Being a resident of the state of Nebraska, I’ve accepted the fact that we don’t have an abundance of events that get national attention. In reality if we received two feet of snow in a winter blizzard, yet New York City received two inches, you would hear about New York first. That is just the way things work living in the heartland of the country.
So when I first heard that the Lambrecht family was going to hold one of the largest vintage car auctions ever, I knew I had to make the hour drive to Pierce. Over 450 classic cars, some with less than ten miles on the clock would be there. Not only would it be a once in a lifetime event, but the History Channel would be there filming with Tanner Foust and Rutledge Wood. Celebrities such as Jay Leno and Will Ferrell were even going to bid. This event was going to happen in Nebraska! Just thinking about it seemed surreal.
Why had they come? Most to look and see what lay before them, some to see what the hype was about, and a few to try and breathe new life into the pieces of pure Americana. When I first jumped off the trolley hauling people to the sparse corn field just outside of Pierce, I realized it was anything but sparse. Even though (Friday) was just the preview day, there seemed to be a buzz in the air. People from all over the country, and in some cases the world, had descended upon a corn field in the middle of Nebraska. Some of the people were as unique as the cars themselves.
While the majority of the cars had not moved in years, somehow they felt alive, each with a story to tell. Every one of them was waiting for the right person to come along and save them. From 57′ Chevrolets to Corvair vans, rusty Studebakers, Corollas, and Ford Falcons. All were beautiful in their own way. Each was a piece of artwork that had been etched by the years of Nebraska climate.
Talking to various people, and hearing stories about when they owned a car like that in 59′ gave me goosebumps. One man ended up buying back a truck that he had traded into the dealership 30+ years ago.
If one thinks about it, you can understand what made this event so special. Sixty plus years of the Lambrecht family selling cars to people all around the world. All from the small dealership in Pierce, Nebraska. The selling prices of over $450,000 on certain vehicles were astounding; rusty panels aside.
Why did people buy so many of the vehicles for such high prices? It comes down to emotion and memories. Something cars create within people, and have for generations. The cars now have a new lease on life, and will influence people in ways they never could have, sitting in a remote corn field in Nebraska.
This is a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget.
NBC Dateline video about the background of the auction: