Every once in a while one can sense when something good is going to happen. One day near Grant City, Missouri, I experienced this rare premonition.
I had turned onto a lightly traveled state highway west of town when the feeling erupted. Seeing the late ’60’s Riviera behind a house trailer wasn’t it.
Upon cresting a hill, I suddenly saw acres of cars to my left. My curiosity getting the better of me, I turned down the adjacent county road. My curiosity only increased with the half-mile drive to the house, as cars were abundant in that stretch, also.
Upon stopping at the house I knocked on the door and met the owners wife. I told her she lived in paradise. She said my version of paradise differed from hers. Inquiry revealed they had over 2000 mostly intact cars on their property,
including the Chrysler coupe she and her husband had taken on their honeymoon.
The following Friday, I went to visit again, meeting her husband and looking at cars. They had several fields full.
as well as the Thunderbird whose air conditioning had quit. For years he had worked as an equipment operator all over Northern Missouri and Southern Iowa, allowing him to spot vehicles and acquire them cheaply.
We walked over just a portion of his property looking at cars. I saw the ’74 Cadillac ambulance, with 24,000 miles, he had used as a camper, much to the dislike of his sons who found it morbid.
Near his cattle he had his first car, a 1947 Plymouth he had purchased for $15. The ’69 Mustang fastback still retained its straight six although it had hit a tree. As he was getting on in years, he wanted to sell them to bolster his retirement.
He had an auction. The auction even made the front page of the St. Joseph News-Press, a town 70 miles away.
More items appeared as he prepared for the sale. Some obscure pieces emerged, such as a 1929 Windsor.
He also had what was claimed to be a 1918 Elgin, reputedly one of six remaining in existence and perhaps one of the more forlorn looking pieces there that day.
He also had the custom built, such as this Cadillac hearse
and its younger sibling; both were purchased by the same couple.
One person there was buying every Pontiac being offered.
Forward Look Mopars were one the most abundantly represented eras there, with about 20 in all.
I spoke to the man who had purchased one of the ’59 Dodge’s. He had traveled from Wisconsin simply for the chrome over the headlights. Having purchased the entire car for $250, he was having a grand time picking parts. This auction allowed a person to buy the car, take what they wanted, and leave the rest. One person had traveled from Arizona for this auction.
Another person I spoke with about a Hudson was the son of the previous owner. His father sold the Hudson for $50 when the water pump went kaput and he could not find a replacement; it had just sold at auction for $500.
In addition to the multiple Hudson’s, he had acquired many Packard’s
as well as a complete collection of old pickups.
He even had an early ’60’s Checker with a flat-head six under the hood. The variety he had was phenomenal.
Of his roughly 2000 cars, only 500 were offered in the auction. The most expensive car I saw sell was a very solid 1947 Mercury for $2700. Several cars could get no bids, such as a few Pinto’s and a ’69 GTO that was on its roof.
Sadly, most of these cars were either for the very ambitious or for parts. He had some rare and unusual iron, yet his ability to acquire them differed from his ability to store them.
Some had just settled in for a long retirement.