Tinsley Chevrolet items to be auctioned Saturday

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — An auction on Saturday will offer a glimpse of Pickens’ past — and a chance for buyers to pick up some cool rides.

The contents of the former Tinsley Chevrolet building will be auctioned off on Saturday, according to Pree Hamilton, whose parents founded Tinsley Chevrolet in 1953.

“It’s kind of the end of an era,” Hamilton said. “Tinsley Chevrolet, after 54 years of service, are auctioning off the contents (of their building). We’re not auctioning off the property or the building.”

The auction will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, at 319 Ann St. in Pickens. A preview will be held at 8 a.m. the day of the sale.

A partial listing of the items up for auction includes a 1957 Chevy Bel Air coupe, a 1954 Chevrolet 150 two-door sedan, a 1962 Corvair Monza, a 1960 Corvair Monza, a 1916 Chevy Touring Car, a 1940 Chevy Master Deluxe, a 1960 dump truck, a visible gravity gas pump, signs, jacks, a manual tire machine, floor safe, shelving, parts manuals, old and new stock parts, an office telephone system and computer cabinets.

Hamilton expects a lot of interest in the Corvairs.

“There are Corvair collectors out there,” she said.

The cars are in good condition, Hamilton said. In fact, the 1916 Touring Car was driven to the location.

“I just had the starter on the 1916 fixed,” she said. “I was amazed that you could fix a 1916 starter.”

What became known as Tinsley-Crane Chevrolet Co. began in November 1953, when Jack and Carla Tinsley bought a dealership from a man Hamilton can only remember as Mr. Bigby. That dealership had been located on Main Street in Pickens. The Tinsleys borrowed money and started the business with Carla’s father, William Carl Crane Sr, who had started Crane Chevrolet in Easley in 1923.

With that money, they built a new sales and service building on Ann Street, which opened on “Show Day” in October 1954.

Hamilton and her sister, Jeannie Gilstrap, spent a lot of time at their parents’ dealership growing up. Hamilton was born in 1956.

“I took my naps in the back of a ’56 Chevrolet,” she said.

During the bicentennial, Hamilton’s father drove the 1916 Touring Car from Liberty to the First Baptist Church in Easley, she recalled.

“It took us about 45 minutes to get from Liberty to Easley,” Hamilton said.

She said she and her sister were wearing hoop skirts, and her father wore a top hat. Like many men, he’d grown a beard in honor of the bicentennial.

“It was a sight,” she said. “It really was.”

In June 2007, an ad in the first-ever issue of the Pickens County Courier announced that the dealership had been sold. In July 2007, it became Jay Chevrolet.

In the ad, Jeannie Gilstrap wrote about the many customers and employees who had come through the doors of the dealership over the years.

“These are a part of our family,” she wrote. “We appreciate and treasure them.”

All items will be sold as is where is. All sales are final and must be made with cash, pre-approved check or credit cards (with a 3 percent fee).

Holbert Auction Services is overseeing the auction.

Photos of some of the items can be viewed by visiting and clicking on South Carolina.