Former antique auto showroom in Ellsworth to be auctioned off

An eye-catching building on Route 1A in Ellsworth that used to house an antique auto dealership is being offered up for sale at a foreclosure auction scheduled for 11 a.m., Tuesday, May 20. The unusual building includes a second-story apartment that features a built-in phone booth, a fireman's pole, &quotexotic" wood trim and flooring and several corner turrets.
Bill Trotter | BDN
An eye-catching building on Route 1A in Ellsworth that used to house an antique auto dealership is being offered up for sale at a foreclosure auction scheduled for 11 a.m., Tuesday, May 20. The unusual building includes a second-story apartment that features a built-in phone booth, a fireman's pole, "exotic" wood trim and flooring and several corner turrets. Buy Photo
Posted May 07, 2014, at 1:33 p.m.
Last modified May 07, 2014, at 5:44 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — It used to be a place where antique cars were sold.

Now, an eye-catching building on Route 1A where the cars were displayed is going up for sale. The former Moto Car dealership will be offered to the highest bidder at a foreclosure auction later this month by Keenan Auction Co.

The auction for the building and 4-acre parcel has been set for 11 a.m. Tuesday, May 20.

The building is mostly empty and no vehicles, antique or otherwise, are being auctioned off with the property.

The parcel at 444 Bangor Road is owned by Terrence Pinkham, according to official information posted on the city’s website. It has 6,340 square feet of living space, much of it taken up by the unfinished showrooms. The building, which has been renovated extensively over the years, originally was constructed in 1923.

The building going up for auction has an assessed value of approximately $220,000 and the lot it sits on has a separate assessed value of approximately $42,000. According to the auction company, a total of $8,385 is owed in back taxes on the property for 2013 and 2014.

Contacted Wednesday, Pinkham did not go into detail about his business finances but said that his lender — identified in auction documents as Jerome Goldsmith — delayed Pinkham’s repayment schedule for a while but decided to foreclose when he couldn’t wait any longer.

Pinkham said he still is in the antique car business. He still owns the property just north of the old dealership building, where he has a 1977 Trans Am, a 1968 Mercury Cougar, a 1955 Thunderbird, a 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne and other vehicles parked along the side of the road.

Pinkham said he bought the building in 1975, when he was 22 years old and had just graduated from what was then called Husson College in Bangor. The old dealership building is an “icon” and a “landmark,” he said, that he has extensively remodeled and expanded over the years.

“I spent thousands of hours building that building,” Pinkham said. “I put my life into it.”

Pinkham said he does not plan to attend the auction to find out who the new owner will be. It would be too painful to watch someone else take ownership of it.

“I’m a tough guy,” Pinkham said. “I’ll survive.”

According to the Keenan website, the upper level of the building being auctioned “contains a custom-designed owner’s living quarters with sunken living room, many built-ins, exotic wood trim and flooring, telephone booth, fire pole and cupolas.” Old doors apparently transplanted from hotels and courthouses are among the building features. It also includes walk-out basements and three bays of basement garage space.

In 2000, a fire caused damage to the apartment but the damage subsequently was repaired.

An official with the auction company, David Reed, said this week that many features in the second-story apartment seem to have been salvaged from other properties, but he did not know from where. He estimated that the building has been unoccupied for a few months.

Bidders must each make a deposit of $20,000, which will be nonrefundable for the highest bidder.

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