About Bob's Gas Pumps and Restorations
(click images to enlarge)
Bob's Gas Pumps was founded in 1992 by Bob Krist. His love of automotive memorabilia led him to refurbishing vintage cars and eventually to the restoration of antique gas pumps.
In need of a facility in which to pursue this interest he converted his two car garage on the outskirts of Brampton, Ontario into a workshop. The pump shown below was the first pump Bob restored and sold to a film studio as a prop. Thanks to the film industry this fine specimen no longer exists.
In search of raw materials Bob began to scour the Canadian and US countryside searching for gems in the rough. These treasures were manhandled into his trailer and hauled back to the Brampton shop for refurbishment. Hundreds of thousands of miles later, Bob has rescued hundreds of pump carcasses from rust, neglect and weathering.
Bob's first venture into selling gas pumps came at Toronto's Classic Car Auction owned by Rob Myers from RM Auctions. The first lot of 2 pumps sold at auction which led to building restoring 4 more for the next auction.
The beginning of the 3rd auction saw Bob and Rob combining resources to sell off a large portion of Bobs inventory. Rob took items not sold to RM's Michigan sale the following week. The pumps sold quickly and Rob proved to Bob there was a strong market for him in the US.
As the relationship progressed and he began to produce more gas pumps most of the pumps were sold thru RM Auctions at the International Centre in Toronto and US venues such as RM Michigan and RM Florida. The pumps were a massive hit and Bob knew he was onto something. Little did he know it was to become a successful career with the help of Rob Myers.
As the business began to grow so too did the shop. Not one to observe obstacles, almost single handedly and in several stages, Bob soon converted the garage into a sprawling winterized 3000 sq.ft. complex which included a body and paint shop, an assembly shop, a detailing shop and an office. Not having the capital to hire contractors, much of the building material was obtained by scrounging, at auctions or through I'll scratch yours if you'll scratch mine relationships.
As the business expanded Bob became well know in the industry and was soon rubbing shoulders with people such as Rob Myers of RM Auctions, Peter Klutt of Legendary Motorcar Company, Dean Kruze International Auction Company of Auburn, Indiana and the auction staff of Barret-Jackson. These people were to become mentors and friends to Bob and offered much support and assistance over the many bumps in the road. Their connections and knowledge of the industry were to be instrumental in Bob's exposure and success.
Bob expanded his sales efforts to attending automotive shows throughout Canada and the US. He has a perennial presence at shows in Indiana, Florida, Arizona, Michigan, Calgary and Toronto
As the city of Brampton grew it rapidly began to encroach on Bob's rural property. In 2002 the city expropriated a portion of the property in order to expand the two lane road to six. This left Bob's front door virtually at the curb and it became obvious that he would have to move his home and business operation elsewhere. After several years of legal battles with the city Bob sold his property to the city and in 2008 relocated to another rural site in Arthur, Ontario.
With Bob on the move and nowhere to store his collection of petroliana. Bob decided to auction off his collection when Alan Bray, an avid collector and friend of Bob's, offered to host the auction at his facility in Newmarket. Bob accepted and after weeks of preparation the auction was a huge success, attended by a veritable who's who of collectors from around the world. After the first auction hosted by Bray, the BK SuperAuction was born. Bob's vision is to begin hosting auctions in Arthur as well as Newmarket.
(PICTURE - NEW SHOP BEFORE EXPANSION)
The new property included a 40x40ft shop and a newly built barn which Bob began to renovate for his new headquarters. As the renovations progressed Bob's mind began to distil a much larger vision and the renovation soon became an expansion project.
(PICTURES - NEW SHOP AFTER EXPANSION)
Most of the renovation and expansion consisted of joining the existing facilities and was a completed by 2010. The new facility now boasts 12,000 sq.ft. Late 2010 saw the completion of Bob's new 1300 sq.ft. showroom in the new facility.
Bob expanded his vision in 2009 to hosting his own auctions under the name of BK SuperAuction. This venture had a stellar birth with the 2010 consignment of the contents of the Hunta Museum located in Cochrane, Ontario. The museum was a favorite destination for those visiting Cochrane to travel on the famed Polar Bear Express which travels daily from Cochrane to Moosonee.
Jerry Miller, the owner of the museum reluctantly committed his prized collection to auction after the township refused to assist in relocating the museum to a more appropriate location in Cochrane. Bob and his associate Bernie Fritshaw used their extensive knowledge of the field and convinced Jerry to place his trust in Bob to make the auction a success.
The auction placed BK SuperAuction squarely on the map as a leading auction house and has established BK SuperAuction as fair and trustworthy. The Miller's have become close friends of Bob's in part because he placed their interests above his own and worked tirelessly on their behalf
Bob is currently pursuing consignments of several large collections and rare pieces for the follow-up BK SuperAuction scheduled for September 2011. He expects it to be every bit as successful as its forerunner. As before, the auction will be professionally run by Reinhart Auctions, Phil Faulker and live internet bidding will be effected through LiveAuctioneers based in New York city.
Bob's Gas Pumps and Restorations as well as BK SuperAuction have emerged as leading and trusted entities in the industry. Collectors throughout the world look to Bob as a premier supplier of quality and valuable products. In the near future Bob plans to extend the business further by offering web based sales of restorations and supplying replica parts to other vendors and collectors.
In 2005, RM Auctions featured an article detailing the early days of Bob's Gas Pumps on their website (click image below):
Bob's pumps have been featured on Dream Car Garage Show and are on exhibit at Legendary Motors Showroom in Milton, Ontario.
Every spring Bob has been running the lead auction at RM's Auctions America, Fort Lauderdale sale.