Ivan Young was an avid collector of classic cars, with an eye for the unusual and the rare. The seller of restaurant equipment owned about 60 vehicles when he died in 1997.
Among the collection he left to his children were a pink and white 1958 Mercury coupe, a 1963 Studebaker Avanti, a couple of Chevrolet Corvairs and a 1966 Austin sedan. Much of the collection seems to represent a paean to carmakers that went belly-up in the 1950s, like Nash, Packard and Hudson.
But along with an eclectic collection of vintage cars, Young left a tangled mess of an estate that commingled his personal and business assets and offered no definitive succession plan. By the time inheritance taxes had taken their bite, the $3 million estate was whittled down to about half its value.
Held in the balance was a once-lucrative business that supplied the restaurant trade with ice cream machines and other food preparation equipment. To try to shore up the company, Phil Young, Ivans son, turned to selling off his fathers car collection.
Phil shares his fathers affection for four-wheeled beauties, so liquidating the collection has been anything but a joy ride. Meanwhile, Young has shifted gears in his business and decided to focus on family entertainment, a restaurant, Brake-N-Go and a retailing operation that sells high-end kitchen equipment.
The vintage car market is widespread, so finding a buyer for, say, a 62 Isetta hasnt been easy. The first ads, in general circulation publications, wore out the telephone ringer. The sale had drawn hordes of tire kickers who expected Young to turn his warehouses of old cars into museums.
Bargain hunters offered him a fraction of a cars value. One collector called from Texas and offered to buy one car sight unseen, but for $2,000 less than the asking price. Young turned him down.
Young says the market for vintage cars is soft in Western Pennsylvania, so he ran ads in car club publications, on the Internet and through specialty automotive magazines. About 40 have been sold, many to out-of-state car aficionados. The last 15 vehicles in the collection are being stored at DA Auto Auction in New Stanton, waiting to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
I just want to get rid of them, says Young wearily, although he adds that he has no plans to let go of his personal favorites, two 1966 Dodge Chargers, a 1955 Dodge powered by the fabled hemi engine, a 1968 AMX and a 1953 Studebaker pickup.
Even after the cars are sold, says Young, hell still be working his way through the trunkful of major and minor snags he has had to unravel to straighten his late fathers estate and salvage his business. As he puts it: What a hell of a mess to unscrew.
How to reach: Phil Young, (724)834-2410
Ray Marano (firstname.lastname@example.org) is associate editor at SBN.