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Dr. Death’s Suicide Van Up for Auction

Though eBay pulls sale of Kevorkian’s ’68 VW, Kruse sets sale for mid-May.

by on Apr.28, 2010

Though eBay cancelled the bidding on Dr. Jack Kevorkian's '68 VW Westphalia, the "suicide van" will be offered by Kruse Auctions, next month.

Looking to buy a piece of history?  Here’s a chance to buy a rather macabre one: the 1968 Volkswagen van used by “Dr. Death,” Jack Kevorkian, in several of his controversial assisted suicides.

Preliminary bidding reached $3,400, but you’ll have to work a little harder to get the VW Westfalia camper, as eBay has pulled the auction from its site because, it told the Associated Press, it “does not allow the sale of items closely associated with notorious murderers within the last 100 years.”

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After several acquittals, Michigan-based Kevorkian was ultimately convicted, in 1998, for his role in the death of a 52-year-old man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Dr. Death, as he became known, claims he assisted in the suicides of 130 people during the eight years before that.

Before going to prison, Kevorkian said he turned the van over for scrap.  But it eventually fell into the hands of Jack Finn, a now-retired used auto parts dealer.   Finn said he wants to clear out his car collection, leading to put the VW van up on eBay until he was advised it violated the auction site’s “murderabilia” clause.

Finn has found another outlet, however, and the sale will continue, on May 13 through 16 through Kruse Auctions, one of the larger auto auction houses, which is based in Auburn, Indiana.

The timing of the abortive eBay sale was not-so-coincidentally timed to come on the same day that HBO began airing its new docudrama, “You Don’t Know Jack.”  Starring Al Pacino, as Kevorkian, it documents the Michigan doctor’s career, odd personality, and run-in with the law.  A replica is used for the original ’68 Westfalia van.

Released from jail in 2008, Kevorkian, through his lawyer, has expressed his concerns about the sale.  Attorney Mayer Morganroth says Dr. Death “never sold” the vehicle and would prefer not to see the auction continue.

The van, incidentally, is considered “not safe to drive,” though it’s unclear if plans to auction it off in its current condition would qualify as assisted suicide.

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