- A collection of almost 500 vintage cars and trucks, many with fewer than 50 miles on the odometer, will go up for auction on September 28-29.
- The vehicles are owned by Ray Lambrecht and his family, who ran a Chevy dealership in Pierce, Nebraska, for 50 years.
- The condition of the cars varies, but there are a few gems in the collection, some of which could bring six figures at auction.
PIERCE, Nebraska — The Lambrecht collection of almost 500 vintage cars and trucks, many with fewer than 50 miles on the odometer, will go up for auction on September 28-29, drawing bidders from as far away as Iceland and Singapore.
The vehicles were collected over the course of 50 years, by Ray Lambrecht, owner of the local Chevrolet dealership in this small town in northeast Nebraska. Unlike many auto dealers, Lambrecht didn't like to discount the price of unsold vehicles, preferring instead to hold onto many of them in the belief that their value would increase in the future.
As a result, some of the cars now have as few as one mile on the odometer and many have never been titled. Although the collection includes a number of makes and models, ranging from the 1930s -'80s, the majority of them are Chevys from the '60s and '70s.
Most of the cars and trucks are not rare collectibles, but there are some interesting finds in the auction lot, and a few of the vehicles are real gems. It's possible that bidding for some of the most desirable of them could reach six figures.
One of the unusual items is a 1958 Chevrolet Cameo pickup with only two miles on the odometer. The Cameo was Chevy's early attempt at a high-style pickup, featuring a sculpted front end, sleek side panels, and other chic touches that set it apart from the competition. Unfortunately, the Cameo was priced at $2,150 at a time when most pickups went for around $1,700, so only about 10,000 of them were sold from 1955-'59.
Another Lambrecht car that is likely to attract some attention is a 1978 Chevrolet Corvette Indianapolis 500 pace car that's been driven just five miles. Although the later C3 series 'Vettes aren't generally considered the most collectible models, such a low-mileage example of Chevy's first Corvette pace car could catch the eye of an enthusiastic bidder.
The vast Chevrolet collection also includes a 1960 Corvair Monza with only one mile on the odometer, a '63 Impala with just three miles, and a '66 Chevelle with five miles, as well as a 1928 Durant, a 1950 Suburban, several 1955-'57 Chevys and a number of Vegas, El Caminos, vans and pickups. In addition to vehicles, there will be auto-themed jewelry, dealer displays, car parts, tools and even a Corvette pedal car up for auction.
The condition of the vehicles varies considerably. Some were kept at the dealership, and these tend to be in very good shape, although since the company closed in 1996 they have suffered from some neglect.
The Lambrecht family stored the rarest and most valuable cars offsite in a warehouse, which might seem to be a safe choice, but snow collapsed the building's roof, and a number of the vehicles were damaged.
The remainder of them were kept outdoors on a family farm. Exposed to the elements, as well as vandals and thieves, this group is in the poorest condition.
Declining health caused Ray Lambrecht, now 95, and his wife and business partner Mildred, 92, to make the difficult decision to sell their huge collection. Handling the sale will be VanDerBrink Auctions of Hardwick, Minnesota.
"The collection of over 500 survivor vehicles comprise a lifetime of hard work, tears, and joy for the Lambrechts," according to the VanDerBrink web site. "The dealership is a virtual time capsule and this capsule will be opened back up and the contents and inventory sold at auction to the highest bidder."
A complete inventory of the Lambrecht auction can be found at the VanDerBrink Web site.
Edmunds says: This is a unique opportunity to bid on some real survivors.