For some people, they can’t imagine wide open spaces, driving for miles without seeing another place. Western North Dakota is one of those last great frontiers. Around 100 years ago, Teddy Roosevelt left New York and staked a claim in this vast wilderness of Western Dakota. He loved the untamed beauty of nature and the solitude of the open plains. Antelope, deer, and even Buffalo still roamed the plains until the ranchers and farmers settled.
The Krinke Family came to North Dakota and staked their claim in Western North Dakota and have been farming the same ground for over 100 years. Farming is a rough life, and mother nature makes it hard for you to win. Neil grew up knowing the value of hard work and earning your way.
Neil Krinke was born in 1932 on a farm a half mile south from the ranch where he lives. He grew up farming with horses and couldn’t wait until they got their first tractor. It was an Allis Chalmers 40-60 on full steel. That horsepower was a big improvement over the horses and made farm life easier. When you are growing up on a farm, it takes all hands to make it work. Neil Krinke started helping by driving grain truck at the tender age of 8-years-old. He mastered the ‘28 Chevrolet grain truck with loads from the field, barely seeing over the dash. Neil’s Dad was also a mechanic and it fascinated Neil how his dad had the knack of making something out of nothing. His mechanical skill fostered Neil’s fascination with automobiles and what makes them work. It was a good thing Neil’s dad had such skills. Like farming in Western North Dakota, there are good years and bad years and often, “you have to make something out of nothing.”
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Neil graduated high school and got his first car. It was a 1949 Pontiac. With an abundance of open roads, racing and riding motorcycles was just something for a young man to do. There were also dances on the weekend. It just so happens that at one of those dances he would meet his wife, Rosalie. He remembers seeing that “good looking gal,” and they started dancing and talking. It would be 3 years and a blind date before they would meet up again.
Neil always wondered what happened to that gal at the dance in Raines. Luck would have it that he went on a blind date, and there she was. They kicked it off just like that night they met. Neil and Rosalie got married and started farming the family farm and getting a farm of their own. It was not always easy. Neil can remember one year it was so cold while they were trying to plant, they put every stitch of clothing on they had and wrapped fertilizer bags around their legs and arms. Farming got better and soon after kids came along, 3 sons, which was a big help with the farming.
Everyone in the area knew that Neil was a car guy. One of the first cars that he obtained was a 1929 Ford Model A that he bought so a man in town could bury his brother. Also, it was like the 1929 Model A that he met Rosalie in.
Neil was born in 1932 and he loved the look and style of 1932- 1940s Fords. Likewise, the years between 1932-1940s came with a lot of history. The Depression, WWII, and so many other events shaped the United States and Neil’s life.
Neil and Rosalie gravitated towards Fords and joined the early Ford V8 club and enjoyed the shared love of cars and history that the club had. Once Neil bought a 1941 Ford he was hooked. That car was a labor of love and took about 6 years to restore it back to its original glory.
Western North Dakota is not only known for wide open plains, but dry western metal that make solid cars for restoring and rodding. It seems people didn’t get rid of anything, and there always were many cars on every farm. He bought most of his cars in the collection from about 50-mile radius of his homestead.
Krinke started to buy them up and bring them to the ranch. He would line them up to be restored in the future. Now Mr. Krinke isn’t much of a seller, and most everything he ever bought is still in the collection, with a few exceptions of some Chevrolets that have left the fold. Neil loved to drive the 1934 and 1935 Fords and they were his favorites. Like many collectors, it’s not only the cars that get bought, but all the pieces to put them together. Neil went to many auctions and also bought parts from people in the area.
The Krinkes retired from farming in 1998 and expected to have more time to “see the world” in their 1930’s and 1940’s Ford cars. By then, the boys were taking over the ranching and farming operation and needed help. Neil put his dreams of driving around the world on hold and helped the boys with the farming and ranching. It wasn’t all work and no lay though. The Krinkes did make adventures with their cars to Dearborn and Early Ford V8 Meets. Their cars have won Dearborn and Early Ford V8 awards for Neil’s astounding attention to detail with his restorations.
Soon age and a health scare came sooner than they expected. It became apparent that something had to be done with the collection. The boys encouraged their dad to let other people enjoy the cars and he and Rosalie can enjoy a couple restored cars to “see the world.”
Years of collecting has filled multiple barns with signs, parts and cars. Adjacent to the cow yard, 1930’s-1940’s Ford cars and trucks were lined up and staged to be restored. The family called VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC and they started the process of selling the collection and setting an auction date. September 18th, 2021 was chosen as the day to sell the vast collection at the ranch south of Scranton, North Dakota.
Inventory day came and Neil, the boys, and I started taking pictures and numbering the cars, parts, and memorabilia. The enormity of the collection soon became apparent. While doing inventory the memories came back and the stories started flowing about acquisitions and adventures. The collection also revealed so much history of the local area and its people. Every car, Neil had the story of who had it and when he got it. From the 1929 car that he bought to help bury a brother to a 1932 Ford 3-window coupe that was in a neighbor’s barn years ago. By the end of the day, 92 vehicles and collector tractors, nearly 100 signs, gas globes, and other automotive collectibles were numbered. The collection has a vast array of parts with many for Ford eras 1932, ‘33, and 1940’s. There are seventy plus Ford trucks, pickups, and MANY coupe and sedan bodies for restore or your hot-rodding dreams. The collection has a rare 1933 3-window coupe for rod or restore. Along with that amazing rolling body comes the hotrodder’s dream, a 1932 Ford 3-window coupe. There are even several rare 1932 Ford Victoria Sedans. Since Neil was born in 1932, there are many Ford 1932 sedans, coupes, and many 1932 Ford parts. The Krinke’s will be selling their restored Dearborn award winning cars, including a rare 1934 Ford Victoria 2-door sedan, 1936 Ford Cabriolet, 1934 Ford roadster project, 1940 Ford coupe, and more.
Even though the collection is primarily Ford, there are Chevrolets and Mercurys in the mix. A hard-to-find 1950 Mercury convertible is sitting in the corner of the machine shed. A 900 plus AACA Junior & Senior Award winning 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible will be sold along with an amazing 1954 Chevrolet 5-window pickup. Even a 1964 Mercury Marauder that was purchased new by the Krinkes will be up for sale. The auction will take place on the ranch and will be LIVE ONSITE with ONLINE bidding on September 18th, 2021 at 9:30 AM MT. While there is no cell phone reception on the ranch, there is high speed internet to the residence. But it is best to be in person to bid and come and spend a beautiful weekend on the high plains of North Dakota.
Collections like this are hard to find, and you won’t want to miss or see this rare opportunity to bid on and view fabulous Fords and more. For catalog/online bidding, video, and many pictures go to the website www.vanderbrinkauctions.com . But you always get a front row seat on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube by following VanDerBrink Auctions. So, plan now to venture up to the wide-open plains of Western North Dakota and bid on your piece of the amazing Krinke collection.
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