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.
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).
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.