Ray Lambrecht (Courtesy Lambrecht family)
Retired car salesman Ray Lambrecht died last month, with a quiet dignity not usually associated with bombastic auto dealers. Lambrecht was an institution in his hometown of Pierce, Nebraska, operating a Chevy dealership in the small community for 50 years alongside his wife. Throughout his long career selling cars, Lambrecht rarely sold any used vehicles, preferring to emphasize each year's newer, more dependable models. As a result, he accumulated a staggering number of trade-ins over the decades, which the JournalStar.com says he referred to as his "retirement plan." Lambrecht's fleet came to encompass around 500 cars by the time he retired in 1996, stored on an empty field north of Pierce.
A year ago, Lambrecht finally sold all those trade-ins at a public auction, held in Pierce and featured on The History Channel's History Made Now. The auction fetched $2.8 million. After the sale, friends said Lambrecht's demeanor changed, as if a burden had been lifted. The cars were sold and sent all over the country, though each carries with it the distinction of being part of Lambrecht's famous and legendary collection. Tell your car-loving friends to rev their engines in honor of Lambrecht and his unique contribution to American auto collectors.