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.”
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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