Late Kansas lawmaker’s antique cars are being auctioned off

The late Bob Bethell, a former member of the Kansas House, amassed so many antique cars and other items that he built a large garage to house his collection. He was even planning to add an adjoining room to hold more at his home in Alden.

But that project wasn’t completed before Bethell died in a car accident May 20, 2012, while returning home after the close of the Kansas Legislature. Now his wife has decided to part with some of his beloved antique cars at an auction Saturday — and she has a story for each one of them.

Lorene Bethell explains that the 1958 Oldsmobile two-door hardtop is like the one she and her husband drove when they were dating. And since her husband’s death, she has been driving the Mary Kay pink Cadillac four-door sedan with whitewall tires.

The navy blue 1966 Ford Mustang, a two-door vehicle with a white soft top, was their daughter’s car when she was in high school. And a 1928 Model A Ford, a two-door sedan with only 8,647 miles, was used in parades her husband would ride in each summer. And there’s the 1992 red Geo Metro that he bought, drove for a while and parked in the garage with only 55,430 miles on it.

“I once asked Bob: What car did he really want?” Lorene said. “And he told me, ‘The next one.’”

Seven cars will be sold, along with Volkswagen bodies for parts and several tractors. Other items include a Pepsi machine, a traffic light and several fire hydrants.

The auction is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday in Alden.