My next door neighbor Len Anderson is a classic car collector and has a beautifully repainted 1953 Rolls Royce in his garage. He also has some more old, unusual cars in his basement. In the recent past he has had and sold two running Edsels and a World War Two Jeep. The other old car that he has upstairs in his automotive museum is an original 1934 Plymouth 4 door. It is a barn car with all original paint, glass and mechanicals.

Besides having antique toys and toy cars, Len sells mostly old car parts and paraphernalia. He has boxes and boxes full of items from the teens to the 1950’s including: 1930’s car door handles, chrome trim parts, old spotlights, hood ornaments, car ads, old manuals, and misc. classic car collectibles.

He has found most of his sell ables and personal collection just driving around northern Illinois and Iowa, but he frequently scans the pages of Hemming’s Motor News magazine. To contact his business to see if he has any of those missing pieces that would finish your collection or auto restoration, call the Riverview Antiques at: 1-815-244-7875.

Archaeological Digs

Len’s building was originally a Model T garage and later a Chevy garage in the 1960’s. The canyon behind my house and his building has offered up some old car parts, such as a complete Model T frame that still had it’s original muffler ends hanging from it (they were cast iron), fenders from that same car and fenders from various other 1930’s cars. Discarded parts and pieces and even whole cars found their way over the bluff. One such automobile is a 1959 Chevy upside down at the base of the sixty foot cliff. However, the forest wildlife has picked it pretty clean.

My house was originally built as an inn and tavern in 1870. At different periods of time what is now my yard was a Oldsmobile garage and the city dump. Whenever I do any digging or even rototill I find many things of interest; from a stack of Model T windshields in their frames to 130 year old wagon parts, this whole areas is a treasure trove.

Look For The Occasional Mistake Ad

For a month there was an ad in the Rockford, Illinois newspaper selling a 1963 Ford Convertible, but the price seemed wrong. I told my Dad that I believed it was a typo and it was really a 1936 Ford convertible. On the chance that I was right, we drove to Rockford and it was a 1936! We bought it for $475, and drove it home. The owner said he only had a few people drive up in his driveway, look at it, then drive away. (well it wasn’t As Advertised was it? )

At that same time in1966, the one new car dealer in Rockford had a small ad selling a 1963 Cobra for $1,995. Obviously they didn’t know what it was worth or what it would be worth someday. That Cobra ad ran for months and I could not convince my Dad to buy it!

Finding A Running Classic

Where could you find an old, classic car? How about the fabric store parking lot? Great-grandma only drives once or twice a month anymore but one of her stops is the fabric store. There sits her 1963 Pontiac, an almost flawless, beautiful light blue Catalina. Make her an offer! Probably no one else will be standing there bidding against you!

Classics Are Where You Find Them!

One time we located a classic collectible on an island in the Mississippi River! It was a 1955 Ford two-seater Thunderbird, but someone had replaced the original 272 Y-block with a Ford Flathead. And although the car had been underwater a few times, the owner still thought it was worth $2,000. It wasn’t.

E-Bay

When looking at cars on E-Bay also look under Antiques. There will be some classic car collectibles usually there, hiding out from the higher insertion fees. We put our 1957 Cadillac hearse there and sold it. There was a b.b. hole in the windshield, bidders wanted to see just how large the hole was so I put a dime beside the imperfection and took it’s picture. The dime could have hid the breakage.

Farmer Auctions

Farm sales will publish a sale bill in advance. Look for car listings hidden among the tractors and horse harnesses. I have known of local farmers who bought a new car yet almost never drove it. Sometimes the farmer’s lane was to blame.

One farmer didn’t have a lane to his house, so he had to drive over his neighbor’s cornfield. He had a 1939 Ford with less than 5,000 miles on it. It was sold at the auction in 1990.

There are many magazines and websites out there that can perhaps land you a decent deal on an old vehicle, but if you take your time and look between the lines who knows what pristine gems you may find.