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- June 2009
MOPAR or NO CAR: The Alan Rietz Collection
Written By: Yvette VanDerBrink
They say the most expensive hobby starts with 98 cents, playing with Hot Wheels cars. Those vibrant colors, playing in the dirt, Alan Rietz couldn’t wait until he could have a car of his own. He was hooked after his first car – a bright orange 1970 Dodge Challenger that he drove in high school. From then on, it was Mopar or no car. Growing up on the plains of Northern South Dakota, there were miles of roads that seemed to go on forever – the perfect place to perfect Alan’s need for speed.
Linda Rietz, Alan’s wife of over 30 years, remembers he was a football star that loved to drive fast. Linda was kind of a “nerd” and it was a blind date when she met Alan. That 1970 Dodge Challenger was a hot car, and it went fast.
“Alan was a quiet person, but when it came to cars, they seemed to bring out his wild side and he loved horsepower,” said Linda.
Alan went to college at Northern State University for Industrial Arts but the family farm called and he started farming by Mansfield, South Dakota. Linda and Alan were married in 1985. According to Linda, Alan would buy a car every chance he could. The couple spent their years going to car shows, swap meets, and buying cars in South Dakota. They loved to go to Midwest Mopars in the Park. Alan had his trusty pocket guides and was always on the hunt for parts. Alan absolutely hated to see a Dodge or Plymouth heading for a demo derby or dirt track and would rescue them and bring them home for a future project.
There were some cars that Alan had on his “wish list.” Linda remembers him tracking down the rare 1970 Road Runner convertible in Mellette, South Dakota. This rare 1 of 824 ever made was sitting behind the owner of the Chrysler dealer’s place in Mellette, which is long closed. The rare Ivy Green Metallic, white top and interior, coded 383 V8 was the personal car of the owner and in need of a motor. Linda remembers them pulling the car down Hwy 281 the 12 miles home. They took a 440 V8 out of a cop car and put it in the car.
Linda drove the Road Runner to work and it went fast. The convertible was great in the South Dakota summers, but being so petite, it was hard to clasp the power top down. While Alan still kept his high school cars, the 1970 Dodge Challenger and 1970 Cuda, another goal was to buy a 1970 Dodge Super Bee 440 V8 6-Pack car. Linda says Alan loved that car as it was a screamer. They took it to area shows and on trips. He would go car hunting with his buddy Doug Rush and they brought home parts and projects. Linda always wondered what he would do with all the cars and didn’t mind him buying them, as long as the bills were paid. She actually encouraged the hobby, as it made him happy and they had a great time in the cars.
I asked Linda if Alan ever sold anything.
“He never would sell anything. But, he would trade with someone. If he knew that you were going to cut something up, he wouldn’t trade with you. But if you were going to restore it, then he would. People would stop all the time and ask to buy cars and parts, but unless he knew you, the answer was always ‘no.’”
The Rietz family had many pheasant hunters that would come from all over the US and hunt on their farm, including some Mopar collectors. They would get a chance to look at the cars, but not the chance to buy. There are a few Corvettes and later model Imperials in the collection, too. Linda said these weren’t added until it got harder to buy the Mopars.
About three years ago, Alan lost his car buddy Doug and he slowed down on the buying. They were building a drag car and that project stopped as well. Alan kept farming the family farm and working in his shop. Linda always wondered if his cars were a big deal or worth anything; Alan always said it wasn’t junk and that the collection held valuable and desirable cars and parts. One day, Alan went out to the shop, as usual, but didn’t come back in the house. He died from an accident in his shop. This tragic loss led the family to wonder what to do with all of Alan’s cars, parts, and guns.
The family called me after recommendations from friends and hunters. I met with Linda and couldn’t believe the Mopar hoard – Road Runners, Cudas, the Super Bee, Satellites, Furys, Chargers, Power Wagons, Aspens, and hundreds of rare parts. Just turning into the farm, I knew this was something special. They were everywhere and in every building. You could tell Alan was a true collector; the farm machinery was outside, and the cars were inside the sheds. The work started on getting things ready for a series of auctions for the Rietz collection. I started tagging and making a preliminary listing that will be updated and posted to the website. It’s going to be a great weekend!
The farm machinery sale took place on Saturday, March 24, but we have some additional upcoming sales soon.
Alan Rietz Gun Collection – Friday, June 8, 2018 4:00PM during Mopar Preview
Mopar Auction Preview – Friday, June 8, 2018 10:00AM-7:30PM
Mopar Auction – Saturday, June 9, 2018 9:00AM
Enjoy some South Dakota hospitality and bid on one of Alan’s gun collections. There are many Winchester long guns, along with Colt handguns and more. FFL guidelines apply to bidders. Then come back on Saturday, June 9 at 9:00AM to kick off the Mopar Cars & Parts and Motorcycle Auction. The auction will be held LIVE, in person, at the farm by Mansfield, South Dakota, rain or shine. If you can’t make it to the auction, the vehicles and an assortment of rare parts will also be available for online bidding. There are hundreds of motors, sheet metal, parts and guns that will be available ONLY for ON-SITE bidders. This is truly an amazing collection. If you are a Mopar or gun collector, you won’t want to miss this big auction weekend.
Linda and Alan didn’t have children; the cars were their children. Linda and the family want the cars to go to good homes that will treasure them like Alan did. Plan to be in South Dakota on June 8 and 9 for the Rietz Collection Auctions. All will be sold NO reserve. For inventory, pictures, terms and more details on this and other auctions, visit www.vanderbrinkauctions.com or call 605-201-7005. See you in South Dakota!