagonal home is on another 4-acre parcel. The tracts will be sold separately.
Online bidding for estate items already is underway and, as of Thursday, nearly 200 bidders from 12 states had participated, according to Phillips. The early online bids must be higher than the highest bid made Saturday to be successful.
On Saturday, prospective bidders may examine items to be sold two hours prior to the auction, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. at Hutton’s property along W.Va. 34, between the Teays Valley Exit of Interstate 64 and U.S. 35 at Winfield.
During the auction, prospective buyers will gather in the shade of a tent and place their bids from there as they watch items to be sold displayed on a big-screen television monitor.
Using an internet auction platform, bidders from across the world also will be able to tune in and place their bids electronically, Phillips said.
For more information on the auction and the items to be sold, visit the Hutton Estate listing at www.joerpyleauctions .com or call 304-592-6000.