Nestled down a dirt road, outside rural Geneseo, you'll find the unthinkable. A Ford guy working on a Chevy.

Lynne Vahsholtz said her dad liked Chevy cars. But she married Roger, a Ford man.

"There was a little conflict at times," she said.

Lynne buckled up with her husband, Roger, many years ago. She vowed to be his partner in life, his passenger in just about any old car you can think of.

"He's always saying to me, 'okay now which wheels do you think look better, these or these?'" she said. "I'm saying, 'uh they're wheels. I don't know.'"

"Then I come out and I say 'which shoes do you like better, these or these?'"

She's committed to a man dedicated to his cars.

"I like to touch them," Roger said. "I like to feel them. I like to drive them. I like the performance of them. I like the look of them. I like everything about them and then I like to get my hands dirty on them."

You can't tell from the street, but behind the Vahsholtz's house sits about 150 cars.

"There isn't a car here that I couldn't restore," Roger said. He feels a great responsibility to the classics. "There's a lot of stuff sitting out in fields and in alleyways and stuff from rural America that are just rotting into the ground and that's the ones I hate."

So he takes in the shattered, busted, and broken-down. He restores what he can and recycles parts from the rest.

"We do ship worldwide all the time," he said. "We're helping people out in Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, France, Turkey."

It's work Roger learned at just eight years old that has supported him for more than half a century.

"I don't have a savings account because cash in the bank is my worst investment, in my opinion," Roger said. "Even junk vehicles are going up approximately five to ten-percent a year."

You might say the neglected autos have done as much for Roger as he's done for them. The most special car on the lot sits inside a covered garage.

"I bought my 1969 Shelby GT 500 for $1,500. It's a $100,000 car now," Roger said.

The only car they own that comes close to comparing in value is priceless in Lynne's eyes.

"When I was four, my dad bought his first brand new car. It was a 1952 Chevy,"  she said.

Even though Roger's a Ford guy, he restored that Chevrolet for his wife.

"The sounds and the smell and everything are from my childhood," she said. "We took family vacations in that car."

It's those universal memories shared by so many that keeps Roger hammering away on the cars.

"I'm 61 years old," he said. "I think I can work until I'm 70. Then that knowledge is going to be gone."

Roger said he worries the younger generation doesn't see the clunkers the way he does. Once they're gone, they're gone, he said.

"It's kind of like we had to put our old dog down last year that we had for 14 years," Roger said. "If somebody isn't there to preserve them and stuff, they will be gone."

As long as his hands, shoulders, and back will let him, Roger will keep working away down that dirt road at his auto sanctuary on the plains.

Roger's Junk Car Collection

POSTED: 04:50 AM CDT Aug 06, 2014    UPDATED: 06:34 PM CDT Jul 02, 2014 
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