Background & History
Howard Lovett Sr., a Veteran of the United States Air Force was born on October 1, 1919 and was known as “Sarge” to area residents in Great Falls and Belt, Montana. During the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s Airmen assigned to Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana were transferred to other duty stations and were unable to pay the transport fees for their vehicles to their new duty assignment. These Airmen would park their cars and trucks on the Airbase leaving the keys and title in the vehicles. The Air Force would then hold auctions of these vehicles. This is where Sarge began collecting old cars and pickups acquired through the Air Force Auctions in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.
Sarge purchased some land in Belt, Montana, which was the “water hole” for the steam engines of the Milwaukee Railroad with rail cars full of ore mined from the mountains. This is where Sarge starting storing his cars and trucks. Many young area lads helped drive the vehicles to Sarge’s yard where he put the vehicles on blocks, removed the batteries and drained the gas tanks. One gentlemen who helped Sarge drive many of the vehicles said “I drove in two 1951 Lincoln’s and they could each go over 100 miles per hour.”
Sarge collected vehicles until he passed away on December 6, 1995 at the age of 76. The family elected to sell the land and the cars as a unit. The collection remained in tack as Sarge has left it.
This is the first time any of these vehicles and parts has been offered for sale to the public. A walk through the car yard is like stepping back in time where a person can visualize “Sarge” taking care to preserve each and every vehicle before finding its final resting spot.
The picturesque view from the car lot overlooking the plains and the Highwood Mountains in the background is surreal. If I was an old classic car I would be happy to be in an area like a rust free climate that Montana has to offer with views that money can’t buy.