By Yvette VanDerBrink
Growing up on the prairies of Kansas, Joan McPherson was used to small town life. The country gal headed off to college and was instantly smitten with Wayne McPherson. He was from Lincoln, NE and drove a “Hot Rod” that was a constructed from a collection of parts. He was in her class, and it was love at first sight for Joan. This is where the hunt started. She had her eyes fixed on this wild hot rod man. She followed him to college, knowing good and well that this man would someday become her husband. She was on the hunt! After they both graduated college and graduate school they finally got married.
The young couple wanted to be closer to home and went looking for teaching jobs. They started their lives traveling with a pup tent and a car. They went to SE Missouri State University where Wayne landed a job as a math professor. The school also offered Joan a job teaching Health Education.
Wayne was into cars, and Joan learned fast that if they were going to do things together she’d better get onboard with his hobby. This was the beginning of their “hunts” together for adventure and car treasures.
Their first car was a 1965 Mustang convertible. Wayne loved Fords; they bought a German Ford and spent many days and weekends looking for parts. They frequented auctions and antique stores seeking parts. Along the way they met many wonderful people. During their searches they bought a 1934 Ford Deluxe Phaeton that was in the basement of a house. That car sat idle for several years while they hunted around the country looking for the correct parts. While at an auction looking for parts for that car, Wayne found the correct Sparkplug that he needed for the '34 Ford in a 5-gallon pail of spark plugs for $5.00. This find started yet another collection - spark plugs. In all, before he passed away, he had accumulated over 6,000 spark plugs with many being extremely rare. Along with parts and spark plugs, more cars found their way home while hunting for parts.
They eventually sent the 1934 Ford off to be professionally restored. The McPhersons spent many weekends winning awards with that 1934 Ford, including AACA, Dearborn, and Early V-8 Shows. Along with the award-winning Ford, Joan bought Wayne a 1968 Mercedes 250SL Roadster brand new. Wayne loved that car.
Wayne and Joan had many adventures while hunting for parts and cars. During their adventures Joan even learned how to fly a plane. Another hobby that Wayne and Joan partook in was photography. They were active fans of the SE Missouri State University Baseball team and spent many hours going to games and taking pictures of the players. These photos were used to put albums together for the parents and mementos for the players. They never missed a game. The team also appreciated them, for they were more than fans…They were friends. So much that Joan and Wayne would throw a yearly banquet for players and parents. Joan is still visited by past, present and active ball players from the team. In fact, some of the boys have been helping with the auction.
Sadly, Wayne was diagnosed with Leukemia and soon their adventures turned to hunting for the right doctor and treatment. Wayne passed away and Joan now has decided to move from the home that they hand-built together and sell their collections. The collection has collector cars, stationary gas engines, and MANY pieces of Petroliana including a rare NOS Fisk porcelain sign and many other spark plug and related gas and oil items. The collection also includes many of the treasures that they spent years “hunting” for together. Like Joan says, “The adventures were always around gas and collectibles. There wasn’t an adventure that wasn’t.” Their life together was the biggest adventure of all, and Wayne and Joan were lucky to have found each other.
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC will offer the McPherson collection onsite and online September 21st, 2019 at the Shadow Rest School just down the hill from the McPherson’s home. There are 386 lots of Petroliana, Collector cars including that award winning 1934 Ford Deluxe Phaeton, 1908 Buick, 1968 Mercedes, and 6 other vehicles. There are stationary engines, and many pieces of gas and oil collectibles including pumps, signs, oil cans, and more. Come and “HUNT” to find your treasures and join us at the McPherson Collection Auction. Sept. 21st, 2019 at 9:30AM. For more info, catalog visit www.vanderbrinkauctions.com .
Yvette VanDerBrink- Auctioneer
The Lil’ Nordstrom’s Gal