America's love affair with the motor cor was on full display on Saturday as thousands of people converged on a muddy field in rural Nebraska for the auction of one of America’s largest collections of vintage Chevrolets.
Antique car buyers mingled with history buffs and ordinary people who just wanted to show their kids the cars of days gone by at the weekend sale of about 500 vehicles owned by Ray Lambrecht, 95, who was the local Chevrolet dealer for 50 years.
Until his retirement in 1996, Lambrecht stored any unsold new vehicles in a shed, outbuildings, and behind a grove of trees outside of town.
Locals knew about all the cars and bakkies but people in auto circles and history buffs didn’t - until the family decided to put them up for auction earlier this year.
Family member Cassie Wondersee of Dwight, Kansas said: “From the road, you would have never guessed that all of this was here.”
More than 430 “new” cars and bakkies were pulled out from among the trees.
Another 50, in better shape, were moved out of the sheds. Among those up for auction were a 1958 Cameo Pickup with the odometer showing it had traveled only one mile (1.6 kilometres), a 1964 Chevrolet Impala with four miles (6.4 kilometres), and a red 1963 Impala with 11 miles (17.6km).
People peered into and poked around the engines, doors and interiors of row after row of cars and trucks. One enthusiastic bidder called it the car geek equivalent of the Woodstock rock music festival of 1969.
“Yeah, things like this don't happen much.”
Brandon Wagner, a contractor who runs Wagner Excavating, had a front-row seat right from the start of the auction, as he was the one who moved the vehicles out of the trees and into the muddy lot for the auction.
Breaking up the collection was tough for the family, said Wondersee, but she hoped the new owners would restore the cars and get the vintage Chevys back out on the road.
“I hope people are not disappointed,” she said. “They’re not all perfect. Some have rust from sitting outside all these years.” - Reuters