August 10, 2017
By David Nordby
The Brillion News
BRILLION – Hundreds, including many from around the United States, converged on Deer View Road in Brillion last Saturday for the Robert Hensel Estate Auction.
The Brillion High School alumnus was a key figure in the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. The evidence of his life’s work was plentiful on Saturday. Thousands of collector parts were auctioned, as well as multiple vehicles. There was also Chevrolet magazines, advertising and literature.
“When you’re a car guy, you’re interested in all of this stuff,” Mike Kelly of Alpena, Michigan said.
Kelly and a friend made the seven-plus hour trip to Brillion in their truck, which also served as their hotel room. “When I die, there will be [an auction] like this,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who added he doesn’t collect anything for money, owns 60 cars and is currently building a truck. He was looking for parts to the truck at Saturday’s auction, which was one of the attractions for him.
Other out-of-towners included collectors from Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania and Manitoba. Everyone had his or her own reason for being there. Many were interested in the cars that Hensel owned.
The priciest, a 1953 Chevrolet Convertible, sold for $9,300 to an old friend of Hensel’s from Chicago. She had wanted the car for 15 years, and knew if she were going to have ownership of it, she would have to be one of the 300 registered bidders in Brillion.
The weather cooperated on Saturday following a rainy two days in the area, which was the biggest worry for Yvette VanDerBrink, who organized the event and auctioneered on Saturday. She is the owner of VanDerBrink auctions, and is licensed in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, among other states.
Hensel’s real estate was sold in a separate auction on Friday. Total financial amounts are confidential and not released to the public.
Hensel moved to Brillion when he was 14 years old and attended Brillion High School, before joining the United States Army. After serving more than three years stateside and in France, he returned to Brillion and worked at Ariens until his retirement. He passed away last June.
This story was featured in the August 10, 2017 version of The Brillion News.