Ultra-low Mileage Chevy Car and Truck Auction

Only 1-5 Miles – “Never Sold” Chevy’s in a Field in Nebraska

Story and photos by Jim Volgarino

In March 2013 one of the most unusual auctions of survivor cars was announced to the car collector community and it almost immediately became a worldwide phenomenon. In tiny Pierce, Nebraska exists a cache of 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s era Chevrolets (and assorted other models), many of which were never sold by the dealer. On September 27 the public will be allowed, for the very first time, to view and touch these 500+ vehicles. It has come about through the efforts of several people, but primarily Yvette VanDerBrink, an unlikely mom, rural Minnesota native and car enthusiast, who has managed to put together one of the most unusual auctions we car people might ever experience…


Auction Cars Featured So Far:


Lambrecht Chevrolet, classic Chevy auction, classic car auction


Yvette VanDerBrink is bone tired.


Or at least she should be bone tired as she stands on the edge of an 80-acre plot of land that is being prepared for an auction that has caught the attention of the entire car collecting community.


Lambrecht Chevrolet, classic Chevy auction, classic car auction

VanDerBrink uncovered what could be one of the largest collections of survivor vehicles that has ever been offered for sale in the tiny town of Pierce, Nebraska. And now she has to pull all the details together to make this auction something memorable and worthwhile for the family who has agreed to make these vehicles available.


“I’ve managed to put in 100-110 hour weeks pretty much every week since June 15,” says VanDerBrink, standing outside the former Lambrecht Chevrolet Company building in downtown Pierce. “Just this auction alone has required extremely long days recovering the vehicles from multiple locations, clearing
trees and land to transport the vehicles to the auction site and getting vehicles out of covered storage where many of them have sat for over 40 years.”


But VanDerBrink is determined to do this event the right way and you’re convinced she is fully hands on when you notice her hands are scabbed and marked from crawling in and out of hundreds of vintage vehicles, pulling and shoving where necessary, to get everything not only positioned but properly documented so potential buyers will know what they’re buying.


“The 3-4 hours per night sleep wears on you,” she explains, “but I’ve not lost that enthusiasm for creating the very best environment to sell vehicles for my customers. That is my responsibility and I believe these auctions aren’t just sales, but events of major importance to the sellers.” So a typical VanDerBrink auction will have all the details worked out well ahead of the day when that first gavel falls and the sales begin.


Lambrecht Chevrolet, classic Chevy auction, classic car auction


She admits the Lambrecht auction is very unusual. “It’s like a mystery novel, full of intrigue and twisting story lines,” she describes. It has taken months to unravel the story of this small town dealer who had a particular way of doing business. “And he did it well,” she says. “In many cases, extremely well.”


Ray Lambrecht was a Chevrolet dealer in Pierce for 50 years. He never wavered from his one price strategy of selling cars. “When you dealt with Ray, you took his price or you took nothing. He was adamant about that part of the sale and the majority of people who bought from him over the years found he was inevitably the dealer with the best deal.”


Lambrecht and wife Mildred operated the little dealership with the help of a single mechanic. He would inventory cars for buyers to inspect, he would accept trade-in vehicles and he would provide a single “take it or leave it” price. An awful lot of people took his price and drove away with new cars. “He might be considered a little odd because he refused to sell the trade-ins,” says VanDerBrink. “He just felt that a new vehicle was the best thing he could offer and he wanted to offer nothing less.” So the trade-ins, some of them with very few miles on them, ended up being parked, awaiting their time when they would finally surface.


Lambrecht Chevrolet, classic Chevy auction, classic car auction


The vehicles, mostly Chevy cars and Chevy trucks, were spread around the area in and near Pierce. Some were in buildings and some were parked on land Lambrecht had outside of town where he rented it to tenant farmers. “Eventually it became apparent that he could no longer hold onto these cars and trucks,” explains VanDerBrink. “But they were his babies and he has been hesitant to let them go, until now.”


So VanDerBrink’s job has been to recover all these vehicles and get them ready for a sale that could draw 6,000 to 10,000 people to Pierce, where there is nary a hotel or motel for anyone to stay. “Lodging has been booked up all the way to Sioux City, Iowa” says VanDerBrink. “For car people, this is the mother lode of barn finds and it may be one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.” And what makes the opportunity even more exceptional is Lambrecht not only kept the trade-ins but also the leftover vehicles that didn’t sell each year. “If Ray didn’t sell all the vehicles during a particular model year,” explains VanDerBrink, “he simply kept them. Once the new models were introduced, the prior year models would not be sold.”


Which means he has vehicles which have never been titled and have as few as a single mile showing on the odometer. “That really has people excited,” says VanDerBrink. In some cases those vehicles are rare, like the 1958 Cameo pickup with 1.3 miles showing. “Chevrolet made very few of those and to find one that was never sold…?” VanDerBrink just shrugs in wonder.


Lambrecht Chevrolet, classic Chevy auction, classic car auction


So has this auction company owner been surprised or overwhelmed by this sale? “I’ve done larger auctions,” she says, describing her 12 years in the business conducting auctions in 14 states and handling everything from collectible vehicles to ag equipment to farm land. “In an Ohio auction we transported over five semi-truck loads of items to a location, documented them and got them ready for sale,” she says. “So this isn’t the largest auction I’ve handled. These sales involve a lot of emotion,” she explains. “In most cases the vehicles or equipment represent an entire lifetime of labor and effort. It’s not an easy decision to let these things go and I understand that.”


VanDerBrink is a rural Minnesota “kid” who grew up around farm equipment and cars. She describes herself as a car person and understands the excitement people have for automobiles that have been part of our lives during the past 50-60 years. “I’m a little unusual being a part of what traditionally has been a very male dominated business,” she says. “I’ve had to learn every aspect of this business and establish my reputation as a trusted auction seller. I think I’ve earned that reputation and I intend to always do things the right way.” VanDerBrink quotes a scripture verse she believes reflects her Midwest upbringing and roots. ”I adopted Galatians 6:9,10 some years ago which essentially says, ‘Let’s not be weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up. As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people.’


As VanDerBrink heads out for another round of media interviews and putting together further instructions for her crew, you get the feeling this is someone who rarely gives up on anything, no matter how big the challenge might be.


As a teaser, here’s a 5 miles-on-the-odo 1958 Chevy Apache


More pictures from the auction.