By Yvette VanDerBrink
When the Lambrecht Auction was taking place the dealership was a major landmark. The building had been built by the Lambrecht family and was frequented by many in the Midwest for their Chevrolet car, pickup, and truck needs. This building also held secrets. Why did Mr. Lambrecht keep all his trades and hold back new inventory? If walls could talk they would spin quite a tale. I remember the first time I walked into the dealership, it was cluttered with paper, parts, and in the back, twelve vehicles that were hidden amongst empty anti-freeze jugs, lumber, siding, paper, parts, and more.
A 1964 Chevrolet Impala stood guard in the dealership’s front window, waiting for someone to let her fly down the streets again. That Impala was like a kid stuck in the house on a rainy day. When Jeannie Lambrecht opened the door for us to start working the atmosphere was amazing. Slowly, we extracted the cars and soon a crowd started to gather. They also had been waiting for this day. The white 1964 Chevrolet was one of the first to come out in the sunlight. One man stood there and told my dad, “I’ve watched that car in that window all my life. I’m not missing this moment to see it finally get sold and brought outside.” We cleaned the building out and put the cars back in. I swear I could hear them thank us for bringing them out to play.
Throughout the process of getting ready for the auction, hundreds of people took pictures in front of the dealership. After the auction, people drove their trailers in front of the building for one last picture. It was as if they were letting their cars say goodbye to their home one last time. I was one of them too. I bought a 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air 4dr. sedan; I named her Leona and took a ceremonial picture.
It was a wild ride getting ready for that auction.
I love old cars and was happy to help them get released to new homes and new lives. Many people have called and asked, “What’s going to happen to the building?” I also wondered about what was to become of it. There was talk around town of a local business that was going to buy it and tear it down. I wanted to auction it off the Friday before the sale, but the daughter knew that her dad couldn’t let that part of him go too. One year to the date of the auction, Mr. Lambrecht passed away and the daughter called to talk about selling the dealership. Then Mrs. Lambrecht got sick, and also passed away. At that time, a man approached Jeannie and her brother from Yankton, South Dakota about the building. It looks like the old building is going to get a new life. The buyer from Yankton, SD is going to rehab the building for expansion of his business and use it for his trucks. Jeannie said that at the time it was the right decision. She was glad someone was going to do something with the building. I was too. What’s funny, this man really didn’t know much (if anything) about the auction; it was the location that he was looking for. Did he live under a rock living so close by? That’s beside the point. The good news is that the building will have a new life, another set of vehicles, and still preserve the memories of those who remember the Lambrecht Chevrolet Auction. I know I will never forget.
I feel honored to have managed and conducted that auction. History is important, those cars and buildings were a big part of that town’s history. It looks like the legacy of the Lambrecht dealership will live on.
Yvette VanDerBrink-Auctioneer- VanDerBrink Auctions
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