HELENA – The State of Montana’s General Services Division is gearing up for its annual surplus vehicle auction – which takes place this Saturday.

Thursday is the start of two preview days where bidders can come check out the auction items for themselves.

This year there are 372 items up for auction, 240 of which are vehicles.   That includes 40 ‘4WD’ pickups, 14 vans, 20 hybrids, 10 SUVs and 14 Dodge Chargers.

But there is also a hovercraft and an amphibious vehicle among the more interesting auction items.

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The annual event is a chance for the state to get rid of equipment that is no longer needed while putting money back into its pocket: on average the auction brings in $750,000.

“So we have the preview days Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. so that folks can come in, get the keys to the vehicle, and start them, listen to them, so they can check them out a little bit,” explained State Surplus Program Manager Tama Lutsko.  “Because everything that’s sold on Saturday is as is: no warranties, all sales final – just a typical auction.

There is one more preview day Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the warehouse at 16 W. Custer Avenue.

The auction begins at 9 a.m. sharp on Saturday and will include online bidding this year for those who are unable to attend in person.

Pate Auction handles the bidding and estimates they will sell a vehicle every 42 to 48 seconds.