Vintage car collection started in Sturgis for rural Detroit Lakes couple – Detroit Lakes Tribune
DETROIT LAKES – Steve Halstensgaard and his wife Cathy were cruising the back roads of South Dakota when they saw a van that changed their lives.
Both were participating in the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an event they have been attending for 16 years.
“Three years ago, we were driving on the road; the sun was shining and the smell of pine trees was in the air,” he recalls. “We see an old Ford van by the side of the road.”
The For Sale sign on the truck window caught Cathy’s attention; it reminded him of the family farm of his childhood. She ordered Steve to stop.
“Reluctantly, I called (about buying the truck),” he said. “It took a lot of work. Thank god it was sold.
While the truck wasn’t meant to be, this slice of time left a lasting impression. A few days later, they passed a parking lot of vintage cars. They found a 1946 Ford, as Bonnie and Clyde are often seen driving on the big screen.
“We came in with a bucket of cash and had it (the car) shipped to Minnesota,” Steve said.
Around this time, the two also heard of a vintage car club in the Lake District that they wanted to join.
“The problem was that we didn’t have a car we could participate in,” he said, noting that it could be years before the 1946 Ford was operational.
When the Halstensgaards returned to their rural Detroit Lakes home, they sat on their loveseat and searched the Internet for old, working cars.
“We saw a 1951 Hudson,” he said. “He needed a bit of work, but he looked good.”
They called the estate that was selling the car through an online auction and learned that the vehicle had been parked for the past 15 years.
“We took a trip to Wisconsin to see it,” he said.
A road test proved it was usable. While driving through the silos on the seller’s property, Steve learned that one repair the car needed was the brakes.
“I learned to stop, you had to pump the brakes, turn the steering wheel to the left and say a short prayer,” he said.
After the ride, he told the salesman that he was the one who would buy the car.
“He looked at me like you, you and 12 others,” Steve said.
The online auction lasted a week. At first, the best offer from Halstensgaard held firm. Then Sunday came.
“The auction ended at 5 p.m. on Monday,” Steve said, noting that on Sunday the auction “went up and went up again.”
The two called it a night shortly after the evening news ended. The next morning, after breakfast, they checked the auction site and were surprised that their bid remained on top.
“We looked at noon, and he was still there,” he said. “At 4 p.m., we stopped working and entered the house. We figured they would all start bidding then. But, our offer was still there.
They sat, listening to the clock tick by with suspense-filled seconds, as if a nemesis lurked in the shadows, waiting to steal their prize at the last second.
“Then all of a sudden we got an email saying we bought the car,” Steve recalls.
The two took the car home and a few days later took it to a car show in Walker, where they won their first car show prize.
“We won first place in the antiques category,” Steve said.
Cathy noted that they have been to six car shows so far, each time walking away with a trophy.
The sweet Halstensgaards ride will be one of more than 20 vintage cars from the 1950s to the 1970s that will be part of the Antique Car Parade crossing Detroit’s lakes on Saturday, September 24.
Steve recommended that anyone wanting to see the cars up close or chat with the owners head to the Quality Inn (615 US Hwy 10, Detroit Lakes) between 7 a.m. and 8:59 a.m.
“We start at 0’900 sharp,” said Steve.
Cathy added that anyone interested in joining the 412 Lakes Chapter Antique Automobile Club of America can call Steve at (218) 280-6800.
“In addition to touring, I enjoy the company of our fellow automotive enthusiasts,” Cathy said. “During the summer, we run at least two local tours a month, as well as the Becker County Fairgrounds exhibit and cruise nights. It’s fun to fetch ice cream and get some many horns and thumbs up.