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Vintage Chevy auction in Nebraska to deal in low-mileage gems

  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, old Chevrolet automobiles, including a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, right, are seen at the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, old Chevrolet automobiles, including a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, right, are seen at the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, a tree grows through the bumper of a 1962 Ford Falcon at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, a tree grows through the bumper of a 1962 Ford Falcon at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, a 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne is lined up with others at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, a 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne is lined up with others at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, Chevrolet automobiles are lined up in a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, Chevrolet automobiles are lined up in a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  •  In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, old Chevrolet automobiles fill the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, old Chevrolet automobiles fill the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, vintage General Motors posters are seen in the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, vintage General Motors posters are seen in the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • This family photo which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Mildred Lambrecht, wife of Ray, and their son Mark in a brand new 1953 Corvette, in front of the dealership. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)

    This family photo which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Mildred Lambrecht, wife of Ray, and their son Mark in a brand new 1953 Corvette, in front of the dealership. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)

  • This undated family photo which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Ray Lambrecht behind the service counter of the dealership. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)

    This undated family photo which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Ray Lambrecht behind the service counter of the dealership. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)

  • In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, old Chevrolet automobiles fill the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, old Chevrolet automobiles fill the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, Art Nordstrom holds a sign at the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. In September, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, Art Nordstrom holds a sign at the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. In September, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • This family photo from 1970 which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Ray Lambrecht, right, behind the service counter of the dealership. In September 2013, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)

    This family photo from 1970 which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Ray Lambrecht, right, behind the service counter of the dealership. In September 2013, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)

  •  In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, rare Corvairs and pickup trucks are lined up in a field near  the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, rare Corvairs and pickup trucks are lined up in a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink stands in front of a brand new old 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a brand new 1958 Cameo pickup truck, right, at the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

    In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink stands in front of a brand new old 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a brand new 1958 Cameo pickup truck, right, at the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, old Chevrolet automobiles, including a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air, right, are seen at the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, a tree grows through the bumper of a 1962 Ford Falcon at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, a 1958 Chevrolet Biscayne is lined up with others at a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, Chevrolet automobiles are lined up in a field near the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  •  In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, old Chevrolet automobiles fill the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, vintage General Motors posters are seen in the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • This family photo which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Mildred Lambrecht, wife of Ray, and their son Mark in a brand new 1953 Corvette, in front of the dealership. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)
  • This undated family photo which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Ray Lambrecht behind the service counter of the dealership. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)
  • In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, old Chevrolet automobiles fill the showroom of the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • In this Aug. 12, 2013 photo, Art Nordstrom holds a sign at the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. In September, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • This family photo from 1970 which was provided by Jeannie Stillwell, daughter of Ray Lambrecht of the Lambrecht Chevrolet car company in Pierce, Neb., shows Ray Lambrecht, right, behind the service counter of the dealership. In September 2013, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Jeannie Stillwell Family)
  •  In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, rare Corvairs and pickup trucks are lined up in a field near  the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
  • In this photo from Aug. 12, 2013, auctioneer Yvette VanDerBrink stands in front of a brand new old 1963 Chevrolet Impala and a brand new 1958 Cameo pickup truck, right, at the former Lambrecht Chevrolet car dealership in Pierce, Neb. Next month, bidders from at least a dozen countries and all 50 U.S. states will converge on Pierce, a town of about 1,800 in northeast Nebraska, for a two-day auction that will feature about 500 old cars and trucks, mostly Chevrolets that went unsold during the dealership’s five decades in business. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable could fetch six-figure bids. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Seventeen years have passed since Ray Lambrecht closed his Chevrolet dealership, a small-town operation in northeast Nebraska with a big and valuable secret.

For decades, the owner of the Lambrecht Chevrolet Co. in Pierce, Neb., held on to new cars and trucks that didn’t sell right away. He stashed them in warehouses, at his farm and in other spots around the town he worked in for 50 years.

Now, his automotive nest egg – about 500 vintage cars and trucks – will go on the auction block. Next month, visitors from at least a dozen countries and across the United States will converge on the 1,800-resident town, or bid online.

The two-day auction will feature mostly unsold Chevrolets that have sat untouched for decades. They’ll go on the block in as-is condition. About 50 have fewer than 20 miles on the odometer, and some are so rare that no one has established a price. The most valuable, including a rare Chevy Cameo pickup, could fetch six-figure bids from collectors who view them as works of art to display or as restoration projects.

“To find this many new, old vehicles is unheard of,” said Yvette VanDerBrink, the auctioneer coordinating the event. “It’s like a white buffalo.”

Preparations for the auction began in June, and VanDerBrink has taken calls from as far away as Iceland, Singapore and Brazil. The two least-driven cars, a 1959 Bel Air and a 1960 Corvair Monza, each has 1 mile on its odometer. The oldest vehicle with fewer than 20 miles dates to 1958; the newest is a 1980 Monza with 9 miles.

On a recent afternoon, VanDerBrink stepped over hubcaps and engine parts in the cramped, dust-caked dealership that closed in 1996. In the corner sat the sky-blue 1958 Cameo with 1.3 miles, a cracked windshield and a dented roof – but its interior is unblemished.

Nearby, a red-and-white 1963 Impala waits with 11.4 miles logged. Manufacturer’s plastic covers the seats. The car was never titled. A yellowed, typewritten window sticker touts its original price: $3,254.70.

Ray Lambrecht opened the downtown dealership with his uncle in 1946 on the corner of Main Street and Nebraska Highway 13. Live elephants meandered out front that day, with Chevrolet banners across their backs.

The U.S. Army veteran quickly established himself as an unusual salesman: He gave his lowest price upfront, without negotiation, and encouraged hagglers to try to find a better deal elsewhere. He rarely advertised, but was one of the first dealers in Nebraska to lease vehicles.

His low-price, high-volume approach helped secure regular government contracts, and he often sold cars to the state. In 1954, Lambrecht drove then-Gov. Robert Crosby down Main Street in a parade celebrating the 100-year anniversary of Nebraska as a territory.

Lambrecht rarely sold cars or pickups that were more than a year old, and he used holdover models as a kind of rainy-day fund. Unlike most dealers who lowered prices to move out-of-date inventory, he assumed the older cars would appreciate over time.

“I believe that Dad’s sales approach reflected his personal style,” said his daughter, Jeannie Stillwell. “He is a very honest, straightforward man who was focused on giving his customers the best price right from the start. Negotiating over price was a waste of time, and so that element of the sale was eliminated.”

The most valuable vehicles were stored for decades at a nearby warehouse, until a heavy snow collapsed the roof. Some were damaged, but many were saved and moved elsewhere. And the models at the dealership are among the best preserved, even as the building gave way to bats and holes in the roof.

The rest of the cars sat under trees at a nearby farm the Lambrechts owned, in the company of trade-in vehicles he didn’t want to resell. Years passed, and trees started to poke through fenders and rusted pickup beds. The dealership’s longtime mechanic lived on the farm, but when he died, his family moved away. Vandals and thieves pounced.

Ray Lambrecht and his wife, Mildred, retired in 1996. Ray, 95, and Mildred, 92, live in town, but the couple’s health has declined. They decided to sell the collection so others could enjoy the cars and pickups, Stillwell said.

News of the auction enthralled the vintage car community, where rumors have swirled for years about a quirky Nebraska dealer who held on to his old vehicles. Nowadays, most classic cars have new paint jobs, interiors and engines. A true “survivor” has most, if not all, of its original material.

“This kind of stuff is absolutely the rarest of the rare,” said Mark Gessler, president of the Historic Vehicle Association in Gaithersburg, Md. “You can see plenty of cars that have been restored. We want to ensure that we’re celebrating the original craftsmanship, the original technique. It’s a touchstone of our past.”

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