The Coyote Johnson Collection
By Yvette VanDerBrink
Finding the next big barn find is always the dream of every car guy and gal. I have seen and worked with many barn find collections throughout the years, and I am always looking for the next find. VanDerBrink Auctions was selling a collection in Iowa in 2018 when a quiet man came up to me after the auction and said, “I would like to show you my collection.“
The location didn’t show up on the GPS, and I eventually turned into a path flanked by trees to an assortment of buildings. Coyote Johnson, as his name soon would imply, would give clue to what was in his over 40-year collection. Coyote unlocked and opened the 1st building, which was filled with dust, covered muscle cars in every color of the rainbow. A glorious palette of MoPar colors shined bright amongst other survivors of the great muscle car era. I was taken aback with the amazing collection and wondered what was hiding in the rest of the buildings. Building after building was packed tight with muscle cars. Chevelle’s, Camaros, Firebirds, GTO’s, Challengers, Cudas, Impalas, Tri-Five and more were carefully parked aside each other. Coyote explained that he hadn’t shown anyone, not even family members, the collection in over 40 years! He simply tucked them away.
Curious, I asked Coyote how he got his nickname, was that his real name? When Coyote was in high school he received a call from his mom; she told him that she had bought him a car - A green and white 1969 Road Runner. A man had come to her workplace and said he had to sell the car because he was going to have a baby. Always willing to help, the Johnsons bought the car. Little did his mom know, that car would become the star of his amazing collection. Coyote still has the 1969 Roadrunner with his letter jacket still in the front seat as if he was ready to go school. The Roadrunner soon taught Coyote that if you had a cool car you’d get the girls and gain respect from the guys. Having a car with abundant horsepower, Coyote was no stranger to the area drag racing scene. In fact, that’s how he got his nickname, Coyote, from chasing Roadrunners at the drags. “Every summer weekend, if you had a hot car, you went outside Farragut, Iowa and raced,” Coyote said. Coyote won races and gained a reputation for having fast cars.
Coyote is a 3rd generation contractor and learned the trade from his dad. After going away to college in Colorado he returned to Red Oak where he opened his own construction company. Business was good! Coyote made a habit of searching the classifieds for muscle cars from his glory days. He would buy as many as he could and packed them away. At first, he would restore them, drive a bit, and park them in the sheds. Soon his business was taking up most of his time, yet Coyote continued to buy cars and squirrel them away.
The Coyote Johnson Collection has over 100 muscle cars from the glory days of horsepower. Challengers, Cudas, Chevelle’s, Camaros, Firebirds, GTO’s, and more grace the collection. Coyote and I walked through the buildings and talking about the cars as he rattled off memories of racing conquests and his high school days when these cars were a dime a dozen. I could tell that he truly loved them all. Coyote has decided to sell the collection, keeping just a handful of them including his high school car and his dad’s 1957 Chevrolet.
The cars will all be sold NO RESERVE on Sept. 14, 2019 at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds in Red Oak, Iowa. The auction will be onsite with online bidding provisions. Coyote, being the kind hearted and quiet person he is, is donating all the food revenue from Friday Sept. 13th’s, preview day, to the area animal shelter and Sept. 14th’s food sales, during the auction, to area police, ambulance and the Cancer Society. He is an amazing person. They have been busy giving the cars baths and getting them running. Coyote wants them all to go to good homes and back on the road, racing and reliving their glory days. It’s going to be an amazing auction. Inventory, pictures and catalog can be found at www.vanderbrinkauctions.com.
Yvette VanDerBrink- VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC
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