For every vintage vehicle there is a story to tell and a car guy willing to tell it, and for Rollie Rebers of Echo the stories he could tell about his cars would fill a book.
“In 1959 I bought a Model T Ford in Atwater,” said Rebers. “I started buying cars when I graduated from high school in 1963.”
A couple of years later that first vehicle was traded for a couple of others.
“The first car I bought that I could drive was a ’55 Ford,” said Rebers.
In those early days, said Rebers, he was working construction jobs.
“Back then $1,000 went a long way,” he said, adding that the time he was getting paychecks for $112.66 for a week of work and he figured he was doing pretty well.
Over the years, Rebers has collected a number of Ford vehicles, including several Coupes from the 30s and the 40s.
Those vehicles and most of the rest of Rebers collection is going on the auction block this Saturday, as he parts with the collection he has been working on for more than 50 years.
Among the vehicles he has in his collection is one Rebers said is pretty rare – a 1951 Ford with just 64 miles on the odometer.
That, he said, basically makes it brand new.
Rebers said the gentleman who originally bought the car had purchased it and then went to Africa.
When he returned having never driven the vehicle, he found out his wife had left him. He felt so bad about it he never drove the car.
It was in the mid-80s when Rebers bought the car, and it has been setting since. Ironically, said Rebers, after he purchased it his great aunt, who knew he was collecting old Fords told him about a guy who had a 1951 Ford with low miles he should go and visit.
It was the same person.
Rebers said there are several reasons why he has decided to auction off his cars now, with the most pressing reason being a coming change in the capital gains tax which would require a much higher payment. Rebers wants to avoid that potential issue by selling this year.
“I want to go to Israel,” he said, adding some of the money is going to be used for that trip. Although the date has not been set for that trip, Rebers said the plan is to go in 2013.
Rebers also said he is hoping to help out his daughters with their college loans, and if enough money comes in he plans to just pay the remainder of their debt in order to help relieve them of that burden.
Page 2 of 2 - Rebers said he grew up dirt poor and always lived by the philosophy taught to him by his parents – to never borrow money unless it is absolutely necessary.
He also learned his appreciation for vehicles from his dad – who was a Chrysler man. Rebers said he settled on Ford because they were popular, but also because parts were readily available.
That is certainly true, as Rebers has a shop full of parts from fenders to carburetors. He has even built a 1915 Ford from the ground up using parts he bought.
The sale starts at the Rebers home farm, which Rollie has lived on since 1949, at 9:30 a.m. He has talked with people from all over the U.S. who are planning to come.
Rebers has been busy getting the vehicles ready for the sale, adding one of the reasons he is having the sale is after the cars are gone he won’t have to worry about fixing them anymore.
Rebers admitted selling off his lifelong collection is going to be bittersweet, but he believes the cars are going to be going to people who are just as passionate about cars as he is. No, he is not getting rid of all of the cars or the other items, such as advertising signs and some of the parts, but after Saturday his shop is going to be much emptier than it has been in a long time.
“I have had fun collecting all of this,” he said, and he is looking forward to using the proceeds to travel and meet a lot of people giving him a chance to tell his stories to others. Come Saturday, and you’ll hear them, too.