So Who’s This Dave Neyens Guy Anyway?

This image was an unpublished “extra” captured by veteran L.A. area Photojournalist Dave Wallace. A really cool dude with deep roots in California car culture, whom I was stoked to meet nearly 10 years ago at the “old” Petersen Museum in L.A. I was with RM Auctions back then and we were selling the Ralph Whitworth Collection, chock full of hot rods, Kustoms, drag and Bonneville cars, and so much more. Here, I played “Ohio Dave” at the wheel of “Ohio” George Montgomery’s infamous turbocharged Mustang “Gasser.”
April/May 2009, me and my favorite vehicle while cataloguing the vast, yet expertly curated “America’s Car Collection” Museum. It was to be offered a few monthls later with RM Auctions (before Sotheby’s investment) on behalf of business legend Ralph Whitworth, who made the difficult decision to disperse it, almost as soon as he had amassed it. This righteous reacher (thanks, Gray Baskerville, wherever you are) was the personal ride of Museum head honcho, Dave Bengochea, who could not have been kinder to the guys who were helping him lose quite possibly his dream job!

“Working from a home office in small-town Ontario, Canada on the North Shore of Lake Erie, Dave Neyens has been combining a lifelong love of all things automotive with his degree in History to help produce dozens of collector-car auction catalogs.” Who knew it was possible? I certainly did not know that anybody would care about such things for most of my life until my birthday, December 26, 2007. That day, everything changed. While playing air hockey with the kids, I happened to see an ad in the London Free Press for an auction-catalog writer with RM Auctions and answered the call.

Since I had already been hanging around on weekends and buying old auction catalogs at RM’s growing premises, I submitted a sample auction description and hoped they would give me a try. They did, at first on a casual basis, but since their auction schedule was growing faster than their staff complement, they soon asked me to join them full-time. I worked my rear end off, kept my ear to the ground, and learned everything I could about my newly chosen field of endeavor.

After a few years, I reached the glass ceiling and it was time to branch out and work independently with a fast-growing group of clients in the classic and collector-car auction business. At first, my contact list grew over the telephone and internet, eventually allowing me to experience the cars and events I wrote about. Most importantly, I was free now to meet the people who trusted me to do justice to their prized possessions and to help my business clients realize the best results possible in the highly competitive auction market. I have to thank Cindy Meitle of Car PR USA, who really helped with her considerable influence, getting my name in front of the decision-makers who needed my services to help make their events successful venues for selling valuable collector cars.

My automotive journey has been long, beginning when my dad purchased the November 1971 edition of Hot Rod magazine (priced 75 cents then) for me at the corner store while he was resupplying on his preferred brand of smokes – Black Cat No. 7. While hot rods and drag racing were the things delinquents usually did, my dad and I shared a mutual interest in them. My ever-patient mom helped me manage my growing collection of books and magazines on all things automotive, and while I once thought she had thrown them all onto the burn pile at our farm, she quietly boxed and saved most of them for me, somehow knowing I would eventually need them one day. Mom also stashed a few of my favorite Hot Wheels cars away. Thank you! Seriously.

However, writing and indulging in classic cars was considered something one did after a proper education and securing that elusive “real job.” After a few jobs, including airport bus driver and dispatcher (the best), banking, and sales, I finally landed that “real job” in my true vocation.

Anyone who’s met me knows almost instantly that my automotive interests are broad and my passion borders on obsession – a useful trait when working to meet auction deadlines. When not hammering at my computer keyboard or sifting through my growing print reference library – yes, print – my spare time is spent with my wife and three busy teenage kids. In addition to auction-catalogue writing, I conduct extensive research to get each story straight and interview many very interesting people on a daily basis. Over the years, I have also written many press releases, magazine and event-program articles, and helped organize the marketing and sale of many millions of dollars’ worth of the finest classic and collector vehicles, vintage aircraft and warbirds, and aircraft engines, memorabilia, collectibles, and artworks.

A trip to automotive Nirvana. The former “America’s Car Collection” shop of business legend Ralph Whitworth in Winnemucca, Nevada, about 3 hours by highway from Reno. Pretty much every cool hot rod, important Bonneville record, dragster, and iconic Kustom was there. Among them was the car that won what many regard the first “real” drag race. The people there were so gracious to me and my crew.

Throughout my auction career, I have been blessed to meet a veritable multitude of great people – many of whom I am proud to call my friends. One of them is without doubt Joe “JoepeP” Pepitone, the former Art Director of Archie Comics, whom I first met at the 2009 AACA Fall Meet in Hershey, Pennsylvania. We have stayed in touch over the past decade, and share a common bond – our love of classic cars, art, and culture. Joe and his friend “Dusty” host the “Every Car Has a Story” radio show on North Carolina’s Big Talker 106.7, and I was stoked they wanted to interview me for their show in early 2018. Soon after that, when I filled in for a guest who could not participate due to an emergency, and we had plenty of fun talking about an upcoming auction. I love radio – it is great fun and I love talking about classic cars, auctions, and events.

I’ve also been interviewed by Mark Greene for an episode of his great Cars Yeah podcast, and I was happy to help an overextended colleague with an impromptu interview for CBS affiliate KSBW 8 TV at the first annual Pacific Grove, California Auction hosted by Worldwide Auctioneers. An online interview for Mike Butler on his website was published during late 2015.

As Joe and co-host “Dusty” (Bill) drew out of me in preparation for our interview, it’s not always easy to march to your own drummer, and one can rarely hope to ever know where life will lead. Or, as a wise person once said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” Actually, I am blessed to have found my true calling after a few false starts and a lot of blood, sweat, and yes, tears.

Looking back, I have to say the company motto of Holland’s Spyker Cars fits me best: “For the tenacious, no road is impassable.” For that matter, Hannibal’s ancient words still ring true: “We will find a way. Or make one.” So, I guess the short answer to the question posed in the title of this post is, if you want to get top dollar for your classic car, I can help you make it happen. If you need solid writing for your catalog or magazine, informed by experience and passion, contact me. If you just love classic cars, say “Hi” the next time you see me. I look forward to many more unforgettable adventures, and I hope you will join me here as I work on developing and growing the Classic Auction News website/blog and media properties.

Recent photo of me and the beautiful 1963 Apollo 3500 GT Spyder – the very first Spyder sold! Photo Credit: Stuart Schlaifer, Copyright 2019