North Dakota farmer is bringing a bumper crop of classics to market
The Krinke family has been farming the same land in North Dakota for more than a century. In Neil Krinke’s many years of running the place, he’s grown a lot more than crops. He also collected a huge number of cars and trucks.
Now it’s time to bring the harvest to market.
In a massive automotive sale that has become something of a VanDerBrink Auctions trademark, the Krinke Collection of nearly 100 vehicles and antique tractors—along with engines, parts, signs, fuel pump globes, and other automobilia—will be auctioned on September 18. The sale will be held on the Krinke farm, located 14 miles north of Scranton, North Dakota. There is also online bidding available, which is already underway.
Born in 1932, Neil Krinke grew up working the farm with horses, and he was thrilled when his family bought its first tractor, an Allis Chalmers. Kids tend to grow up quickly on the farm—out of necessity—and at the age of eight, Neil had already mastered operation of a 1928 Chevrolet grain truck. He drove crops in from the field despite barely being able to see over the dash.
Neil’s father was a mechanic, and Neil was fascinated by how his dad “could make something out of nothing” when it came to cars. (No doubt this was a skill developed from lean years when the crop wasn’t ideal.) That fascination led to Neil’s love for automobiles and how they work.
Upon graduating from high school, Neil bought his first car, a 1949 Pontiac. He soon added a 1929 Ford Model A, and he was driving that car when he met the woman he would marry, Rosalie. The couple (and eventually, their three sons) worked hard to make a living on the family farm, and in Neil’s free time—what there was of it—he gained a reputation in the area as a big car guy. If a car was for sale nearby, it didn’t take long for Neil to hear about it. He particularly loved the style of Fords from his birth year, 1932, into the 1940s. A member of the early Ford V-8 club, Neil bought a 1941 Ford and spent six years restoring it.
He also got into hot rods, and there were plenty of dry western Dakota cars to choose from and mod out. Neil says he bought most of his vehicles “within a 50-mile radius” of his ranch.
As you might have guessed already, Neil Krinke has always been more of a buyer than a seller, so his projects began to stack up. When he and Rosalie retired in 1998 and left the farming to their sons, they planned to spend time “seeing the world” in their favorite 1930s and ’40s Fords. Neil’s retirement didn’t last long, however, as he wanted to lend his sons a hand during the transition. He and Rosalie still managed to drive their beloved Fords to club gatherings.
As the Krinkes grew older and began to slow down, their sons encouraged their dad to part with the majority of his cars and allow other people enjoy them. That’s when Yvette VanDerBrink arrived on the scene, and she soon learned the enormity of the Krinke Collection.
“While doing inventory, the memories came back and the stories started flowing about acquisitions and adventures,” she says. “The collection also revealed so much history of the area and its people. For every car, Neil had the story of who had it and when he got it.”
Auction highlights include that ol’ 1929 Model A, which was Rosalie’s favorite. She drove it one last time while VanDerBrink inventoried the collection. Also headed to auction are a 1932 Ford Coupe project that was found in a neighbor’s barn, several rare 1932 Ford Victoria Sedans, and restored, award-winning cars like a two-door 1934 Ford Victoria Sedan, 1936 Ford Cabriolet, 1934 Ford Roadster, and 1940 Ford Coupe.
In addition to the Fords, the sale includes a hard-to-find 1950 Mercury Convertible, a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner Retractable Convertible, a 1964 Mercury Montclair Marauder Hardtop that the family has owned from new, a five-window 1954 Chevrolet 3100 Series pickup truck, a 900+ AACA Junior and Senior Award-winning 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible, and a 1950 Pontiac Chieftain Convertible.
The Krinke Collection has something for every enthusiast and every budget, from memorabilia, parts, projects, and tractors to beautiful ready-for-the-road classics. Looks like the Krinke farm has produced another bumper crop.