Nearly junked 1959 Cadillac stash nets $242K at auction

Project 1959 Eldorado Biarritz convertibles fetch $83K, $60K

A view of the stash of Cadillacs in the Brown Collection. The cars suffered significant raccoon damage within the barn where they were stored and before the sale, Yvette VanDerBrink had the cars moved outside.


John Olson thought a couple of his late father-in-law’s Cadillacs might be worth a little more than a salvage yard’s scrap price, but he and his family assumed most of the 30 rusty and dirty cars in the dank barn were junk. Had Olson not taken a chance and called Yvette VanDerBrink of VanDerBrink Auctions earlier this summer, he admitted that he would have junked most of the cars, including a rare 1953 Buick Skylark and an incomplete 1959 Cadillac Eldorado convertible. Instead, Yvette told Olson all the cars had some value and she’d prove it with an auction.

When VanDerBrink Auctions’ online-only sale of that car collection closed on Aug. 26, it became clear that junking that Hartford, Wis., collection would have been a $242,000 mistake.

This 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz, the better of two such models in the sale, took top sale honors at $83,000. This Biarritz (body number 226) was originally green. The high bidder lives in California.


A front view of the 1959 Eldorado Biarritz.

One of the nicest cars in the stash was this 1963 Eldorado convertible. It fetched $7250 in the online auction.


The two nicest cars in the collection — a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible and a 1963 Eldorado Biarritz convertible — fetched $83,000 and $7,250, respectively, and the prospect that they might be valuable saved the other cars from certain doom. Notable cars in the sale that would probably have been lost to the scrapper included a 1959 Eldorado Biarritz missing its deck lid and driver’s rear quarter panel (sold for $60,000); a very rusty 1959 Eldorado Seville coupe (sold for $16,500); a rusty but buildable 1953 Buick Skylark (a deal at $9,000); 1961 Cadillac Series 62 convertibles ($3,600 and $3,100); 1959 Cadillac Sedans deVille ($4,200 and $3,200); and a 1959 Fleetwood Sixty Special ($5,500).

One of only 975 Eldorado Seville coupes built in 1959, this one is complete but probably too rusty to save. It retains all of the Eldorado trim. This and the other cars were stored in a raccoon-infested barn, and this one still wears the excrement of the furry visitors that covered the inside of the barn. The feces even ate a hole in the hood in this car.



The 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Seville sold for $16,500. It is body number 271.


Only two of the 30 cars in the collection didn’t receive bids (a 1965 Jaguar sedan and an incomplete 1941 Cadillac Sixty Special), and not all of the cars sold for thousands of dollars. A 1947 Packard sedan, a 1948 Packard sedan and a 1969 Rover sold each for hundreds of dollars. Many more sold for around a $1000 or more.

A few 1959 Cadillac parts were included in the online-only sale. A set of four 1959 Eldorado and Sixty Special wheel covers sold for $2200 — about twice what they usually sell for on eBay — and some miscellaneous 1959 Eldorado trim sold for $2100.

It’s also worth noting that none of the cars were made to run before the sale and a few of the vehicles didn’t have titles. Nearly all of the cars were in complete condition. For safety and security reasons, there was no pre-sale inspection.

Complete results will appear in an upcoming issue of Old Cars, so stay tuned to the pages for additional information.

Bidders in the online sale were after the 1959 Cadillacs, and this Skylark’s selling price probably suffered a bit as a result. It sold for $9000, making it a good deal for the buyer. The car had been in a fire but its sheet metal didn’t appear to have suffered. When it was originally listed for sale, its data tag was missing but it was found before the close of the auction. Note the car’s torpedo hood ornament; it also had other personalized touches such as chrome-plated engine components.

The 1953 Skylark convertible, one of 1690 built. This one was red and has been in the seller’s family for many years, perhaps since new. It is body number 1132.

Another white Cadillac convertible in the stash up for auctions is this 1961 Series 62. There is also an equally rough red 1961 convertible. This white car sold for $3600.

This 1959 Cadillac Series Seventy-Five is certainly good enough to be considered a project car. It
sold for $11,500.

There are two 1959 Cadillac Sedans deVille, one of each variety. This “flat top” Sedan deVille is in about the same shape as the “six window” Sedan deVille in the sale, but someone chromed some of the engine components on this flat top’s 390 V-8. Between the flat top styling and chrome-plated engine parts, this one fetched the higher bid of $4200; the other Sedan deVille fetched $3200.

1959 Cadillac Fleetwood Sixty Special wears evidence it came from Texas. It had some rust-through below the back window, but was still a good buy at $5500.

1959 Eldorado Biarritz convertible (body number 995) is missing the driver’s side quarter panel and deck lid but given its restored value, it is a builder. It sold for $60,000 and is going to Canada (it was probably sold new in New York). The high bidder also bought some of the trim in the sale, probably to help complete this car.


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