Lambrecht’s wife Mildred and son Mark sit in a 1953 Chevy Corvette that Lambrecht’s daughter Jeannie told VanDerBrink Auctions she remembers from the time she was four and kept trying to get into, but the doors presented a problem because they had no outside handles. Images: The Lambrechts via VanDerBrink Auctions
When a Chevy dealership goes under, the norm is for its stock to be shipped elsewhere to be sold by other Chevy dealers. But when it comes to Lambrecht Chevrolet in Pierce, Nebraska, it’s not that easy. That’s because, unlike many modern-day dealerships, Lambrecht didn’t go under with a stock of brand new cars. Rather, it was a stock of unsold vintage Chevys that are now set to go to auction this fall, according to Hemmings Daily.
At just 28 years old, Ray Lambrecht entered a partnership with his uncle to run a Chevrolet dealership in Pierce, Nebraska. Pictured here with wife Mildred after returning from the service, Lambrecht then took over the business two years later.
Located in the tiny town of Pierce, Lambrecht Chevrolet was opened in 1946 by Ray P. Lambrecht and his wife Mildred, according to their daughter Jeannie Lambrecht Stillwell. For years, the Mildreds sold new Chevys, acquiring quite the collection of odd-ball cars through trade-ins and new model debuts. What resulted was a collection of about 400 vehicles, many with the odometers hardly turned over. Included in this collection is a 1958 Cameo pickup with less than 10 miles on it, a ‘63 Impala with similar mileage, and a 427 ci V-8 engine that has never been turned over. There are also numbers of Chevelles, Tri-Fives and Impalas.
Lambrecht Chevrolet operated from 1946 until 1996. Ingrained in him, Lambrecht’s love for cars and especially Chevys started early on, with his first driving experience taking place behind the wheel of a 1927 Chevy 2-door coupe at the age of 9. After being drafted and serving in the Army in Alaska as a Sergeant in World War II, Lambrecht returned to Nebraska and married Mildred before opening the notable Chevy dealership, a GM franchise originally given to Lambrecht’s uncle Ernest.
Although times were difficult, Lambrecht was able to purchase supplies because of his veteran status and eventually constructed the building that held the dealership, which still stands today. The first year of operation, the dealership was allotted 16 cars and six trucks. Truck beds were provided by local lumber yards, as the trucks didn’t come from the factory with them.
Hundreds of the vehicles in the collection are parked on their property, many of which Mr. Lambrecht can still recall the stories of how they were obtained.
With army buddies buying cars from him and spreading the word about the good prices at the dealership, Lambrecht quickly became one of the top sellers of Chevrolets and received many awards from GM. Part of his success came from giving customers his best deals up front with a no-haggle attitude.
After Lambrecht’s uncle became ill two years into their partnership, Lambrecht bought his uncle’s share of the business and became the lone owner of the dealership. The Lambrecht’s ran the dealership for 50 years until they retired at the ages of 78 and 75. In all those years of owning the business, Lambrecht only employed one person, a mechanic that worked there for all 50 years.
One of many vintage pickups, this classic Chevy will be auctioned off with the rest of the Lambrecht collection on September 28th at the old Lambrecht Chevrolet dealership building.
During his time as a Chevy dealer, Lambrecht always put safety first when selling to his customers, especially families. So when new cars left the lot, old ones inevitably found their way back as trade-ins. These were stored on the Lambrecht’s property along with “new” vehicles that didn’t sell prior to a new model year becoming available. This is how Lambrecht’s collection expanded to the nearly 400 vehicles he owns today.
Seventeen years after the dealership shut it’s doors, the Lambrechts, now 95 and 92, have finally decided to liquidate the dealership. Along with all of the vehicles, vintage hot rod parts, NOS parts, old signage and tools will be sold.
The liquidation of the dealership will occur this September under the watchful eye of VanDerBrink Auctions in Pierce, Nebraska. If you’re looking for a tie to the legendary Lambrecht Chevrolet collection, a unique addition to your personal collection, or a true “new” old car that’s never been tagged or titled, this is an auction not to be missed!