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Michigan Man Forced To Liquidate His Collection

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

While some wouldn’t classify Ron D’s car hoard as a collection, chances are he wouldn’t quite agree with them. He’s been buying interesting cars since he was 21 years old. Most of his cars are currently sitting out on his property in Northfield Township, Michigan where he has been stashing them away for decades. Many might just be parts cars at this point, but there are likely to be at least a few that could be revived with minimal work. Sadly for Ron, the township he lives in is forcing him to liquidate all of the cars on his property and at a rapid pace.

Now before anyone gets up in arms to defend Ron’s right to collect, please realize he is violating a city ordinance that everyone in the area is required to follow. And I understand why they are requiring him to comply, unless you are a car nut like us, getting up and looking at the next door neighbors “junkyard” isn’t always appealing. Admittedly, none of his neighbors are close enough to actually see any of the cars, but I get the idea behind the ordinance. What I don’t agree with is the pace at which they are requiring him to maintain. To avoid any legal issues, he has to move at least 20 cars a month. Outside of either giving them all away or having them all crushed, selling this many cars at this kind of pace would be difficult for even a 20 year old to keep up. At 76 years old, he admits it’s nearly impossible for him to do it by himself.

The township initially wanted him to move 25 cars per month, but they agreed to lower it to 20 cars to make it more manageable. He felt 15 cars per month was a more realistic number, as there is a lot of work that goes into selling a car. I have to agree with Ron that 15 cars would be a much more manageable pace and wouldn’t extend the process by that much. Listing each car, communicating with buyers, showing the cars, negotiating on prices and loading up sold cars is an incredible amount of work for one person to tackle. He admits that he has missed the quota already and they didn’t take any action against him, so perhaps they would be willing to cut him a little slack as long as cars are being moved out.

It sounds like Ron isn’t all that upset about having to clear out the cars, he realizes his collecting has gotten a bit out of hand and he doesn’t want to leave his wife with a big mess of cars to deal with after he’s gone. He seems to primarily have an issue with the terms he’s been given, which essentially states that if he doesn’t meet the monthly quota the township will confiscate the cars and dispose of them as they see fit. The court order also states that there will be no exceptions made, so if a buyer can’t get the car moved by the end of the month, it’s Ron’s responsibility to either get it moved for them or to get rid of a different car.

The good folks over at Jalopnik went and took a look at Ron’s property, you can read about their experience here. It sounds like he is trying his hardest to comply with the court order, but he wants to see the cars go to homes rather than the crusher. You can see what cars he currently has for sale here on craigslist and be sure to check back regularly, as he still has plenty of cars to sale. His prices seem quite reasonable and he’s willing to negotiate if it gets the car moved quickly. Let’s just hope the township will cut him a little slack so that he can actually find homes for all of his cars.  Our thanks to Moray L for the tip and to Jalopnik for sharing Ron’s story.

Images Courtesy of Jalopnik & David Tracy

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Comments

  1. Dan

    why dont you move them to a different county where the council members will no longer be allowed to interfer with your plans for your collection.

    7+
    • grant

      Because he’s 76 and likely doesn’t want/isn’t able to make a major real estate purchase?

      3+
  2. owen

    so much for the land of the free!

    23+
    • billy

      Our laws are very specific, your freedoms end where mine begin. If your freedoms interfere with mine, then the law needs to step in, that is the way civilization works. It keeps us from clubbing each other over the head. I imagine one of his neighbors reported him. As I said, a great place for critters to populate and cause havoc on my land. A while back a rich dude tried to put an Indy race track across the road from me. Do not get me wrong, I am a car guy, I have 7 cars and trucks (all in sheds out of sight), and I love Indy races, but not near me where I can’t escape. Did I want noise where I couldn’t sleep or hear the birds, or watch my property value drop? Just because you own a piece of rural property doesn’t mean there are no constraints. Look at his land. 15 years ago before he bought it, someone had it landscaped. See all those nice blue spruce trees? They don’t grow wild. I suppose the next door people truly miss the old land owners and are tired of what has become of that place. I would have complained too. I hope the old dude finds some peace, and so do the people next door.

      31+
      • bchubbwindsor

        I agree that your freedom to swing your arms wildly about ends at the point where they contact my nose. But unfortunately we now try to ban arm swinging (or even arms) because it annoys someone else even when there is no chance of anyone’s nose being hit. We’ve lost sight of allowing arm swinging and the need to hold arm swingers responsible if they should happen to hit someone else’s nose.

        The question needs to be asked, “Did the ordinance exist all along unenforced until now or was it recently created with no “grandfather” clause?

        While none of the local lawmakers would ever admit to such I’ll bet the ordinance was quietly pushed through to target people like this, if not this man specifically. That is how local politics seems to work in my experiences. And that is wrong!! And to force an unreasonable rate of liquidation compounds that injustice!!

        Vermin? Wasps? Bees? BS!! Demonstrate how such is truly infringing on the freedoms of others. If there are such critters and they’re a problem, put out some traps! Or the town can hire an exterminator and bill it to his taxes.

        The root of all this is that someone somewhere is offended that this exist in their “backyard” and can’t deal with it maturely. And the root of that is that we have developed into a society where people feel they should never have to feel offended. Say the wrong word, wear the wrong clothes, admire the wrong statue, or dare to express politically incorrect views and someone else is offended. Well so what!! When someone is offended they’re not hurt and their freedoms to go on with their life are not infringed. They’re merely offended. Mature adults get over it and move on.

        Every day I drive by a hoarder’s place like this. I don’t like it. I wish the hoarder would clean it up, put a fence around it, or get some value out if the stuff by letting someone else put it to use. I’ve watched some nice shelving units rot for several years after he refused to sell them to me because he might use them. But I don’t make a fuss about it. I live and let live and go on in hopes of setting the karmic stage to avoid someone coming along and taking me to task after being offended because my grass is to high or my barn is dilapidated (lots of mice and insects in there after all!) or some other imagined offense.

        This is where I wish someone with money would set up a legal defense fund for this fellow and tie up the locality in endless legal motions and bureaucratic efforts until they realize it’s not worth wasting any more taxpayer money on. Lawyer up this old man!!

        Now, if the ordinance existed all along, then yes, he needs to comply. And shame on the locality for letting it go unenforced this long. Similar to adverse possession he should be given more consideration than he has been given if not total amnesty at this point. At the very least the rate of dispersal should be more manageable.

        Regardless of the legal semantics that have brought him to this point I would suggest he simply have an auction conducted? Certainly won’t get top dollar but it will be the least hassle for him. And who needs more hassles?!

        5+
    • nessy

      READ THIS INFORMATION IF ANYONE HAS TROUBLE WITH LOWRENT TOWNSHIP KNOW IT ALLS. Township officials as well as police can not inspect for vehicle registrations on private property. Local or state government, can not regulate what is on private property. If the government was to regulate in this manner, it would have to ban everything from lawn furniture to flower pots. State laws say, vehicles and other items of personal property that is stored outdoors shall be maintained free of broken glass, excessive rusting and other conditions reflecting excessive weathering or inadequate maintenance. These items can be stored on a home owner’s property in such a manner that safety and fire hazards are eliminated and neighboring properties are protected from blighting influences. That is federal law and federal law supersedes all other laws including local and state. This poor old man does not have to register all his cars. However, he does have to maintain the cars and his property. If he is a car dealer, we don’t know but if he is, he is exempt from motor vehicle registrations as the cars have registration under his dealership as “Inventory” Go look it up guys. For a town to ask a 75 year old man to remove 20 cars a month is impossible and they know it. Get a good attorney and tell your town to pound salt! You can get yourself out of this if you have a smart attorney.

      44+
      • Mountainwoodie

        Well yes and no. While Federal law may trump. pardon the pun, state law and municipal ordinances , it does not invalidate or overrule a municipal ordinance. If it did you could use federal law to undermine every law written by an inferior jurisdiction. It is an issue of the facts and the applicable ordinances. About the only way I could see you could undermine a municipal ordinance is to claim it is overbroad and deprives someone of Due Process. But that would take a law suit and my guess is that wouldnt happen here

        3+
  3. billy

    I would have no problem if he had a big fence around his property, but I agree, they would be an eyesore and a place for unfriendly critters to live. (wasps, mosquitoes, rats). . I wonder why? A mental illness perhaps. You can only drive one car at a time and he obviously does not drive these. He has left them to the elements. Would seem like a pretty dumb thing to do. If he were actively buying and selling, it would make sense, but what were his plans? Where doe she get his money to do this? It seems like a squandering of any money he had. Perhaps he needs a guardian.

    6+
    • JohnD

      Some people just like to collect things. My wife likes baseball cards. My granddaughter collects baby dolls. Jay Leno has quite a car collection, is he mentally ill?

      24+
      • billy

        Jay Leno is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, plus properly cares for them.

        11+
      • Rodney

        Someone once said the difference between collecting and hoarding is organization. This feels hoardy……..
        (nice cars though).

        17+
      • billy

        John, does your wife and granddaughter leave their collections out in the weeds to rot away? As Rodney has said, hoarding is a good word to describe this, and that is a certified mental illness. Like I already have said here, I love cars. Spend many years of my youth in junkyards (back when they were free places to roam and explore) but as I have matured, I better understand how an adult world works and that we need compromises to make our system work. I also understand that people like this are where we can find parts for our projects, etc., but at what cost to the neighbors? We can come and grin at stuff like this, but then we get to go home to picketed fenced, tree lined streets. I really hate that show American Pickers, because they love all these kind of places, places that the locals hate. We need to insist on buildings or tall fences, plus varmint eradication for such places.

        7+
    • LAB3

      Really hate to tell you this Billy but not everyone with a set of values different than yours is mentally ill. Funny thing is, those who see illness in those who are different are often the sick ones.

      55+
      • billy

        Okay, what would you call someone who spends way into six figures for cars that he parks in the weeds and lets rot? Maybe he inherited all that cash, so it means nothing to him, fine, but it still doesn’t tell us why he didn’t take better care of them. If you can afford so many cars, surely you can afford some buildings to better care for them. Of course, it takes all kinds I guess. I had a prof back in the 1970s while in college that drove an almost new Porsche 930 in the snow and salt, plus stamped it full of bumper stickers. Had no idea what he had, came from a rich family and the car was a gift from his folks. I recall cringing every time he drove by.

        8+
      • nessy

        LAB3, well said. Junkyard or not, hoarder or not, is pisses me off when small townships think they can come in and make trouble. For a town to try and force a 75 year old man to move 20 cars a month, either this old guy really pissed off the town big time or the township officials are just lowrent trash. There must be alot more to this story. Maybe they have been asking him to tidy the place up for years now.

        22+
    • DrinkinGasoline

      billy…..perhaps you should just “live and let live”. Or perhaps you should “not judge, lest you be judged”. Your opinion strikes me in the negative as an outsider as i deal with geriatric people on a daily basis and i find it very obtuse on your part to assume that anyone that you are not familiar with should need a guardian. What business of your’s is it concerning his finances ?

      9+
  4. Steve

    I have to wonder if the ordinance against having the cars was in place, or was he involuntarily annexed into the city? I currently live on 4 acres outside the city limits, but in the “ETJ” of a city. I also have around half a dozen non registered project/ parts vehicles. If the city eventually annexes me and says they have a problem with this, you cannot imagine the level of my anger…

    22+
    • D

      What is “ETJ”?

      0
      • JamestownMike

        ETJ=Extra Territorial Jurisdicition-is the legal ability of a government to exercise authority beyond its normal boundaries.

        0
  5. Joe Cat

    After reading the linked story about his situation and unrealistic requirement from the town he lives in (get rid of 20 cars/month)—What Ron needs is a good lawyer. Anyone out there??

    19+
    • ROAR

      If he can find one, the atty can drag that on for years while he sorts through his treasures and flogs them. The town probably isn’t flush and might back off if they see it’s going to cost them money to fix a non existent problem.
      I recall that Chief Justice Brandeis said: “The citizenry have the right to be left alone”

      5+
  6. Miguel

    I am going to assume the city has waived the requirement for him to have a dealers license to sell over a certain amount of cars in a month.

    I hope he doesn’t get into more legal trouble doing this.

    12+
  7. Bill Miller Car Finder LLC

    I see many $200 cars in these photos. Calling in a auto recycler will only bring him about $100/car with the low price of scrap metal today. Saying that a car ran when parked 20+ years is the same as saying that the engine is shot. Taurus SHOs are far from collectible and Asking $700 for one is saying I don’t want to sell it. Wake up and smell the coffee before the Town starts piling up the fines for non-compliance with the court order.

    7+
    • grant

      There are people who dig SHO’s. I don’t understand why either, but it’s true…

      2+
  8. Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

    I’m calling him tonight based on one car I saw in the original article. Not that I need anything, but I’m curious to see if he really wants to wheel and deal as much as he says he will.

    8+
    • Bmac Bmac Member

      Heading over this this weekend only 30 miles, might be something I need someday, gotta save the cars, just gotta! WAIT could this be me in ten years, don’t care going anyways.
      PS, not a big fan of government

      4+
      • billy

        Do you mean the government that builds the roads, provides for the peace, protects us from fire, theft, and mean bad people? Oh yeah, just gotta hate that.

        0
      • nessy

        Oh great, billy boy is a fan of Government control too. He is the oddball neighbor all of us had at one point or another. I bet your neighbors all love you to the point of leaving eggs on your front steps.. No more comments about old billy from me. We all know the type.. Peace to all.

        3+
  9. Alan (Michigan)

    What I see is a man with a type of automotive ADD.

    And I confess to having a similar but less virulent affliction. Basically, the joy of the “hunt/find/procure” stage, pushed by the “I know how to get this running perfectly” gene, means that projects accumulate and rarely reach completion.

    The fact that Ron bought non-runners and those without even keys leads me to that conclusion. I found myself staring at the Jalopnik pictures, thinking that I should snag one or two of the cars myself. Not that far from me, and I have trailer/winch access.

    An obituary would follow closely, though, my wife would kill me. I currently have 4 non-runners on my property. One is advertised (parts car for a completed car that is being used) and two of the others were also bought for parts. One will go when the car that it matches goes, hopefully soon.

    I wish good luck to Ron, and that he may be treated with respect and not totally gouged by those who buy from him. For sure he will have to let cars go at what could be called “Fire Sale” prices. But I hope he is spared from the scrapper. An auction might be a way to get them gone quickly, at reasonable prices, that has worked before…..

    8+
  10. Miguel

    This stood out to me.

    “Admittedly, none of his neighbors are close enough to actually see any of the cars, but I get the idea behind the ordinance.”

    If nobody can see the cars, what is the problem here?

    30+
    • billy

      Look at the other article, you can see them from the road, esp. in the winter. Drops others property values, plus a breeding ground for varmints that spread to others property. Plus, the EPA has very specific laws about unattended cars on open ground, leaking solvents into the ground water, stuff like that. Thats’ why the Ma and Pa junk yards of old are no more. Oh my, look at all the likes (not) I have here. I’m not preaching to the choir, am I? Okay, I get it, we are all car guys, but look beyond the forest guys and see the trees here. Would YOU want to live next door?

      10+
      • The Walrus

        I don’t think the EPA is the the only or even main reason the Ma and Pa junkyards are gone. The biggest killer of junkyards is cars themselves. 1) Cars get better (quality wise) every year and don’t require the same level of replacement maintenance and 2) They are too complex for the average person to fix at home on their own. Warranties take care of most things (with NEW parts) and otherwise, most service centers would rather call Autozone or PEP Boys and have a new part delivered in 20 minutes than spend a couple hours calling around to find something used.

        Other factors include that the price of steel shot up for a couple years and many decided to liquidate their inventory and retire. Just as the price of steel came down, along came Cash For Clunkers, which was a double whammy … cars/owners that may have still been in the junk yard game were no longer there (so they didn’t need used parts) AND, even though there were conditions in place to prevent scamming, some junk yards were able to liquidate some inventory through the program.

        Finally, liability insurance all but eliminated the pick-a-parts… having to hire people to get the parts was an increased cost as well.

        The EPA issues will prevent a new yard from coming to existence, but as far as existing yards, often the disruption in ‘cleaning up’ a location is worse than leaving it alone.

        10+
      • nessy

        Say Billy, from hearing all your comments, you sound like you work as a township zoning inspector.. Maybe? Knock off the property value bs and yes, I would not mind being next door to this guy and my property is well kept and clean. Everyone here thinks they are either a shrink or a zoning expert.

        19+
      • billy

        Nessy, actually I am a Registered Nurse. I work with many elderly, and many of them are confused. We have a large and growing problem in this country with the ever increasing number of us Baby Boomers. Be it, their insistence on driving when they should not, or things like this. As dementia slowly simmers, people tend to get stubborn and unyielding. Trying to get them to be reasonable gets quite difficult. What does not help is people who do not know the whole story trying to be politically correct looking through the issue with rose colored glasses. I bet this issue goes way back and there have been kinder gentler requests for many years.

        1+
    • ROAR

      Typical– a rule is written to meet a particular situation like having disassembled cars sitting in the driveway in a built up neighborhood but since it is loosely written it is used in other totally irrelevant places like this out in the woods where no one is being afflicted.

      0
  11. Glen

    Why didn’t the Township say something sooner? This wouldn’t have happened if they told him years ago. If the Township didn’t know about all these cars, then clearly it hasn’t been an eyesore.

    14+
  12. ROAR

    This is the typical case of how much freedom can you afford! If he has the money, he can lease another area, hopefully an empty factory or warehouse or even a and have them all moved there.
    Here I can have all the cars I want INSIDE which means in car port type sheds also–it doesn’t hide them but meets the law.
    It looks like he has some cars that would go on EBay if hosed off etc.

    1+
  13. Howard A Member

    I’m sorry, I don’t feel sorry for this guy. Clearly a hoarder, 218 inoperable cars, c’mon, all leaking fluids into the ground. If it was done correctly, maybe, but this is too much. Some nice stuff, stored deplorably, I, as a neighbor would be upset too, especially in winter, when the leaves are gone.

    15+
    • billy

      Thank you Howard, some common sense here.

      9+
    • Ed P

      I agree Howard. A hoarder near me got into trouble for storing old vehicles in a flood zone.

      3+
      • Morley

        I hope the old guy buys some new clothes. Maybe go out for a nice dinner.

        0
    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Agreed. The hoarder point, and the problems that causes for the fellow who owns these cars, are central here.

      As a hoarder who brings these cars onto his property but doesn’t do anything with them, the fellow is bringing problems upon himself. That’s really the central point here, not national/state/community laws. If there were no such laws he still wouldn’t be driving most of these cars.

      The cars have brought him no solutions, and likely not much fun either, since it looks like he can’t use most or maybe all of them now anyway. There are too many cars and not enough time or money to do anything but get rid of them all now, fast, because he has to. Sad.

      3+
    • carsofchaos

      I’m in agreement with you as well Howard. Here’s another point that insofar I have not seen anyone bring up: the owner is in his late 70’s. If he continued to keep the status quo, then died, who takes care of/cleans up this mess? The elderly wife? Doubt it. Kids? Doubt it. So then the county steps in and guess who foots the bill for cleaning up and disposing of 208 junk vehicles: that’s right, you and me pal. John Q. Taxpayer to the rescue. Perhaps the town is actually trying to get out in front of this and be proactive.

      0
  14. Enzio Bodini

    Somebody needs to teach him how to use CL. At a minimum he should be clicking the “more listings by this user button” so everyone looking at his “collection” will be referred to other cars he has for sale.

    Good luck, I hope you sell them all and the county doesn’t get to crush a thing!

    11+
  15. Rodney

    BTW, Ralph Lauren is most likely copying Ron D’s look right now for his “Rural America” look. The baggy trousers, the cool suspenders, the short sleeve shirt and the Jed Clampett hat. It is so on the nose and heartbreakingly perfect.

    2+
    • glen

      All he needs is that coat that Jed always wore.

      0
  16. Moxman

    I read this article yesterday. This guy is clearly a hoarder who has taken his hobby to the extreme. One of his neighbors must have ratted him out! I saw the aerial view of his collection and it’s all pretty much out of sight. But that doesn’t change the fact that these cars are compromising the land that they sit on. The city mentioned rodents, disease and other problems. The long and short of it is that this dude needs to comply with city ordinance. What he really needs to do is hire an auction company, such as Van Der Brink, to have a huge event and get all of those cars gone. Although none of his cars are anything close to the Lambrecht Chevrolet collection, he still needs to get on the ball with an auction company. This will be an interesting story to follow. I hope it works out for the guy.

    4+
    • Josh Mortensen Josh Mortensen Staff

      The problem with him going the auction house route is the time it takes for them to come document all the cars, negotiate the reserves, put together marketing materials, distribute said materials, advertise it, organize the actual event and then get enough bidders there to sell everything. That process can take months. It doesn’t sound like he has that kind of time now and with 20+ cars shipping out each month, a large auction company probably wouldn’t want to deal with it as their profits go down with each car he sells. Now if he had gotten someone to come in as soon as he was court ordered to liquidate he would probably already have all the cars gone. It really will be interesting to follow this one and hopefully he gets everything moved out fast enough to keep from loosing it all to the city.

      2+
    • billy

      Yep, auction, thats’ the only way. Why does he want to do it himself, esp. as he says he is in frail health and it will not be good for him? Nah, he is ill alright, mentally ill. A hoarder just trying to put it off. Even if he rids himself of most of this and piles up at least some of the cash back he has into them, that money won’t be with him for long. He has a sickness. Though, probably better then 10K a month for a nursing home. Even if he wastes it away, Uncle Sam, will still put him there with taxpayer cash. Ya know, if he loves this stuff so much, why does he have them where he can’t even get to them to see them? Open many of those hoods and you will stung to death by hornets, or bit by a rat, or slip in coon dung. All pretty unhealthy.

      3+
      • Macon Michaux

        Wow Billy, you need to back off the guy. Not really fair to be calling someone mentally ill (or worse) based on an article. He’s just a collector exercising his quickly-eroding property rights. Are you planning to go open the hoods etc on his private property? It’s all really no business of yours. You’ve spent a day writing and putting this guy down. Throw out an opinion and be done with it. We are all, or most of us here, collectors to some degree on this site. Might come a day when any of our collections of any size are deemed ‘unsightly” and illegal.

        24+
      • JohnD

        Billy, I’m beginning to think you must be one of his neighbors.

        18+
      • nessy

        Glad I’m not the only one here who thinks silly old Billy is against everything related to the old car hobby. Thanks Macon and JohnD.

        17+
      • billy

        Nessy, Silly Old Billy, has 7 cars. All properly stored and cared for. Fully insured too. Even my Kawasaki Mule has its own policy. Where does responsibility come into these conversations? I know where I stand on that issue.

        0
      • Bmac Bmac Member

        Mean people suck!

        1+
    • Bob

      Yes, that’s exactly what he should do. An auction house will safely remove the cars, and either clear a spot on his property or move them to a secure compound. He has said that he probably is too old to restore any of them, but if he kept two or three of his favorite cars, he could farm out the restoration with the profit from the sale. Winter is coming so time is important.

      1+
  17. newfieldscarnut

    Senile nonsense .

    3+
  18. mike D

    the guy has a serious hoarding problem , personally there is nothing there I would be interested in , maybe that ‘Stang convert, but with the torn top, who knows what shape the interior is in, and what shape the floors are in ? .. and where did he get the money from initially? were these at an abandoned car auction in the township he lives in ( thus, no keys ) prob got them for $35 a piece, in hopes of ” fixing them up” and it got beyond him

    1+
  19. Pa Tina

    Then I can assume everyone defending the hoarder/collector would like to live next to him? Ah, I thought so. Thank you.

    2+
  20. TR

    This seems easy to me. Dilligently start with the worst cars and begin scrapping 20 per month while at the same time attempting to sell the best cars for max value.

    14+
    • Mark S

      You nailed it TR.

      1+
    • nessy

      Say TR, if it sounds so easy to you, just picture yourself standing in the middle of 200+ cars overgrown and with parts all around you, with bees everywhere and just start trying to move stuff by yourself. You would be dizzy and pulling your hair out in seconds when it sinks in. It’s not that easy to clear out a place like this. Unless people here speak from experience, just stop.

      20+
  21. TR

    After looking at CL he is unrealistic with his prices for quick movement and if he is starting with the best cars he might not have much. I think it’s a shame when you buy cars to save them but ultimately prevent someone who may save them from doing so. I enjoy driving my old cars so I don’t understand this approach. Takes all kinds I guess

    3+
  22. Dovi65

    I have to side with the neighbors, & the city. If he [or anyone else for that matter] is so interested in collecting vehicles, if they mean THAT much to you, then why not take care of them? If you’ve got $$$$ to burn, buy/build a facility to house them. No matter how far away his neighbors are, it’s still an eyesore. It will bring other property values down.

    3+
  23. ccrvtt

    The interior photo of the guy shows him amidst a sea of clutter searching for a key. Telling. The only car that caught my eye was the yellow MGB which he’s asking $1,400 for on CL, which seems about double what it’s worth. So I think he’s not that motivated. The aerial photo makes me think some neighbor got a bug up about the rodents and insects more than the eyesore.

    An auction would take more time to prepare but ultimately would end the standoff earlier. I’m sorry to see he’s going to lose so many cool cars, but, really, was he ever going to restore them all? They’re better off in someone else’s hands at this point.

    1+
  24. KevinR

    A complete list of the cars and a starting price would go a long way towards moving some metal.

    8+
  25. DrinkinGasoline

    A similar situation is occurring here in my area currently but with tractors and farm implements. It is a “tractor wrecking yard” if you will, and the owner occupies approximately 30 acres of paid for, inherited property. It is smack dab in the middle of a longtime growing commercial area in
    the city as well as the bordering township. There has been numerous offers made by developers over the years which the owner has refused because it was his father’s land and life. Last offer I’m aware of was 1.6 million as of last year. They will eventually force him out citing “eye sore”. It is sad that “Your land is not really….Your land”. I guess there’s some truth to…”This land is my land, this land is your land”. In a screwed up kinda way. When I was restoring my Ford 8N, 70% of the original parts came from them and it’s only 2 miles up the road from me. He knew every part that i needed and where it was and we pulled them off together. The experience along with the stories he told are not replaceable by today’s on-line world. It sickens me to think that our past is being replaced by those with a “new world order”. If you can’t learn from the past, then you can not guide the future.

    12+
    • Miguel

      The question is, who was there first?

      0
  26. Motrbob

    Somebody needs to call Vanderbrink Auctions. This is right up her alley.

    1+
    • Moxman

      I agree with you 100%. I also agree with Josh, in that an auction would take time. Probably more time than the county has stipulated. That being said, this dude needs to get an attorney to file an injunction, with the court, to allow for the time to auction off these cars. This is a very tough situation. Everyone on this site is a “gearhead,” so we all love cars and don’t want to see this guy mistreated in any way. But…he’s in violation of county ordinance. Ultimately, he doesn’t have the wherewithal to fight the county and win. So, he’s gonna’ have to do something…sooner rather than later, or the entire collection will be removed and scrapped. Sad, but true! This story may serve as a lesson to others out there who have tons of cars rotting away on their property.

      5+
      • Chebby

        The county might work with him if he could prove he hired a professional auction house and had a date for the event. Otherwise he should say “Any car, $100” and that way they will all be a good deal in some way or another. Buyers would likely swarm in trying to get the “best” ones first.

        1+
      • The Walrus

        $100 may be a little low for much of his stuff, but he needs to say: These are $100, these are $500, these are $1000 or whatever. The fact that the article says he’s trying to get them running and then he’s negotiating prices are limitations to meeting the 20 per month that he is self imposing,

        3+
  27. Jeff

    I stopped and checked out his16v shrocco. The problem is he is over priced for Michigan rust cars. He has no idea what runs or if it did. I think he loves them to much to sell them for realistic prices. It looks like a giant CL parking lot. He is lieing to his self most are parts cars that he wants top dollar for. He is baceing his prices of off what he paid, that’s not very realistic. 15 to 20 years outside in a the eliminates has takin its toll on them.

    5+
    • The Walrus

      Nice to get some first hand ‘buyer’ feedback. Looks like he has or had several 16V Sciroccos… – I was actually considering going out there if he had a few, because in my market, 2K for 3 in the shape they appear would be an easy way to triple your money. Sounds like they are worse than they appear from your comments.

      1+
    • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

      Any chance you’d make another trip out there to lay eyes on a car for me?

      0
  28. Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

    Called. Rang and rang and rang. No one picked up. Voice mail box full.

    Great way to sell a car. I’m sure the guy is inundated, but he doesn’t want text or email. Well, guess what bucky – the phone better ring and you better pick up if you need to move 20 cars a month.

    The worst part is, there are likely some decent cars in the mix and 90% of them are going to end up getting scrapped.

    8+
  29. Rustytech

    While I agree with everything Billy’s said about storing old cars outside. If it took 15 years to accumulate this collection. The township should be more reasonable about the liquidation schedule. Maybe if Ron did contract with an auction company the township would exchange the 20 car per month quota for a set auction date with a dead line for removal.

    4+
  30. Milt

    The picture where he stands in front of his cars looks photoshopped.

    0
  31. Moosefeather

    I would think if he gave evidence that he was hiring an auction company the township would be ok with it taking a while for it to happen. As an aside, I know a guy that started with nothing but a trailer and started buying cars like this. Difference is he turned it into a parts yard. He’s now filthy rich and has his own little auto museum. Regularly buys top end cars. I believe he has a triple black hemi cuda convertible or something like that. What could have been with a little foresight.

    1+
  32. Brad C

    “He wants to see the cars go to homes rather than the crusher.”

    That’s fine when you’re in control of the situation. But higher powers have stepped in… so he’s lost the ability to insist on a particular outcome. TR said it best: he needs to get over his sentimental attachments and start crushing 15 or 20 worthless vehicles per month. That will buy time for the ones that still have value.

    3+
  33. Ron Bunting

    I have some freinds who are exactly like this guy.one rents his place(!) and has cars stacked up in two cities and the other worked for our State Government where he discovered an asset was being sold dirt cheap. A full size community center ,constructed at a cost of several millions but unused. It has proved perfect for filling with cars,dozens of them. back to the topic ,This guy needs to understand that just because he paid 5 grand for a car 20 years ago,leaving it out in the open has reduced any value it may have had to nothing, so he should take the 1st offer he gets for each car. Some look like worth haggling over but others are just porridge cars. Looking at the pictures I can see what probably happened, a neighbor has gotten angry over sankes,rats etc coming into their property and made a complaint to the municiple authorities . They have gone out for a look and he has gotten angry with them so in true human nature, they have bitten back . A similar thing happened here in my City 10 years ago. a guy living right in the city had a yard full of rusting Engflish cars from the 1950’s through to the 70’s .Dozens of them . I was driving past one evening when I noticed several tow trucks in the street,cops and others in attendance . The council had taken him to court and were removing them and sending them to the scrap yard. I can see the same happening here .

    1+
  34. Howard A Member

    Wow, did this take off. Just to be clear, this guy is in his ’70’s. He comes from a time when you just never threw anything away, and he’s still dragging his feet today. Obviously, the town had to start somewhere, and he probably would never have done this on his own. They aren’t going to throw the book at this guy, and he doesn’t care if any of it gets sold, he knows darn well, when he’s gone, and sorry, it won’t be long, the state, or whoever, will bring in a portable crusher, and problem solved. I live on a farm that the guy is very similar, only not to this magnitude, but the concept is the same. He’s in his 60’s, and still has stuff from his grandparents that founded the farm over 100 years ago.( and 7 inoperable vehicles) This guy saves fouled spark plugs and burnt matches for heavens sake. It’s actually very annoying. This is going on all over the country, just happens to be Michigan this time, but in Wisconsin, most all these old collections have been shredded, and it’s for the better.

    3+
    • Jeff

      I’ve asked this question to my shop teacher if 25 years ago who I still hang out with today. “Why keep all this crap”? He keeps asking things I will never understand, he tells me when you grow up in the 30 in the depression you learn to keep everything because you had nothing, cars boats and old lawn mowers. He buys used stuff that doesn’t run or is broken with the thought of fixing it or needing parts. He can’t sell anything because he has this strange attachment to everything. He says he wants to sell stuff and I’ve tried to help but he jacks up the prices so high you can’t sell anything for him, it’s sad. I tell him when he dies he’s kids are going to toss what they can’t sell in auction and I can tell it makes him sad but nothing changes. He buys more stuff so sad.

      4+
      • JohnD

        I just did the math…I don’t think Ron grew up during the depression. But I get what you’re saying. Hey, I grew up in the 70s and I can’t let go of my old Boy Scout pocketknife! I’ve known plenty of people like Mr. Ron to a degree, including my now-passed grandfather, who was a child of the depression. Clearly he needs to get rid of the cars, but I won’t pass judgment on the man. I wish him luck.

        2+
  35. Brandon

    If anyone has contact with Ron please let him know that I’m willing to help with selling the cars to alleviate some of the stress. I’d be more than happy to type up the listings, post them on various sites to get maximum expsoure, etc free of charge. I sympathize with Ron, because I was forced to do the same thing a few years back. Sucks about city ordinances. Where I live they say you cant have more cars in the driveway than drivers in the household, which sucks for car guys! I even got cited for having my trash bin sitting outside by my garage door! SMH

    So if anyone contacts him and he would like me to help all he has to do is ask. At the present time all I do is sit at home due to a back surgery I had done.

    10+
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      That’s nice of you Brandon. We would be happy to run the auctions free of charge here on the site too.

      10+
  36. Jim

    Two of the three local TV Stations ran interviews with him yesterday. His phone is ringing off the hook! Most of these cars will be gone this weekend. His property really is in the middle of nowhere, and you can’t see the cars from the road.

    7+
  37. Ken

    An old guy near me (Smyrna DE)
    Has a load of cars, the town gave him static, he declared his site a museum, and it worked, town can not do anything about it.

    17+
    • nessy

      That is excellent to hear Ken. There are ways around the mess this old guy is in. It’s not that difficult to out smart township so called laws. Once again, check the federal laws that overide the town laws. Many people are unaware of this.

      19+
  38. craig m bryda

    I wonder where some of the responders got their law degree and or license to practise medicine from ?

    1+
  39. nessy

    Boy some of you sound like a bunch of nosy old ladies looking from behind your front door, just waiting for a neighbor to do something to upset your simple little world. I could not give a rat’s butt what my neighbors do. I don’t care if my neighbor has 10 dump trucks in his back yard and he does so I speak from facts. I thought this site was for true car guys who defend each other? Leave this guy alone. Go read my post up top about federal laws vrs simply little nolife township’s so called laws. Do any of you really think his township wants to come in and remove all his cars? Who is going to pay for that? You think they can do this and then give him the bill? 20 cars a month is impossible for a 75 year old to remove by himself. It’s impossible for a 30 year old. The right attorney will tell that town to pound salt! Enough of the whining and moaning. Maybe if any of us are from his are, how about pitching in to help this guy? Hoarder or not, I feel for him. If he had a yard full of Duesenbergs and Packards, people would form a line to help him hoping in return to get a free car out of the deal. I bet that guy would drop anything to help his neighbors in a jam. Are you all saying that you don’t have any old cars sitting around too? Maybe some of you don’t even have cars, you just like to comment on other people’s troubles. Your comments are poor for the most part guys. Shame shame….

    29+
  40. Ben T. Spanner

    He can never sell 20 a month on Craigslist. If the keys are in coffee cans, where are the titles? He is a hoarder and feels much pain in parting with any of his stuff.

    The order speciffically states that he must sell/remove 20 vehicles a month, and the weather is no excuse. How can he sell any in the Michigan winter?
    He is tilting at windmills. He cannot comply.

    13+
  41. Bill McCoskey

    Ken – I live just over the line in MD. I know of the “Museum” you speak of. It’s not legally a museum and not listed on the State’s list of museums. The owner is oblivious to how visitors feel about the condition of his cars, and actually believes his collection is worth a fortune. He’s taken very nice vintage cars, many of them were valuable and rare when he bought them, and modified each in similar ways to what they do to cars in the Philippines [adding chrome & trim pieces all over the cars]. Then he parks them outside to rot.

    The cars are parked all over his run-down property, flat tires sunk into the ground, chassis members often resting on dirt. He mows around the cars and the piles of worn-out tires, but it’s evident that he does nothing to maintain the cars once he’s finished customizing them. Most of the cars are shaded by trees that grew up around them over the decades. The cars had to be there first, ’cause you would need to cut down the trees to move the cars!

    Warning: If you go to visit in the warm months, better put on lots of mosquito spray because of the swarms of ‘skeeters breeding in the tire piles.

    Last time I visited [summer of ’15], he was just starting to add various pieces of chrome trim all over a very nice, original 1958 Packard Hawk. There is an early Dodge Dart sitting over next to a building, it’s been there so long a tree about 1 foot in diameter, is growing around the front bumper! In another part of the woods is a complete 1950 Studebaker Commander Starlite coupe, nearby is a “tarted up” 1955 Packard 400 hardtop.

    1+
  42. Jay E.

    Wow, 64 comments. Is this a record? I recently purchased a property with many cars left. Some with titles, some not. Some running some not. Nothing special, common cars. I spent six months making a significant effort to sell them, including here on BF for prices at or near scrap. In the end I sold .. 2. Shipping is a killer for cheap cars. And virtually ANY repair exceeds the value of the car. Bottom line, 20 cars a month is fantasy land, even if you WANT to get rid of cars. From a reluctant seller it is impossible. To move 200 cars you will find the ones with any chance to sell and crush the rest. BTW a crushed car is worth between $50 and $100.00, depending on weight. The battery is worth $10.00 additional. The tires cost $20.00 to get rid of. Gas costs $20.00 per car to trailer to the crusher and back. Net is close to zero if you include your time. It is nearly impossible to get rid of a car without title as they crusher won’t take a car without one AND a bill of sale. No wonder so many are dumped. I really feel for the guy.

    3+
  43. Duane Hayes Member

    Our United States Constitution clearly says, ” shall be secure with their own premises and property thereof” so clearly ALL zoning and local ordinances controlling property use are Unconstitutional. However, having brought this up, the powers that be are so strong, that there is no one in the world with enough money to take this to the Supreme Court and win the case. My advise is before anyone collects vehicles on their property, check with the local authorities as to what you can do on your property, and if they say NO WAY, then look elsewhere for your storage needs. Even many commercial properties don’t allow this, so check with zoning and planning before you do anything. Free country? Not anymore.

    2+
  44. Miguel

    I am glad I live in Mexico where it actually is the home of the free.

    Nobody would tell me how many cars I can have on my property.

    1+
    • billy

      Yeah, Mexico, now there’s someplace I would like to be! Between the cartels and the earthquakes, it is truly a paradise. Laws make for civilization my little amigo.

      1+
  45. Miguel

    From the pictures a lot of the cars look complete and just missing a battery.

    I don’t see what you guys are seeing which are a lot of junk cars.

    I guess we have different views on what are junk cars.

    9+
  46. rustylink

    meh – I am not a fan of collectors who just collect. If you are restoring, parting out for resale, etc that’s one thing. Collecting cars just to collect them and have weeds grow around them as they slow rot into the ground is another. I am sure this is not his first notice and I am sure he likely tells any inquiries “their projects and I am going to restore them” I find that disingenuous to hobby,

    3+
  47. Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

    Can anyone visit this location on my behalf? I’m not getting any response by phone.

    0
    • Bmac Bmac Member

      We’re just going to show up Sunday & see if he’s serious, can’t get through by phone. Would be happy to check out anything your interested in.

      9+
      • Jeff Lavery Jeff Lavery Staff

        Bmac, can you please reach out to us via mail@barnfinds.com and ask Jesse / Josh to connect us? I’ll provide my contact info. There is one vehicle in particular I am interested in. Thanks! -Jeff

        7+
      • nessy

        That is great Bmac. If you are going to see him, please take a quick look at that mid 70’s gold Jaguar sedan that you can see in one of the photos. Please check if it’s a V12 model. It’s been tough to get him on the phone as of today. I can see a couple of big 7 series 80s BMW sedans, going by the wheels, they look like the rare V12 models. I think this guy has some pretty odd ball cars. Also, give him a nice pat on the back and tell him we are all hoping for the best, except for maybe Billy boy.

        9+
  48. glen

    Lots of comments for this article! He could sell some, get enough money collected, than get a lawyer. (assuming he can’t afford one now)

    10+
  49. Larry K

    My neck turns to rubber when I pass a property like this.

    14+
  50. Moxman

    By now, I’m certain that this whole situation has gone viral. It has to be published all over this country, for sure; and probably farther than that. My only hope is that this guy gets some help, from wherever it comes, to sell off his collection. None of us wants to see this guy oppressed by the county that he’s living in. We would rather see him sell his collection for a fair price to folks who will be able to use the cars that he has for useful endeavors. Can anyone imagine how many useful parts this guy has that would benefit so many restorations?

    4+
  51. Peter

    He should not have to sell ‘any’ of his property at all?

    There must be a smart lawyer/attorny can take this case up to promote the issue at little or no charge.

    Does anyone have a link to the town/city ordinance ?

    7+
  52. Brandon

    Im doubt there is anything they can do. My brother in law is an attorney and we went through this with me. The city I live in cited me for 2 things 1st because my trash and recycling contaniers were sitting up neatly right outside the garage door.

    Then the 2nd thing was I have an 87 grand national that was parked in my driveway and from 10ft away the car looked new. It didnt have a battery, alternator, or turbo since I was repairing them and due to some back issues I wasnt able to install them. Then 2 years later I was told I had to either garage it or move it off the premises or legal proceedings would start.

    My brother in law and I was sure they couldn’t do that. But the courts said its perfectly legal if its in the city ordinances and it was my job as a home owner to read and abide by all of them. Its complete BS!!

    5+
  53. Matthew

    If people are concerned about his plight, why not go help him? I’m sure a person with OCD organization skills could probably get him on track with listings and help dealing with buyers….

    0
    • billy

      All in vain. My sister in law was a hoarder. More than once we spend whole weekends cleaning unspeakable filth and tried to get her to see the light, just to find her deeper in it in a short while. Help him and he will just buy more and get into more trouble. If he is not mentally ill, then he needs some tough love. I know my own best learning came from Pa’s leather belt, not Mamma’s gentle coaxing. If he is mentally ill, then someone needs to step up and take control of his life. A nice warm institution might do him a lot of good. If any of you have seen the paper work for grounds for guardianship, one of the possible criteria for it is being what is known as a “spend thrift”. My guess is that he qualifies. BTW, just had to post again because I just know that Nessy misses me. He must, he keeps bringing up my name. Nessy, just for the record, I am spoken for.

      0
  54. billy

    What happened to all the comments? They were fun to read.

    1+
  55. BMWTtundraGuy Member

    There is/was a “Reality Show” on TV that was geared toward this gentlemans issue, SPECIFICALLY!!! I cannot remember the name of it. One guy was a Pro Wrestler (serious) and the other a Pro Car Builder. They go out to a “hoarder”/”collector” property and offer to remove ALL the vehicles. In return they will build him, one of his own cars into the car of his dreams. They have a guy who auctions what’s auctionable and they scrap what is scrap. Their goal is to make enough $$ to cover the cost of the build and still have a decent amount of $$$ left over for a profit. The show comes and goes. Apparently while the idea is a good one, the reality isn’t so good.
    My biggest problem with this gentlemans predicament is his “health issues”. I would hate to see this end up killing him, litterally!!! Cancer FOUR times?!?!?! While I agree he probably needs to clean up/out (even he admits it), there has to be a reasonably safe (for his health) way to go about it. I think that Jesse and the BF team offering up their talent/skills with Brandon doing the same, is very generous!!! I just hope all of this “coverage” ends up helping this gentleman out with his plight!!!
    That’s my 1/2¢ worth………….

    2+
    • Moxman

      You’re absolutely right. I don’t recall the name of the show, but I do know that the pro builder is a guy by the name of Rick Door. He’s really talented and has built some cars for famous celebrities. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the SEMA Show last year. He’s a really cool guy. I believe their show was filmed at his shop in Oceanside, CA. I, too, hope that all the media coverage this situation is garnering, will help this guy resolve his dilemma.

      1+
  56. Mitch

    Ron is a hoarder………..no doubt about it.

    I received a call from a young lad that at the time was helping him about three to four years ago.
    I arrived with about 30k in cash and ready to buy….at that time he had a pantera,series 1 e-type, several other cars I was interested in ,motorcycles too.
    after about 3 hours I realized he wasn’t going to sell anything….I even tried to buy buy a complete junk mini cooper at twice what it was worth (just to see if I could get the ball rolling) NOPE!!!! There was soooo much stuff laying everywhere ….tools,cars, motorcycles,parts, piles and piles
    I stopped there about a year ago….said he sold the jag to JAY LENO………Oh well who knows

    0
    • billy

      Yup, mentally ill. Just like Nessy and me.

      1+
      • Bmac Bmac Member

        Met Ron yesterday billy, while his mental capacity might not be up to your standards, he knows every car on his property and what they need. All the cars on his west property are for sale and he’s selling them, he sold two while I was there. Also I would guess by the google maps view that pretty close to half of them are gone. The cars that interest me were across the street and he wasn’t ready to move those yet, with the exception of few cars they were in buildings.
        One point I would like to make is, it’s obvious that he’s been there for awhile and from what I saw most the people around him are more recent transplants, obviously from the city of liberals (Ann Arbor). “Don’t like who’s living next door don’t move there”
        Just my opinion

        5+
    • JohnD

      From one hoarder to another, eh?

      0
  57. Ed P

    I agree, if you don’t like the neighborhood, live elsewhere.

    1+
  58. Alan (Michigan)

    Ron and his plight made the Detroit Free Press yesterday. My wife showed me the article, complete with a large photo, but I was busy and did not take time to read it. Unfortunately, I believe that it went out in this morning’s recycling.

    He must have sold a bunch of cars, I think the headline mentioned a figure around 180?

    0
    • JohnD

      Ron must’ve heard billy was coming for him!

      1+
  59. Peter

    The new migrants from Ann Arbour move out into the country and complain about a rooster.. why do they move?

    I do not feel Ron has to sell his nest eggs at all. Is the by law or city ordinance about biological moulds forming on the cars that pose a fruit or pest threat?
    Any silo roof or house roof can be the same source of biological threat.

    0
  60. Peter

    What the long wheel base crowd fail to understand is Ron’s cars constitute a European gold mine. They are all carefully selected, and that is his superannuation the state is messing with.

    0
  61. Peter

    The ordinance relates to ‘blight’. All Ron needs to do is get rid of the blight – if any is present.??? The case is still with the court, as I understand it and the County Manager is not answering emails.

    0

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