By Yvette VanDerBrinkOne of the things that is so much fun for me is working with families and selling their collections. I hear a lot of stories about Gramma and Grampa, Mom or Dad and the cars. There are always stories about, “Dad got this car after he came home from the war. It was a favorite.” “Mom and Dad got married and honeymooned in this car”. Then there is always the, “Dad loved Cars. He kept buying and buying. They were like kids to him. He loved them all.”
We take care protecting and in turn selling those memories to people that will hopefully treasure them, too. I have conducted sales all over the U.S. and the theme always seems to be the same. People treasure and buy cars that bring memories back to times in their lives that are happy and bring joy. The other day I got my mail and in there was a Christmas card from Gerald and Betty Hixson from Pierce, Neb. The card pictured both of them in front of a beautiful 1957 Chevrolet. I remember that car so well. It was one of the used Lambrecht cars. I was so honored to conduct and organize the sale for the Lambrechts and give them a legacy for their family. While I was working with the collection, I heard countless stories about people from the area wanting to buy back their family car back from Mr. Lambrecht and he wouldn’t sell it to them. They would drive by day after day, watching the cars get more and more overgrown in the trees outside of town. With this, it was also their memories that were slowly being eaten up by the Nebraska weather and vegetation.
Auction day came, and during the preview many of those people that had talked to me were there. When we started selling the cars, some of those faces were there. Some people didn’t get their cars, but five families bought back cars. We were selling the 1957 Chevrolets that were used, and there was an older man that was bidding and stood proudly by this blue 1957. He didn’t waver and stood and bid. Pretty soon, I noticed that he was crying with joy. My husband was driving the mobile stage that we were on, and he grabbed me and said, “Hey this man just bought back their honeymoon car.” I grabbed the History Channel folks and also congratulated him and left him with the TV crew. The car was in dire need of restoration, but it was a happy day for him to get those memories back. About two weeks later, I was still in Pierce, Neb., and eating at the local hangout. I recognized the man that bought the 1957 Chevrolet. I sat down and asked him about the car. He explained that he got married and it was the first car that he and his new bride had bought. He traded it in later to Ray Lambrecht on a Chevrolet, but he always loved that car. He saw the car get moved around town and then eventually land out in the trees. He would stop and talk to Ray year after year, but the answer was always, “No!” just like to so many others. Gerald said that when he saw the auction was finally going to happen, he was determined to buy back their honeymoon car. He got his bidding number and parked himself by the car during preview and during the auction. He was determined and finally got back those happy memories and now his wife and he are having a honeymoon reunion with their first car.
It’s these letters, phone calls, texts and emails that I get that brighten my days and make me work hard for my sellers. I, myself, have memories with cars. I can remember riding in the back of a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS when my folks got remarried and we were in the wedding in about 1975. I can remember that vehicle I first went parking in! I remember my first vehicle that Dad and Mom gave me, a 1979 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. One of the strongest memories is of a black and white 1957 Chevrolet that Dad had partially restored for years. I remember wrestling with my sister in the backseat with ice cream cones and Mom yelling at us going up Cliff Avenue hill in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also hid our Christmas presents in the trunk almost every year. I sold that ‘57 at my dad’s auction in 2003. I have a Lambrecht 1953 Chevrolet, that was a used car, and it does bring me back to that auction and all those memories.
As long as we tell the stories and pass on that heritage, I feel that cars will always be collectible because of memories. The cars may change, but the memories will always be there.
VanDerBrink Auctions, LLC
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