ENID — As a boy, when Stuart Piontek visited his grandfather in Enid, he normally was greeted at the gate by ferocious guard dogs rather than a warm welcome.
Piontek’s grandfather, Oliver Jordon, fenced his property to protect his rare collection of prewar antique cars, which are scheduled to be auctioned off at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at 508 E Southgate Road in Enid.
“The way he protected the cars sort of kept him a bit of a distance from us,” said Piontek, now 48. “As a boy, my relationship sort of became with his cars because I didn’t know my grandfather that well. But I would tell the kids at school about his cars, and everybody was always talking about his cars. He was sort of a legend.”
Making the more than three-hour drive to Enid from their home in Altus, Piontek and his family traveled north up U.S. 81. Nearing Enid, on the west side of the highway was Vance Air Force Base, and on the east were his grandfather’s cars, easily visible to drivers entering town from the south, Piontek said.
“There were people who appreciated them for being old, antique cars and, of course, there were a lot of people who thought it was an eyesore.
“A lot of people would look at those cars and say, ‘It just looks like a bunch of junk,’” he said. “They’re not rusted. They’re brown. They’re oxidized. Grandpa knew how to protect them. They’re restorable.”
In 1946, his grandfather bought an existing salvage yard in Enid. He bought and sold cars and parts in the city until 1953.
Jordon decided to close up shop in town because he didn’t want the city to have any control on how he did things, Piontek said. He went back to farming wheat but continued to collect cars, and he kept his business license, buying and selling cars and parts from his home and another acreage outside the city limits.
Before Jordon died of cancer in 2004 at age 95, Piontek finally got the opportunity to connect with his grandfather.
When Jordon’s wife broke a hip, Piontek and his aunt flew out to assist.
From 2000 to Jordon’s death, Piontek traveled back and forth between his home in California and Enid.
Over those four years, Piontek’s main focus was saving the cars for his grandfather.
“A lot of people think I was crazy to spend so much money to save the cars,” Piontek said. “I just knew that it needed to be saved.”
Cars relocated for sale
Piontek moved more than 200 cars to a single location for the auction on one of his grandfather’s properties. He also obtained titles for most of the cars and had a structure built to protect the rarer vehicles, including a couple of 1930s Cords, an aluminum-bodied 1937 Lincoln sedan and a 1924 Rollin touring car.
He even attempted to catalog the thousands of car parts, but he estimated it would have taken years.
“I thought it was symbolic of our family,” he said. “To me, this whole experience has been more about the family ties than anything else.”
Piontek’s mother, one of his grandfather’s daughters, died when Piontek was 6 years old. Because of this, Piontek was driven by a desire to bring his family together.
“In a lot of ways, going back and helping Grandpa, and saving the cars and all of that, it was also a nod toward my mother,” Piontek said. “My mother’s name was Alice Jordon. All of us kids were doing it for her as much as for Grandpa.”
Yvette VanDerBrink, owner and auctioneer at VanDerBrink Auctions in Minnesota, is orchestrating this auction of cars dated from the 1910s to the ’50s. The majority of the cars in “The Jordon Collection” are from the ’30s and ’40s.
“These are all just screaming to be street rods. It’s all the stuff that guys that build hot rods and rat rods are dying to find,” said VanDerBrink, 49. “And they’re all in one spot. It’s like an old car buffet. It’s a street rodder’s paradise.”
VanDerBrink started her company in 2001. She is fueled by a passion for preserving the history, and considers getting collectors and hobbyists the cars and parts they need her company’s mission.
VanDerBrink was exposed to old cars because of her “motor-head” father, so the auto obsession runs in the family. She is even called the “Salvage Princess.”
A preview of the cars will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, the cars will be auctioned off first, followed by the parts. If the auction isn’t completed by the end of the day, it will conclude Sunday.
For a complete listing of all the vehicles up for auction, as well as terms and rules for participating on-site or online, go online to www.vanderbrinkauctions.com.
When: 9:30 a.m. June 7
Where: 508 E South Gate Road, Enid
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday
For a listing of the vehicles up for auction or more information, go to vander