One of the questions that I get from my sellers is “who is going to be around to buy my stuff in 10 years? Will there always be a buyer?” Now that’s a loaded question. The key to building the collector car, tractor, or truck hobby is memories. Our brain is a marvelous body part that holds all the good times, bad times and memories tucked away in files of our lives. Memories are triggered by something, someone, or a moment in time. People are always wanting “that good time feeling” back. That time they had at one or several times in their life. That rush of endorphins, that time in life when everything was right. This may have been a song, car, tractor, or place that can trigger strong memories that open the file cabinet in the brain and bring back those same feeling years later.
For the collector car hobby, people want back the car that they drove in high school. The car that they couldn’t have but always wanted. The car that they got married in or well, you know. I was fortunate to grow up in a family that cars were a huge part of our lives. Racing on the weekends and the fact that my dad was an avid collector always looking for Chevrolets. Us kids could spot 1957 Chevy tail fins anywhere. I remember watching my dad make deals for Impalas while we watched from the car. Mom had to keep a log of which kid’s turn it was to ride along to pick up a car in the truck. There are so many stories and memories that I have, and most of them revolve around cars. As we go through the phases of our life, we are constantly creating memories that we will retrieve later in life. I know that’s why I own a 1965 Chevelle SS. I drove one that an old boyfriend had, and I used to race and drive all the time. I don’t remember much about the guy, but I do remember the car! To this day, the smell of diesel fuel and cigars instantly brings the picture of my husband, Steve, to mind. He would come over to my apartment when we were dating, with a 6 pack of Budweiser, and we would talk cars and good times all night. He’s a diesel mechanic and that smell brings with a strong memory and aphrodisiac for this wild South Dakota gal. But it was the commonality and love of cars and other things, that brought us together. Today, we still can sit and talk cars. When he told the guys at the shop we were going to go out, he didn’t know my dad had a salvage yard. To him, that was an added score.
When I’m doing inventory and going through the cars, quite often I have memories triggered by the sudden smell of Dentyne gum, Miller beer, old gas, and more. That’s why, we encourage bidders to come to the auctions and experience those feelings again while they look at all the cars. Memories are why certain cars are bought or not. I grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s when we had so many great cars and pickups back in my high school days. Today, my age group is now trying to buy back our memories of the “glory days.”
Recently, I was doing inventory at the Regehr Collection in Kansas and saw a kid looking in the window. We let him in and he said he rode his bike past that building and usually stopped to look in at all the cars. He knew that there was a 1957 Chevrolet in there. An 8-year-old that knew what a 1957 Chevrolet looked like, impressive! So, I took him over to the 1957 Chevrolets and let him sit in the car. I took him around and told him about the Corvettes, ‘32 Fords, and other cars, but he was drawn to the ‘57 Chevy. He beamed as he clutched the steering wheel. I called his mom and asked if I could use his picture and sent them to her also. I told her about his big day with the old cars and that he wanted to see a 1957 Chevrolet. Here is why that car resonated with him… His dad had once told him a story about a ‘57 Chevy. A memory was forged in this young man. A key motivation for him to possibly buying one years from now. This is how we can get young people into the hobby. Create that memory! Take them to a show, let them sit in your car, or better yet, give them a ride. Give them that rush of adrenalin and create that memory sowing the seeds, and hopefully nurturing a future car collector. I know we don’t want kids manhandling our cars, but I think the best car show would feature rides in different cars from different eras. What a memory that would make and what strides that would take to making a future collector.
So many of our kids are not hearing the stories of Grampa or Gramma’s cars. We used to go to Gramma and Grampa’s weekly and did more with parents that were home. But now kids are lucky to spend holidays with grandparents. People are so busy, and many kids don’t get to spend all day with a parent like I did. It takes more to live these days. Here’s a thought, buy that car project and fix it together with a kid, your kid, and make those memories, and tell those stories. Most of all, give a kid a ride in that car and tell them about it if they are truly interested. I was happy to show Cash around the collection.
Back to our young friend… He followed us to the next building and was wanting to look at more cars. It was really fun to share my knowledge and let him experience history. So let’s make those future auction buyers and collectors. Share your memory and your collection.
Yvette VanDerBrink- Auctioneer
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC
The Salvage Princess
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