Corsica, S.D., family makes difficult decision to auction off more than 250 antique vehiclesCORSICA — A local family made a difficult decision recently to auction more than 250 antique cars, trucks and tractors their father collected over several decades.
By: Anna Jauhola, The Daily Republic
CORSICA — A local family made a difficult decision recently to auction more than 250 antique cars, trucks and tractors their father collected over several decades.
Rolland VanderPol’s five children have not inherited his passion for the vehicles, which have been neglected since Rolland entered a nursing home 3½ years ago, said Bob VanderPol.
“He lived and breathed old cars and tractors,” Bob said of his father, who is 93. “That was his thing.”
For years after his “retirement,” Rolland tinkered with and restored old vehicles, Bob said. Even after he had a stroke eight years ago, Rolland could be found in one of his outbuildings tinkering with a vehicle. He often came in for dinner at 6 p.m. and would go back out to his cars until 9 or 10 p.m.
But, after Rolland fell about three years ago, he stopped walking and could no longer work on the vehicles.
“He wasn’t really able to work on them or anything, so it was time for them to go,” Bob said.
The vehicles have seemingly “always been there,” Bob said. Every time the family looked in on him, Rolland had finished one vehicle and had another project to work on.
Rolland’s wife, Hattie, grew accustomed to the collection, Bob said. It was something she’d been used to for a long time, he added.
“It was something he lived with, something they made work,” Bob said.
“He didn’t collect them for the money, he collected them for fun. He didn’t care for people asking how much one was. He was a collector, not a dealer.”
The money collected from the auction will stay mostly in the family, which has firm roots in South Dakota, Bob said.
The VanderPol family emigrated to the United States in 1880 from Holland.
They settled in South Dakota and survived many hard times, such as The Great Depression. Farming life was of great value to the family and stuck with Rolland as he grew up. He was born in 1918 and particularly loved the early vehicles used on the farm.
Bob, his three brothers and one sister have worked over the last several weeks with VanDerBink Auctions to set up the vehicles at the South Dakota Horse Sale Grounds outside Corsica.
Nearly all the vehicles are restored to pristine condition, something in which Rolland took great pride.
Some of the oldest vehicles in the auction include a 1913 Model T Roadster Coupe and several Advanced-Rumely Oil Pull tractors.
The VanderPol family used a Rumely tractor to break the virgin prairie many years ago, Bob said.
Rolland’s collection took off in the 1970s.
Although his collection is extensive, Rolland’s sons never really worked on the vehicles with their father, Bob said.
“Most of the time, it was his own thing,” Bob said. “Everything here is pretty much his.”
Rolland was generous in lending vehicles, especially to his children and grandchildren for proms, weddings and other special occasions. He also allowed people to view his collection and started a guestbook in the 1970s, said his daughter-in-law, Pat VanderPol.
Now the collection will be on display for the last time for two days at the South Dakota Horse Sale Grounds.
Tractors, gas engines and parts will be up for auction starting at 10 a.m. Friday.
Collector cars, trucks and parts will be up for auction starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Food booths will be available through the generosity of community groups such as the Douglas County Historical Society, Dakota Christian School and youth groups from area churches.
On Friday, visitors can give a free-will donation for food prepared by the Douglas County Relay for Life, which is associated with the American Cancer Society.
Although he hates to see the collection broken up, Bob said it’s time for it to go.
“Nobody’s really taking care of it like they should,” he said. “It’s something we finally decided needed to be taken care of.”