The Lambrecht Auction: Going Once, Going Twice, Going 50 Years Later

The Lambrecht Auction Going Once Going Twice Going 50 Years Later

Car auctions tend to be flashy and a bit snooty. That is, of course, unless the car auction in question is being held in Pierce, Nebraska. Pierce is a small town in the state’s northeast, less than a square mile in area, which counted 1767 souls and, unofficially, hundreds of Chevrolets.

The story goes that the local Chevy dealer, Ray Lambrecht, figured that if a car or truck didn’t sell within the first year, he’d park it. Some vehicles were stashed in buildings, others in fields. Lambrecht opened the dealership in 1946 with his uncle, and retired in 1996—allowing for inventory to swell in the 50 years he was in business.

Lambrecht is now 95, his wife Mildred is 92, and the pair figured it was time for others to enjoy the inventory, so they put it up for auction. That’s the story of how Pierce grew to more than 10,000 last weekend, a number that included bidders from overseas. What they were looking over was an impressive list of the wonderfully ordinary. There were no Bugattis, no Ferraris, no former Grand Prix race cars, and nothing once owned by Steve McQueen—just Chevy after Chevy. The list of bow ties included Biscayne and Bel Air sedans, Impalas and Caprices, plenty of pickups, a slew of Corvairs, and a few non-Chevrolets—trade-ins that never left Lambrecht’s lot. Two of the cars, a 1959 Bel Air and a 1960 Corvair Monza, had just one mile on their odometers. It was a collection of pure, unadulterated Midwestern Americana.

A 1958 Cameo, Chevrolet’s stylish truck, left Nebraska with just 1.3 miles on the odometer after its new owner parted with $140,000—the highest price paid at the auction. An 11.4-miles-on-the-odo 1963 Impala finished in red and white—its original $3254.70 sticker price still hanging in the window—returned a bid of $97,500. A 1965 Impala two-door hardtop garnered $72,500, while a 1963 Corvair Monza coupe went at

$40,000. These were the highlight prices from the lot, with the majority of listings selling in the $15,000 range.

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Come Sunday night, some $500,000 was in the Lambrecht’s till. We can’t help but wonder who bought the Chevette Scooter, which yielded an amazing $5500 even though the cheapest of the Chevettes came minus rear seats and a glove-box door to drive the original price down to $2899. We have similar questions regarding the owners of a $650 Pinto, or an $1800 Cavalier, and especially, to the mystery bidder who left with a $10,500 Vega.

But the biggest question we have is this: For those Chevys that were just bought brand new, are those warranties still valid?

The Lambrecht Auction Going Once Going Twice Going 50 Years Later

About John Lamm