It is a clear September weekend in Pierce, Nebraska. Over 7,000 people have gathered to be a part of the most unique car auctions in our country’s history. They had come from most all US States and several countries to be in an open field at the edge of the town between the community golf course and a major size corn field. No spring crops planted here in anticipation of this large auction! Even the bare ground has been leveled to bare dirt for a smooth walking surface. Yes, mud was an issue as it rained the night before. Most of us walked with a large amount of mud attached to our shoe soles.
Here in many long even rows are 496 old collectable cars and trucks that were the remaining vehicles of the Lambrecht Chevrolet Dealership of 50 years(1946-1996)plus another 17 years when they were a used auto dealer. When the dealership closed, 30 of the new untitled 50 year old Chevrolets were stored. Some alongside of the building and inside the dealership; most used and some new vehicles were on the family farm. There they remained for many, many years until this special weekend – September 28th and 29th, 2013. Ray & Mildred Lambrecht the founders, now in their 90’s, decided it was time to share their collection with other hobbyist and enthusiasts.
Videos were shown weeks before the sale of the lengthy process it took for dozers and chain saws to remove the 25 year old trees and brush that had grown around the hundreds of stored vehicles on the farm. Then they had to be individually hauled to the auction site after it had been prepared for the crowd.
The over 450 of cars and trucks had a hard life in the growing forest that surrounded them for over 35 years. Most people were not aware they existed. A few that did years ago, had removed all the radiators for the extra salvage value of brass.
Lambrecht Chevrolet in background, 1953
Doors remained locked, 2013
Vehicle storage, Cameo in the back
After vehicles taken to the auction
|Ray and Mildred Lambrecht’s children in a new Corvette peddle car (about 1959)|
|Less than 36 Corvette peddle cars were produced! Sold at the auction for $13,000.)|
Our Feature Truck for November 2013 was one of the more special vehicles in this world famous auction, a 1958 Chevrolet Cameo pickup with 1.3 miles on the odometer! Color: Dawn Blue and Jet Black. As it is the lowest mile Cameo in the world, it will now set the future judging standards as to what is correct in 1958 total restorations. The interior was so new it had the original thin clear plastic temporary covers over the seats that were added at the factory 55 years ago. As originally added by the factory, the rubber floor mat was still rolled behind the seat cushion to protect it from the feet of delivery employees in 1958. The factory window sticker remained in place.
As is correct for all early GM pickups, the bed wood is painted. It is never given a clear coating to show off the wood grain. In all GM pickups after about 1940, the wood of choice was hard yellow pine from the factory.
A few other facts that should be of interest on this special 1958 Cameo:
- The dual headlight rings are painted white not chromed.
- Hood hinge assembles are zinc plated, not painted black.
- The 235 six cylinder engine is gray, not blue.
- The steering wheel and column is black, not interior color.
- The latch receiver plate in the hood is zinc plated, not painted black.
- Hub caps are the base painted units, but are chrome.
- The bow-tie emblem on the bed sides is black, red on the tailgate.
- The same material placed on the seats also covers the door panels.
- To lessen light reflection, the top of the dash is flat black, not interior color.
- Outside mirror arms are black, not chrome.
In viewing the Cameo the day before the auction we could see it had been left outside (probably beside the closed dealership) about 5 years before placed inside. It was nice but certainly not perfect for the 1.3 odometer miles. The chrome in places was now showing some dull weak areas. Bed boards were beginning to raise and separate near the front bed panel. Signs of standing rain water in the bed (maybe with long periods of tree leaves) had certainly taken its toll. The two top bedside chrome plated strips showed pitting from outside storage.
Unfortunately when inside the building something very heavy had dropped on its top many years ago with major damage that also broke the windshield. Another small dent was on the right rear. How could that happen?
Its 235 six cylinder engine appears to have been sprayed with light oil to protect it from rusting in the dampness outside. Of course, this also attracts quantities of dust over many years. All easy to remove but did not give a good first impression at the sale.
Why did it not get sold at the Lambrecht dealership in the early years? We suspect paying 25% more for a Cameo that would not carry any more merchandise than a Standard ½ ton greatly limited its interest to buyers. In 1958, small farming communities considered a pickup for work only. There was no enthusiasm for a “Boulevard Pickup” in Pierce, Nebraska. It didn’t even have a 4 speed which was the transmission of choice when you hauled local merchandise or farm products. Why was it not wholesaled to a larger city Chevrolet dealer that year? Possibly the more expensive Cameo with a six cylinder engine, 3 speed column shift transmission and no radio was not in their interest and Ray Lambrecht refused to sell below his cost. It is suspected this Cameo had no place to go!
THE AUCTION DAY:
This Cameo was the first to be placed in the auction of 496 vehicles. Most of the 7,000 people stood very close to this Cameo and a moveable flatbed auctioneer trailer. There was little room to turn beyond the exact area each observer was standing. There was no exiting by uninterested persons!
A person there said “If you have a heart attack here, you can’t fall sideways, only drop down. Then how could an ambulance find you?”
On sale day, if you had not looked at the vehicles the day before; you were out of luck. The size of the crowd prevented close viewing of the vehicles before the auctioneers flatbed trailer came even near a soon to be sold truck or car.
The bid started at almost $55,000 for the Cameo due to the online bids that had been occurring the past week. Within 2minutes the bidding had reached $100,000. Then bids continued on a slower pace. Within 10 minutes a new owner had the 1958 Cameo at $140,000! The all-time record for any 1955-58 Cameo to date. (Did Ray Lambrecht get the last laugh?)
The buyer is a New Hampshire hobbyist. He is a serious collector of very low mileage US vehicles. We were told he plans on keeping it just the way he bought it. The price of shipping to New Hampshire will be insignificant in comparison to the purchase price. And then there is the sales tax on the purchase price. In most states this will be near $10,000!
The following pictures as well as those of the auction day will give some idea of the (conservatively said) congestion in this farm field at the edge of town. The attached photos of the Cameo were after it was pulled from the retired dealership a few days before the auction.