Lambrecht Lunacy Part 1

Over the weekend of the 28th and 29th some of my automotive friends and I from college decided to drive up to Pierce Nebraska and go see the Lambrecht Chevrolet Auction that was being held by the Vanderbrink Auction Company. For those of you who have not heard the story, Lambrecht Chevrolet was a mom and pop dealership that started up after the owner returned from World War II. Over the years the owner would take what was not sold from the previous year and either put it into storage on his property or in a shed. He believed in selling only the newest and best from Chevrolet.  This means that there were a bunch of “new” cars dating from the 50’s to the 90’s when they closed. He also did the same thing with trade ins. Over the years his land accumulated over 500 cars.

Why would anyone want to get rid of a lifetime collection of cars? Mr. and Mrs. Lambrecht are still alive, 95 and 92 years old, and apparently decided that it was just time to get rid of the cars. The dealership closed back in 1996 after being open for 50 years. It was decided that the Vanderbrink Auction Company would take over the overall selling of the vehicles, (which I am sure they had a field day for when they were chosen). Ultimately they promoted this auction very well, because there seemed as though there was at least one person from every state (and several countries) there, as well as a lot of money floating around. I had read about the auction and the Lambrechts  in Hemmings magazine months before, and thought that it would be a fun event to go to. I was in California at the time so I did not actually consider it until I found out that I was not too far away(300 miles) now that I am living in Kansas. I started talking around and asked if anyone in the C.A.R.S. club would be interested in going sure enough I had three other adventurers.

I didn’t actually expect to purchase anything, but I wanted to go up merely for the experience. I knew this would be the auction of the decade. Luckily Nebraska borders Kansas which made a road trip inevitable.  I asked a couple of my buddies that were in the C.A.R.S. club if they wanted to go, and away we went the Friday before the Auction. My entourage and I departed after classes and made the trip northward to Nebraska. As most drives are, it was fairly uneventful, however there was a funny piece of dialogue that I can share. We were discussing how we might do lunch at the auction, not wanting to pay an arm and a leg when Drew suddenly exclaimed, “Dangit, I forgot my tools”, (which was in reference to checking out a truck I was interested in). Since we were discussing lunch, Robert who didn’t make the connection, enthusiastically stated that he had spoons enough for all of us. This ended with the entire truck erupting into laughter.  A little after that we pulled into a Dairy Queen (that provided cutlery), and had dinner. 

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Once we were near Pierce, in the bigger town of Norfolk, we decided to find a place to camp for the night. Originally I had planned on staying at a campground in the area, but it was going to be $12 a day. I know that splitting that among four guys would be fine, but we were feeling really cheap. Instead we decided to camp out at the truck stop along the way. It was an interesting night alright. The original setup was going to be Drew and Tanner in the shell, Robert in the Cab, and myself on the roof. There was one problem however, as I got situated and was almost asleep….it began to rain. Oh, and prior to almost falling asleep, there were two guys sitting on a tailgate next to my truck, who had been drinking a little, and decided to light off a firecracker. Boy did that create a lot of noise, most definitely not encouraging the sleeping so I was quite dissapointed to be woken, again.

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Back to the rain. Once it started to rain I got off of my comfy roof and crawled into the shell. Decidedly to say, three guys in the back of a truck bed, isn’t too comfortable. Once the rain had stopped I grabbed a packing blanket and brought it up with me to the top to act as a tarp against the rain. Yup the rain returned.  I then came up with the brilliant idea of taking myself and my sleeping bag and sleeping under my truck. It was only sprinkling, therefore the truck would be a great shield.  I was dry and slept for a few hours, but I woke up around 3 o’clock, soaked, lying in a muddy puddle shivering like a Chihuahua in an Alaskan Winter. I threw my muddy sleeping bag on top of the shell and crawled into the cab and was happy to sleep in the driver’s seat, nice and warm.

Come morning we had a Mickey D’s Breakfast and headed towards the auction. Along the way we noticed that the entire town had taken their old cars out and placed them next to the street. We figured that it was a way for someone to perhaps come home with something if they were unlucky at the auction.  Parking was $20 and fairly far away, so we walked instead of waiting for the shuttle, because there was a very large line to drive into the auction. After a looong walk we were in shock and quite a bit of awe, as we gazed at the amount of cars and people that lay before us.

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I should mention also that because of the sheer amount of cars and items that were to be sold, the auction took place over two days. In addition to cars, they were selling EVERYTHING that had been in the dealership. Signs, banners, promotional items, parts, you name it.  Saturday was devoted to the interior of the dealership and the more “High Dollar” items. The vehicles we were actually interested in maybe bidding on, were not going to be till Sunday, so today was all about the sightseeing.

We scoured the fields looking at all of the vehicles that we were interested in including a 1946 Chevrolet Pickup. The place was extremely crowded. The town of Pierce has 1774 residents, and there was definitely more people at this auction than in the whole town. We didn’t stay too close to the crowd, where the moving auction truck was, but we were  able to get the idea.  What is an “auction truck”?  Well, since the amount of acerage was so overwhelming, and since most of the vehicles didn’t run, instead of bringing the cars to the auctioneer, the auctioneer went to the cars. It was literally a flatbed truck with a microphone and speaker set up. Sort of like a parade float.

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After meandering and drooling for a few hours we decided to go to the golf course next door and have lunch. We did not buy any food there, (remember, we’re cheap) instead opting to sit in the grass and make PB&J sandwiches, with some other snacks. 

After our feast, we walked around some more and hunkered down next to a 1949 Kaiser Yale Blue. I have always had a soft spot for Kaisers, and I was somewhat intrigued with this car, as it was not in bad condition. I waited there for the auction train to make its way there to see how much it would go for. My friends were all fervently trying to convince me to buy this Kaiser. I liked it enough, but I wanted a pickup truck. For the time, I will add it to my virtual garage in my head. The Kaiser went for $1400 and we moved on.  As we were on our way out we checked the high ticket items that went for big bucks along with big crowds. If you want to get an in depth look at the sale prices, I have added a link at the bottom.

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After our long day at the auction we walked back and set up McResidence. By that I mean that we lived at McDonald’s for about 2-3 hours. We had dinner, did homework, charged devices, and watched a movie. Out of all the movies that we could have watched, we watched Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue. We had a conversation earlier about movies we either had not seen, or seen in a long time. Yeah, four guys in college watching Brave Little Toaster at a McDonalds on a Saturday night.

With so many visitors in residence for the weekend, the town of Norfolk was having an impromptu cruise in. Many residents took their cars and drove them up and down the main road through downtown. Folks had lawn chairs set up and many cars were to be seen, ranging from a Model A to a DeLorean. It made for great sight-seeing on our way back to our homey truck stop. This time, I thought long and hard where I wanted to sleep. Drew and Tanner were still in the back, but this night, Robert and I were in the cab. Each of us took a seat, driver and passenger, and reclined all the way back. It was a warm and comfortable night, with a lot more sleep.

http://www.vanderbrinkauctions.com/auction_images/135/documents/Lambrecht_Story_The_Man_Behind_the_Legend.pdf

https://www.proxibid.com/asp/Catalog.asp?aid=68561

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About mecklin21

I'm a Southern California kid who ended up in the middle of McPherson Kansas pursuing a degree in Automotive Restoration at McPherson College. I own a 1940 Plymouth Pickup, which I am restoring, and enjoy adventures, writing, & photography.
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