By Yvette VanDerBrink
Now we have all heard classic cars referred to as “ol’ girl” and some even have names. I know, I have a 1953 Chevrolet Belair named Leona, but it’s after my Gramma Nordstrom. Now, not all cars have names and not all cars are girls, but is it possible that a spouse or significant other can be jealous of a car? I’m sure we all remember the movie “Christine”, one of my personal favorites. The lead character, Arnie, loved that 1957 Plymouth Fury, Christine, and went to the grave for his car. He wasn’t going to let anybody come between him and Christine.
I’ve done auctions for men that have had wives that weren’t happy about their car collection. More than a few times I have heard, “he’s out in that garage all the time. He cares more about them cars than me!” Well, I don’t know if that was actually the truth. But, I did meet a few ladies that referred to those cars as the “other women.” I remember one wife who hated those old cars all over her yard. When I met with my seller [her husband], she was not happy. She let me know that it was time for them to go and was sure it was a big waste of money. Well, for me, as a car gal, I wanted to show her that not all his time and money was spent in vain.
We had the auction and the wife remained in the house the whole time. She came out at the end and clearly said, “Well, did I get enough to buy some new appliances?” I was happy to tell her that she not only was getting new appliances, but also could build a new house from the proceeds. She was truly amazing and apologized to her husband after she picked her jaw up off the ground. For me, there was gratification, not only to show her that it wasn’t junk, but that her husband was a smart man investing in his iron 401K plan.
Sometimes relationships do not work out. I’ve seen love go wrong and the collector car seems to take the brunt of the aggression. When passions flair up a key can be a lethal weapon to a classic car.
I remember another auction that I ran in South Dakota. It was an ugly divorce and the car collection was tangled up in the middle. We were doing inventory and I quietly went outside so they could have their privacy. My seller came out of the house, clearly shaken, and sat down. He said, “You know, I’ve spent many hours, dollars, and time buying all these cars. She knew I loved them and knew where to get me. She hated them when we were married, and now that we’re getting divorced she all of a sudden is interested in them.” I wasn’t sure of what to say at that point, but he turned and said, “ I should have never got married, bought more cars, and just bought a better lawn mower. She didn’t mow the yard good anyway.” That was an interesting comment and didn’t know if I should chuckle.
My husband has a 1955 Chevrolet ½ ton pickup. He’s had the car since he was 14 years old. He had that truck in high school and I’m sure there were a few girlfriends sitting in the middle. Am I jealous? No! For me, I remember him bringing it to our first place. Bringing the kids to school and the joy that it brings my husband. Memories.
But then again, most women and men enjoy the hobby with their significant others and their cars are treated like children. When sale day comes, it’s like marrying off a daughter or son. This is why I do celebrations and try to develop a legacy for the seller and their collections. For those spouses that really don’t or didn’t understand, I try to put the pieces together to show them the joy that the cars brought and the value of their collection. It was really not only a “love”, but also an investment plan. It helps for a “car gal” to have some “girl talk” about the collection and maybe that car brought back memories for him of their wedding day, first date, freedom brought about from a first car. By the time the auction rolls around, things are brought into a whole new light. Oh, I have still met a persistent gal that still would rather have it all crushed. DON’T PLEASE! Give us a call! Remember, it may not be the car or pickup that the significant other loves, but the memories that come with that car. That collection of memories are held and treasured by the owner. Chances are you’re a big part of that collection of memories with those cars.
The Lil Nordstrom’s Gal- The Salvage Princess
Yvette VanDerBrink-Auctioneer-VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC