By Yvette VanDerBrink
When it comes to cars, some guys are “brand” loyal and then there was Robert Hensel, there was no other brand in the world other than Chevrolet. Chevrolet was the only brand that mattered. Ever since he was a little kid, he marveled at their designs and read everything he could about the history of Chevrolet. This would eventually label him as the “go to” man in the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America. Bob was their historian and was more than happy to send collectors information about their cars or restoration projects. If you wanted your firewall tag decoded, Bob was the guy. If you needed to know how many or history on your Chevrolet, Bob was the man. He would put together binders of information for people and send it to them, many times at no charge. In fact, Bob would gather up , any and all, literature he could find on Chevrolets and amassed an immense collection that was eventually donated back to the Chevrolet Club of America after his death. The Chevrolet Club has spent days going through and cataloging this treasure trove of information for their archives.
Literature wasn’t the only thing Bob collected; while he was on his search for literature he bought NOS parts, specialty tools, memorabilia, and Chevrolet collector cars. Bob never married, but in a sense, he was married to the Chevrolet brand. He spent hours searching for all things Chevy, going to Hershey and never missed an Iola Swap Meet. Bob worked at Ariens as a technical advisor. After he retired he had more time to find NOS parts and look for cars. Those cars are scattered throughout his farm and will be auctioned with the hoard of NOS Chevrolet parts, specialty tools, and the real estate.
Bob could be seen driving a 1957 Chevrolet Wagon around looking for cars, parts, and going to shows. His collection consists of several 1955 & 56 Chevrolet Cameo pickups for restore, several 1951 Chevrolet convertibles for restore, several large trucks including Chevrolet COE, and Chevrolet fire trucks. He even took one of the fire trucks for a run on Pikes Peak. Bob always had a project going yet never really completed any of them.
When Bob became ill, he entrusted his sister Anne to help him get his estate in order. Bob was on dialysis and needed many trips to the doctor and to get supplies. Anne and his family were supportive and there for him through his final days. With Bob’s passing he left an enormous collection of NOS Chevrolet parts, project cars, toys, special tools, and more.
The family was able to keep a few willed pieces, but the remainder of the collection of cars and parts will be sold at auction on August 5th at the farm in Brillion, Wis. at 9 a.m. Preview for the auction will be August 4th, 2017 along with selling the Real Estate at 11a.m. on preview day. The vehicles will be also available for online bidding with some other items from the inventory. Bidders will need to be in person to get the chance for all the great NOS Chevrolet parts.
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC is conducting the auction. It’s pretty amazing what one guy gathered through the years. There is everything from NOS 1955 Chevrolet Cameo parts to mechanical parts, chrome, headlights, special tools, and a great assortment of project cars. If you are looking for Cameo pickups, Chevrolet trucks, ‘51 convertibles, you won’t want to miss this auction. So, if you are a Chevrolet Guy or Gal, you won’t want to miss this auction. For more information on this auction or call 605-201-7005.