Vanderbrink Auctions Blogs

The “Michigan Muscle” Auction: The Tom Brown Collection

By Yvette VanDerBrink

For a Car Guy or Gal, you never forget your first car. There’s something genetically ingrained in a collector’s DNA that gets the gears going and stirs up the desire to go fast and love cars.Glimpses of the car gene started to make themselves know at a young age in Tom. His mother said that at 3-years-old he was looking at cars. If his dad or grandfather was working on a car… Tom was there. He loved everything to do with wheels. Luckily for Tom, growing up around Cincinnati, Ohio there were a lot of cars to look at. He’d sit and watch them all go by, waiting for his turn at the wheel.

Tom finally got his first car, a 1951 Ford Shoebox Sedan. He traded up for a hopped-up, street-racing ‘54 Ford, but he couldn’t beat those pesky Chevrolets. He had enough and bought himself a 1961 Chevrolet Impala, black with a 350hp 348-c.i.d. V8. He loved racing, but not on the track. He was hitting the back roads, hammering down and earning extra cash. That Chevrolet won the races and got him the girls. Consequently, the racing got him in trouble and also got him married. The black Impala was sold, but the trade-off was worth it.

He was rewarded with a son, Mark. They did everything together and Mark inherited that car gene, too. They dove into the hobby. Buying cars, fixing cars, and even started to build a shop. But sadly, his son passed away early. But, his son always had his best friend with him, Brett. Brett became one of the car loving crew. To this day Tom and Brett enjoy the car hobby together.

Tom’s love for cars carried over into his work-life as well. Tom learned a lot about cars while working at the Fisher Body Plant. As a bonus, the factory also had machines to make parts for his restorations.

In the early 1970’s Tom would fly one way to California and drive back rust-free muscle cars. He would buy the cars privately and even made a habit of stopping people driving down the road to strik up a deal. Many times these California cars would sell before they were off the trailer. Not every car though, there was a number of the cars that he stored away for himself.

Tom spent many hours searching for rare and hard to find big block GM parts. He would end up packing them away for his multiple restorations. Chevelles, Camaros, Impalas, Novas, and even a few Fords built the collection. Word started to get out about Tom Brown and his fantastic Muscle cars. He was the “Big Block” guy. Tom didn’t want to be famous so he slipped out of the car limelight.

Tom has battled health issues and time and realized that he is never going to restore everything. He decided that it was time to open the doors to the sheds for one last time to offer up his collection of GM Muscle Cars, Ford Street Rods, sedans, coupes, and more along with a hoard of GM big block parts to the public. Tom is full of anecdotes and wisdom. When you’re talking with him, he’s sure to give you plenty of each. One of Tom’s best is, “Everyone should be poor, and everyone should be ugly. It will teach you a lot and help you get along with everyone.” Well after heeding his own words, even though a hard decision, he has made the decision to sell the collection.

VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC was contacted to conduct the auction. When I visited the collection and the doors to the barn opened there was horsepower as far as your eye could see. The whole place is packed full of Camaros, Chevelles, Corvettes, and even a 1933 Ford 5-Window Coupe. Not only the cars, but so many big block parts. It was amazing. Being a Chevelle and Camaro girl, it blew me away. My kind of Candy Store.

The auction will be No Reserve and held on-site at the barns in Vicksburg, Michigan. Online bidding will be available on all cars and some parts. The majority of big block parts will be for onsite bidders only. The collection has cars from GM’s glory days. Multiple 1967-1969 Camaros, including a 1968 Camaro that was sponsored (drag racing) by Berger’s Chevrolet will be available. Multiple 1966-1972 Chevelles, including a LS6 Chevelle and a 1967 Chevelle SS convertible will also be at the forefront of the auction. Corvettes are heavy in the collection, including a 1967 Corvette Stingray Coupe with 427-Tri-Power and 4-speed transmission, as well as other 427 and 454 Corvettes. Not forgetting Fords, there is a 1933 Ford 5-window coupe and a wonderful 1946 Ford Sedan Delivery. This auction will satisfy your big block craving!

The auction will be held August 25th, 2018 at 9AM at the barns in Vicksburg, Michigan. There will be a preview and time to talk with Tom about his fabulous collection on August 24th, 2018 from 10am-7:30pm at the site.

For more info, pictures, and catalog check or Call 605-201-7005. See you at the Auction.


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