Minnesota farmer prepares to sell huge convertible car collection

Ron's first car was a 1962 Chevy Impala convertible.

Roy Windels points out features on his 1958 Chevrolet Impala, one of his many cars parked at his residence in New York Mills, Minn. David Samson / The Forum

NEW YORK MILLS, Minn. — In rural Otter Tail County, one of the biggest collections of convertibles around will be auctioned off in a month, but the collection is about more than just a love of cars.

In a few weeks, New York Mills farmer Ron Windels and his wife Carol will auction off most of their two-dozen convertibles, such as his 1956 Bel Air.

"I have collected every car from Impala or Bel Air from 1955-1969," Ron Windels said.

A sharp yellow Chevy, and a classic 1957 is the heart of any collection. There are also Fords like his 1957 Ford Fairlane retractable.


There is also a unique story about this Plum Crazy 1970 Charger. Ron recently brought it to a car show, when someone walked up and talked to him about it being his car.

"The guy said 'that is my car. I figured it was my car because I saw there was a pin I put in the windshield-wiper bracket, to hold it down when I took it up to 120 mph, it would fly off,'" Ron Windels said.

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His wife Carol said Ron always told her the collection of cars were for her.

"I would just roll my eyes, and then accept it," Carol Windels said. "You just never know what he will bring home next, and why."

Ron's first car was his 1962 Chevy Impala convertible, which is when he got the bug. His family then sold it while he was serving in Vietnam. Windels had been drafted into the Army in 1968, while he had a new wife and baby at home. He has many emotions about that dark time.

He eventually came back home, but was wounded in the war.


"I remember the day I heard he was wounded," Carol Windels remembers. "(I was) frantic."

In 1969, Ron Windels received the Purple Heart in honor of his service.

"I could have been dead or seriously, seriously injured," Ron Windels recalled. "You call it luck, or someone looking over you."

Life has become much better since that dark time in his life. The Windels now spend winter in Arizona, and now this collection of cars will make others very happy.

The sale will be held Sept. 19 just outside of New York Mills. Those interested can see the auction bill here .

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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