Monthly Archives: November 2022


Conversations With People We Value #42

A recent Drivin’ News story, “When the collection outlives the collector,” resonated with a broad spectrum of readers. Its theme focused on the challenges facing adult sisters charged with disposing of their recently deceased father’s collection of distressed classic Cadillac cars and piles of associated parts.

Much of the feedback focused on the need for a collector to organize and preferably simplify the contents of a collection in advance of the time when it gets passed on.

Inspired by the research of Drivin’ News friend and “avid car guy,” Rocco Scotellaro, Drivin’ News will explore channels available for collectors to dispose of their collection’s contents. The word “dispose” may seem a rude assessment in contrast to the more positive “sell.” Unfortunately, while most classic car pieces and parts have a value, the market for some items associated with classic cars especially pre-war cars may be melting out of the population. For the sake of one’s progeny, information about purpose and worth can be invaluable.

With that said, Drivin’ News explores managing down a collection.

How to manage down a classic car collection.

Mr. Doan and his collection being auctioned by VanDerBrink Auctions

Disposal of classic car parts, pieces and print materials presents a daunting task even for the collector who knows what his collection contains. Thus, avenues for clearing out parts and pieces will be the focus of this article. For a discussion of the sales channels for complete and running vehicles, readers can refer to the October 14, 2021 Drivin’ News story, Comparing classic car sales platforms.”

The plight of the four LaFronz sisters featured in the Cadillac story hit home for both the younger readers who might be on the receiving end of a collection and the not so young audience members (You are not going to catch me calling my friends old) who find themselves staring at piles of vintage car parts accrued, often times, over decades. In hearing the sisters’ story, younger potential collection recipients can envision the painful loss of a parent complicated by the daunting task of disposing of items for which they have neither an interest in keeping nor a knowledge of their value. For older collectors, with most residing in an age bracket frequented by grandparents, the task of planning for the disposal of their collection presents the potential for an equally unpleasant experience. Issues relating to one’s mortality offer little in the way of pleasant reflection.

LaFronz sisters’ Cadillac collection chaos

Today, many longtime collectors with a clear eye on reality, some grudgingly and others with a quiet nod to inevitability, find themselves coming around to facing the responsibility that rests alone on their shoulders to do right by their collection and those who will assume the responsibility for it. Whether being kept in the family or organized for liquidation, they know they need to prepare their collection for the transition.

Rocco Scotellaro has been a life-long car enthusiast and collector. A professional engineer, Rocco had been my student during my brief stint as a middle school science teacher in the time of the first Nixon administration. We reconnected 50 years later when he registered for an adult school class I presently teach on collectible automobiles. With a special place in his heart for classic Pontiacs and C2 Corvettes, Rocco has accrued a mountain of parts during his decades of restoration activities. In a concerted effort to keep his inventory under control and promote marital harmony, he has developed significant expertise in the avenues for turning excess inventory into cash while reducing that mountain to a mole hill.

To equip collectors with effective tools for disposing of parts and pieces no longer needed, Drivin’ News has combined the work of Rocco and the widely respected Drivin’ News research department to offer an overview of proven avenues to reduce the clutter and make a few bucks.

Seek help!

SPECIAL NOTE: If you have a space filled with an eclectic jumble of random car parts that you passionately defend against any suggestion to reduce the chaos, you have crossed the line and are, indeed, a hoarder. Seek help.

Before charting a path for the sale of items in a collection, it is paramount to be clear on the scope of what is being sold. A manifest difference exists between clearing out some NOS and used parts for which you no longer have a need versus a one-time disposal of a barn chock-a-block with bodies, chassis and shelves of associated parts. Answers to the “How to” question can range from creating a small side business that serves as a pleasant distraction and makes a few bucks all the way up to contracting a professional auction house with the market savvy and resources to move everything at one time. The spectrum of solutions existing between those poles demands an honest assessment of your knowledge, your time and your objectives.

As an example, the adult sisters in the distressed Cadillacs story face real choices. At a disadvantage with their lack of knowledge as to the value of the collection, they could contract with a respected auction house that deals with the disposition of such lots. The benefit would be that the responsibility for resolution of the matter would no longer be the sisters’ day to day concern. However, the cost for this convenience could be a significant percentage of the money raised at auction. This also assumes that a reputable auction house would take on the task, meaning it has assessed that money could be made. For those predisposed to such an arrangement the frightening possibility exists that a reputable auction house would determine that auctioning the lot was not worth the effort.

A second alternative exists where the sisters seek venues where they can advertise the total collection at a set price or ”Best Offer.”

Lastly for consideration here calls for the sisters to assume the responsibility of parting out the collection through venues where individual parts or batches of parts can be offered for sale. The phrase “daunting challenge” was specifically created to be applied in situations like this.

As we review different avenues for the disposition of parts we will return, from time to time, to assess its applicability in the case of the sisters’ inherited distressed Cadillac collection.

All avenues for parts sales have a few basics in common. Every one involves displaying the item, agreement on a deal, payment for the purchase and transfer from seller to buyer.

Rocco Scotellaro doing business even in the time of Covid

Display – Description of an item can be in person or through a written ad and/or photography or video.

Confirming a deal can either be in person or through electronic communications.

Payment can be in the form of cash, check, PayPal, or apps such as Venmo or Zelle. As explained in Forbes Advisor, Zelle (rhymes with sell) and Venmo rank as two of the most popular P2P (person-to-person) mobile apps providing digital payment services. Zelle allows you to send and receive money instantly between U.S. bank accounts. It partners with over 10,000 financial institutions with over 1.8 billion made between its inception in 2017 and 2021. It enables you to send money quickly from your bank account to anybody you pick. In a matter of minutes.

Venmo, unlike Zelle functions as a digital wallet, allowing you to accrue money in your Venmo account to pay for future purchases. Money transferred through Venmo arrives in your account instantly. The recipient can then keep the funds in their Venmo account or transfer the money to a linked bank account. Money is not available instantly unless you pay a fee.

PayPal offers a much more comprehensive menu of services with  users in over 200 countries. Its broad international reach is accompanied by a complex fee structure. Unlike PayPal, Zelle and Venmo only serve users in the U.S.

Transfer either is through an in-person exchange or by shipping. This involves packing and selecting a shipper.

Packing – Rule 1, if you are shipping an item pack it well. The last thing you want is a shipment damaged. Returns and insurance are a real hassle. Double wall boxes are the best. Big stuff can be a challenge. Packaging large body panels and engine blocks are best not attempted by the inexperienced.

Shipping – Size more than weight matters. A large light door panel will cost more to ship than a small heavy engine component. Small items are well served by flat rate boxes available at the post office. UPS and FedEx offer a menu of delivery schedules and prices. If you ship enough you can get a price break. Shipping without a doubt adds a level of complexity avoided with a simple hand-off.

Garage SalesBasically, a garage sale requires writing an ad that can be placed on Craigslist, a local garage sale website or a local newspaper. If your garage sale will be primarily car parts and pieces it is important that you reach out everywhere to alert your intended buyers. A properly placed clear ad promoting “Car Stuff” for sale will draw car guys like flies to, well to whatever flies are drawn to.


  • Easy
  • Free
  • Buyers interact with item before sale
  • All cash transactions
  • Items sold as is,
  • No taxes
  • No shipping


  • Days of preparation to organize, price and label items. Write the ad Make and post signs.
  • Need to sell at lower prices (Be prepared to negotiate because everyone wants a deal)
  • Weather dependent
  • Limited customer base
  • Thieves cruise garage sales to distract the seller and take things. It is best to have a few helping you. Don’t be bullied and be alert to distractions and confusion.

Garage sales are hard work. They can also be fun and profitable. In the following example Rocco describing one of his garage sales the past summer (keep in mind that Rocco is good at this). Rocco says, “I put an ad on Craigslist for “tools” in the automotive section. I had good traffic maybe 50 people over the two days. I had been collecting carpenter planes. I had maybe 15 of them displayed. The first guy there asked how much for all of them. He bought them all. First sale, $350.” In two days I sold two thousand dollars worth of stuff. It is worth the effort.”

This is not to say that this happens every time. Sometimes it can be a dud. That is life. But, most often if you advertise properly, have good stuff and are willing to deal, sales will happen.

Swap Meets/ Car Shows/ Flea Markets

From the local car show to the sprawling acres of Hershey, Carlisle, Charlotte Motor Speedway and the like, the basics of a swap meet remains the same only the size of the event differs.

Hershey Swap meet

Basically a swap meet is like a big flat area filled with a whole bunch of garage sales. That said swap meet participants are certainly a notch above a garage sale in the organization of their operation. Usually for swap meet participants, it is not their first rodeo. That said one can usually expect a large friendly gathering of like minded car enthusiasts having a good time and eager to buy something. Offerings at swap meets extend across the spectrum of car enthusiast needs. Small swap meets have some professional participants mixed in with folks that bring stuff that would be found at a garage or estate sale.


  • A far more targeted audience than a garage sale
  • Buyers interact with item before sale
  • Cash sales
  • Higher prices
  • No shipping
  • Secure environment


  • Must pay for Vendor space
  • Must pack and transport stuff to location
  • Cost of travel/ lodging (if overnight)

Craigslist/ Facebook Market Place

Kind of the wild west of online shopping. Real bargains and real misinformation. Like garage sales everyone has a bargain in mind. That said, I have sold parts and cars on Craigslist. Think of these sites as having both wheat and chaff. It remains up to the buyer to sift through it.

Craigslist also is rife with scam artists. One particular one has a very motivated caller who desperately wants to buy whatever you are selling. Unfortunately, the caller will be out of the country so he will send over a friend with a certified check to pick up the item. A deal sweetener of say $100 or, if it is a large purchase, $500 will be added to compensate you for the inconvenience. If the seller goes along, the item is picked up in exchange for the certified check. Only two weeks or so later does the certified check prove to be worthless. Always be wary with Craigslist.

An increasingly major concern with Craigslist is personal security. As reported by NBC News, a robbery arranged on Craigslist is the perfect crime. Whether the victim is buying or selling an item, he or she arrives at a meeting with either a wad of cash or something valuable.

Such meetings often involve the disclosure of much personal information, including phone numbers and home addresses. A clever robber may even persuade the potential victim  to disclose tidbits like work schedules or number of adults in the household at a given time.  And while most consumers are now appropriately skeptical of e-mail from criminals, many let their guard down when a person-to-person meeting is arranged. One very common example occurred in sleepy suburban Bogota, NJ. There a man selling a MacBook on Craigslist had arrived on a sleepy suburban street to meet a buyer responding to the seller’s Craigslist ad. The buyer approached the seller and started counting out the cash. With his focus on the alleged buyer the seller did not see the man who shoved a shotgun in his face. The men then grabbed the computer and ran off. It is becoming increasingly common. Police call it robbery by appointment.

Be warned. Be careful.

Due to this trend many police departments are setting up an area at the station where such exchanges can be made safely.


  • Free targeted audience
  • Usually a cash sale
  • No shipping unless buyer chooses to (Be careful)


  • Must submit ads with photos
  • Limited/local audience
  • Must field questions
  • Must arrange for pickup and payment
  • Security concerns


Ebay represents the online sales 900-pound gorilla in the room. With a potentially global audience and easy payment options eBay grew into an international phenomenon. Unfortunately accompanying that growth has come a complex and off-putting fee structure.

Rocco has developed some pretty strong feelings about eBay based on his years of experience. He says, “eBay is pretty interesting but it can get very complicated and it is getting more complicated by the day. Their terms and conditions seem to change every quarter. I’m kind of glad that I’m running out of stuff to sell because it’s getting more difficult and less worth the trouble. eBay can easily take 15% of your sale.”


  • Wide targeted audience
  • Available access to meaningful sales data
  • Higher prices as compared to garage sales and Craigslist
  • Can target your market to global or U.S. only


  • Fees
  • Tax liabilities
  • Required record keeping
  • Necessity of shipping
  • Have payment procedures
  • Necessity for ad copy and photography
  • Be prepared to answer questions
  • eBay rules and regulations

Primarily BaT has evolved into the premium on line community for the sales of special interest vehicles. Parts are a very small piece of their offerings being primarily confined to high end components primarily wheels.

 Car Club Forums

Pretty much have the feel of a craigslist targeted to a specific and often knowledgeable audience.


  • Targeted audience
  • Knowledgeable audience


  • Very informal
  • Necessity for shipping
  • Must be comfortable with online discussions


High-end auctions such as Gooding, RM Sotheby’s, Bonham’s and their ilk primarily focus on the disposition of premium special interest cars or collections of special interest vehicles. They will deal with parts if they come with the collection.

However other auctions have made a name by serving the need for disposing of collections not necessarily comprised of pristine classic cars.

One example is VanDerBrink Auctions. Owned and operated by Yvette VanDerBrink, the company focuses its operations in America’s heartland having run sales in 17 states, but it’s hardcore heartland, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Minnesota where the company and founder have made their respective reputations. To see how they operate visit their website Even if they do not operate in your area, it affords a good reference for what to look for if you want to move a mixed car and parts collection at one time. For the “Cadillac sisters” finding a suitable auction house might be the best solution to their disposal challenge.


  • Relieves you of the responsibilities of disposal.
  • One single financial transaction
  • Your sale is advertised to a targeted audience
  • You don’t have to write ads or do photography
  • No security issue
  • You have the best chance to get the best value for the collection


  • The collection needs to be large enough to make it worth while
  • The service comes at a price
  • Demands research to confirm the auction you select meets your standards.
  • You may not get what you want but what the market will pay.

Marque enthusiast club publications

Cadillac enthusiast Magazine

Major marques such as Cadillac (The Self-Starter), BMW (Roundel), Porsche (Panorama) and many more have publications published by enthusiast organizations. These publications have classified sections where cars and parts can be advertised. If you are seeking to dispose of parts for that brand these publications offer a great opportunity to connect with people possessing a passion for what you may be selling. While far more work than an auction, this type of advertising of a single lot for sale could certainly be a consideration for the “Cadillac sisters.”


  • Marque specific
  • Knowledgeable audience
  • Higher prices
  • Less wasted communications


  • Necessity of shipping
  • Have payment procedures
  • Necessity for ad copy and photography
  • Be prepared to answer questions

 In the end choosing a path for disposal of part or all of a collection comes down to issues of time, money and emotions. Do you have the time to personally manage a sale? Do you need to wring out every penny possible from the disposition. Does finding a “good home” matter?

For those considering thinning or disposing of a collection, the avenues for disposition offered here could prevent the bequeathing of a collection in chaos from turning into a gift wrapped in a headache.


By |2022-11-25T13:19:22+00:00November 25th, 2022|Comments Off on Conversations With People We Value #42

Conversations With People We Value #41

The allure of blue highways in many ways draws its power from the potential to discover unexpected cultural treasures along the twists and turns of less traveled byways. On a recent journey I found one.

It certainly offered the most understated of promotional roadside signage, even for the blue highways of Western Virginia. “OPEN” read the flapping flag next to a narrow road that climbed into a dense forest. However, for me its simplicity generated an irresistible draw. Turning off the highway put Elaine and me at the bottom of a steep narrow road that snaked up a hillside and, with a sharp hairpin to the right, twisted out of sight.

I would soon learn that this serpentine climb would lead to the century old Wood Ridge Farm in Woods Mill, Virginia, now, battling to survive the forces of our modern world with a brilliant strategy devised at the intersection of cold reality and the genius of its fourth generation owner.

Meet Barry Wood the visionary owner of the 300-acre home of the Wood Ridge Brewery and so much more.

Saving the farm. Barry Wood’s beach club on the Blue Ridge

Cresting the steep climb we faced a broad expanse of land rich with plowed fields and traditional farm buildings and equipment. Unexpectedly, integrated into this bucolic setting resided structures and features that were anything but traditional farm trappings. I resolved to meet the owner and ask, “What’s your story?”

I pulled into an open space in a large parking field filled with cars and dusty pickup trucks that worked for a living. All pointed towards a rough hewn, pin light adorned, handsome log building. It stood two stories high with open decks overlooking a sandy expanse filled with tropical trees and foliage.

Wood Ridge Farm Brewery, alive at night

Elaine and I walked in to be immersed in a beach-like party atmosphere with a live sound track from the stage and the competitive banter from the corn hole competition in process. Pretty young women holding beers socializing with attentive young men blended with families herding kids and dogs, retired couples and milling family groups. A genial mix surrounded the good natured competition on the corn hole courts. Others drifted along sandy trails edged with tropical flowers, banana trees and palm trees. Paths to the left led to a Tiki bar with a completely different musical track and vibe. Further on led to a food court with an outdoor brick oven pizza facility and the “Fired Up Curbside Grill” food truck.

Turning to the right led down a palm lined path to a sand volleyball court. To the side a huge natural tree-based Virginia L-O-V-E sculpture stretched 15 feet in the air. For those who do not know, Virginia has promoted the creation of large artistic LOVE signs that reflect the character of a tourist destination. Barry’s farm may have the largest of its kind. To the right one can hit golf balls on a 300 yard driving range. Off to the distant left of the driving range across a meadow stands an imposing five-acre corn maze. To its left resides a children’s obstacle course and petting park.

A long look at the brewery, driving range and corn maze

However, without doubt the centerpiece of this agrarian fun park is the Wood Ridge Farm Brewery. Here the young women and everyone else purchase beer brewed on location with the process visible through large windows directly behind the bar.

Asking a few questions we learned that the owner’s name was Barry Wood and were directed towards a man in a cowboy hat and jeans intently shucking oysters by a fire pit. We introduced ourselves then asked “What’s your story?”

Owner and visionary Barry Wood shucking oysters

Middle aged, friendly, fit and direct Barry clearly communicated the persona of a man of conviction with his words and deeds. Yes, a country boy, but also a licensed pilot, deep sea diver, past successful businessman and, now, a farm owner facing a world of challenges. Armed with an impressive skill set, astute business sense, fierce commitment to succeed and a love for sandy beaches (which explains the caribbean beach bar motif) he showed no intention of backing down from the challenge.

With the sale of the land he leased for his successful retail farm market, Barry, in 2000, chose to move to and re-energize the farm he had inherited from his father. With the house vacant for over 25 years and the land suffering from little attention for decades Barry took over a farm in dire need of help.

“It’s real simple,” stated Barry Wood with a relaxed Virginia drawl, “Today, as a small farmer you can’t make a living with a farm just by farming.” Made equally clear, was Barry’s absolute conviction to preserving the farm in its totality and in his family.

Wood Ridge Farm Brewery

Barry spoke of inheriting his grandparent’s 300-acre farm over twenty years ago and the subsequent decades of challenges, efforts, successes, failures and lessons learned. He left no doubt that the most profound lesson delivered came by way of a modern world of costly fuel, expensive equipment, low commodity prices and the competition of massive corporate farms. He spoke of the realization that for the farm to survive intact for future generations it demanded original thought way outside the box of traditional farming solutions. Fate had clearly been kind in placing the right man in charge at the right time.

“Creative agritourism,” said Barry as he fired up his Ford pickup filled with the tools, debris and dog hair that left no doubt as to Barry’s deep involvement with running the farm. Barry says, “Not much of a choice. Let the farm go or go the agritourism route to keep the farm alive. To me agritourism means getting people to pay for the beauty, experience and enjoyment I can create and at the same time eliminate their need to get on a plane or drive somewhere else to get what I am providing here.” Clearly Barry sees a future built on creating atmospheres for families where they feel comfortable.

Barry insisted that I take a tour of the farm with him before I asked any questions. I did not need convincing.

Beginning at the top of a broad downward sloping expanse, Barry showed how the area had been repurposed to be home to the massive corn maze, a golf driving range, areas for crops and in the distance, set against the mountains of the Blue Ridge, all of the structures to support both the traditional farming activities and those demanded to serve the entertainment needs created by the agritourism activities.

Moving on, we entered the dense surrounding forest, the Ford pickup seemed to willingly absorb the punishment of the deeply rutted trails. Both Barry and the Ford treated the bone jarring ride with the indifference of an urbanite on a transit bus. I hung on.

Our next stop offered a primer on the mindset Barry applies in implementing his agritourism vision and the operation of traditional farming activities. In a cautious world of bureaucracies that demand preliminary plans, meetings, approvals and, above all, specificity he employs a creative process that can best be equated to a quarterback calling audibles at the line.

Descending a hillside brings into view a tranquil lake and handsome three-story log cabin with covered decks on the two top floors.

Commenting on the beauty of the small lake, I could understand why he built this handsome log house next to it. I did not realize until later that he first had to build the lake.

Barry explained that the cabin started out to be a bathroom because when the family would have beach parties there the girls would have to run into the bushes to pee. The girls made it very clear that they wanted a bathroom by the lake. He offered to build an outhouse. “No way,” they protested, “spiders and snakes!”

Barry agreed to build a bathroom. To do so required building a one-room cabin. This meant digging a basement and pouring walls. He said, “I decided it wasn’t big enough so we added a bedroom. Then I realized that the bedroom would block the view of the lake so I turned the bedroom into a sun room and went up to a third level for bedrooms.” To finish things off he added decks. He now rents it.

I told Barry that such a lovely lake made it a perfect spot for the cabin. He then added that he had created the lake some years back as well. He says, “My intention was to excavate a little swimming hole for the kids with the help of a friend with a small bulldozer.” Six weeks later Barry had involved eight pieces of excavation equipment including a mammoth Caterpillar D8 bulldozer. Barry adds, “When we finished, the lake reached a depth of 27 feet and the dam a height of 32 feet.”

As would become evident on my subsequent tour of the farm, Barry has employed a free form genius that manifested by taking the seed of an idea and running with it as it gained momentum until finally, over time, it matured into a realized and complete execution. Concurring Barry says, “I can’t do something until I “see” it in my mind. Sometimes I will lose the vision. Then, maybe at 2:00 in the morning “pop” the vision returns and I can proceed.”

Vineyard in the making

Barry’s sturdy Ford navigated the roads as he shared stories of his efforts. Both presented a very bumpy ride. His litany of efforts include raising alpacas, growing shrimp and running 49,000 feet of drip line during a drought to raise watermelons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, squash, zucchini and more. Deer ate every melon and cantaloupe.

A litany of Barry’s 20 plus years of efforts to preserve and promote Wood Ridge Farm clearly displays a tenacity that offers tribute to the human spirit.

Then around ten years ago, Barry heard that distillers had their eyes out for good size farms to raise barley that would be malted for making beer and whiskey. Game on for Barry. He believed that locally raised and malted barley would be very appealing to the craft brewers and distillers in the region. He went to Canada to learn proper malting and built a specialty barley malting facility on the farm. Wood Ridge Farm would malt barley just like it was done 200-years ago. With his successful early efforts he used the malted barley to brew Wood Ridge Farm’s own beer. To quote from Genesis, “And it was good.”

With the proof in the bottle, so to speak, Barry went on the road to sell his specialty malted barley. Initial efforts met with success but the spotty nature of demand presented problems. Buyers would only purchase when the fresh hops were available and resistance to the price he needed to charge for his premium specialty malted barley met with resistance from distillers that could get by with lower quality malt. Barry says, “So I pretty much just got pissed off one day and got on my backhoe and started digging footings. I would build my own brewery.”

Inside the brewery

As Barry started digging footings around 2014 he discovered that he would be exceeding the maximum allowable footprint before triggering environmental rules dictating retention ponds and other requirements. He chose to reduce his footprint and build a second floor. With the bones of the Wood Ridge Farm Brewery established, he went about harvesting timber for the farm’s saw mill to create the boards to complete his rustic vision that stands today as the beating heart of a healthy Wood Ridge Farm tradition.

As Barry takes a moment to reflect on the present state of the farm, He is first quiet then says, “Yep, creative agritourism and the fact that we raise our own barley and malt the barley like it was done 200 years ago, there’s easier ways, but that’s the way we do it. And it’s working.” Then he allows himself a well earned smile.

By |2022-11-25T13:09:14+00:00November 10th, 2022|Comments Off on Conversations With People We Value #41