Antique car collection began at Sturgis for rural Detroit Lakes couple
Antique car parade rolling through Detroit Lakes on Saturday
DETROIT LAKES — Steve Halstensgaard and his wife Cathy were cruising the backroads of South Dakota when they saw a pickup truck that changed their lives.
The two were attending the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, an event they’ve been to for the past 16 years.
“Three years ago, we’re riding down the road; the sun was shining and the smell of pine trees was in the air,” he recalled. “We see an antique Ford pickup by the side of the road.”
The for sale sign in the window of the truck caught Cathy’s attention; it reminded her of the family farmstead from her childhood. She directed Steve to pull over.
“Reluctantly, I called (about buying the truck),” he said. “It needed a lot of work. Thank God it was sold.”
While the truck wasn’t meant to be, that sliver in time left a lasting impression. A few days later they happened to drive past an antique automobile car lot. They found a 1946 Ford, like the kind Bonnie and Clyde are often seen driving on the silver screen.
“We drove over with a bucketful of money and had it (the car) shipped to Minnesota,” Steve said.
Around then, the two also learned about an antique car club in the lakes area that they wanted to join.
“The problem was, we didn’t have a car we could participate with,” he said, noting it may be years before the 1946 Ford is operable.
When the Halstensgaards returned to their rural Detroit Lakes home, they sat on their loveseat and searched the internet for working vintage cars.
“We saw a 1951 Hudson,” he said. “It needed a little work, but it looked good.”
They called the estate that was selling the car in an online auction and learned the vehicle had been garaged the past 15 years.
“We took a trip out to Wisconsin to see it,” he said.
A test drive proved it was operable. While cruising around the silos on the seller’s property, Steve learned one repair the car needed was the brakes.
“I learned to stop, you had to pump the brakes, turn the wheel to the left and say a short prayer,” he said.
After the drive, he told the seller that he would be the one buying the car.
“He looked at me like, ya, you and 12 others,” Steve said.
The online auction was a weeklong affair. At first, the Halstensgaard's top bid held strong. Then, Sunday arrived.
“The auction ended Monday at 5 p.m.,” Steve said, noting on Sunday the bid went “up and up and up again.”
The two called it a night shortly after the nightly news ended. The next morning, after breakfast, they checked the auction site and were surprised their bid remained at the top.
“We looked at noon, and it was still there,” he said. “At 4 p.m., we stopped working and went into the house. We figured they would all start bidding then. But, our bid was still there.”
They sat, listening to the clock tick away seconds filled with suspense, as if an arch-nemesis was lurking 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 recalled.
The two got the car home and a few days later took it to a car show in Walker, where they won their first car show award.
“We won first in the antique category,” Steve said.
Cathy noted they have participated in six car shows to date, each time they left with a trophy.
The Halstensgaards sweet ride will be one of more than 20 antique cars spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s that will be part of the Antique Car Parade rolling through Detroit Lakes on Saturday, Sept. 24.
Steve recommended anyone wanting an up-close look at the cars, or to chat with the owners, should be at the Quality Inn (615 US Hwy 10, Detroit Lakes) between 7 a.m. and 8:59 a.m.
“We leave at o’900 sharp,” Steve said.
Cathy added that anyone interested in joining the 412 Lakes Chapter Antique Automobile Club of America can call Steve at (218) 280-6800.
“Besides touring, I enjoy the company of our fellow car enthusiasts,” Cathy said. “During the summer we go on at least two local tours a month, as well as the display at the Becker County Fair and the cruise nights. It’s fun just going for ice cream and getting numerous honks and thumbs up.”